Schools’ Programme

Every year more than 10,000 school children from schools across the borough of Merton and South London attend events or take part in projects focused on literacy and run by Wimbledon BookFest. 

The Young Writers’ Competition 2024 is now open. Click here for more details.

Here’s a snapshot of activities schools can access as part of our Word Up! Schools’ Programme.  To find out more email Laura Byrne at [email protected] 

View our schools events

1. Author Events

What better way to inspire a life-long love of reading than to give children the chance to see and hear first hand from the writers who have brought the stories and characters to life? 

Our Author Events are held in March and Autumn to celebrate World Book Day and the beginning of the new school term.  

Click here to view our World Book Day 2024 school events.

World Book Day 2023’s children’s authors were Sir Lenny Henry, A.F. Steadman and Francesca Simon. They spoke to more than 1000 children from 23 Merton primary schools at a series of events at New Wimbledon Theatre.  

Watch Sir Lenny sum up his World Book Day highlights in the video opposite. 

Read full blog post here

2. Young Writers’ Competition

Wimbledon BookFests Young Writers’ Competition is open to all schools across south London and Surrey. Children have 500 words to shape a poem or story on a theme set by us. 

Every child that is shortlisted by their school will receive a certificate. Competition winners will be invited to a prize giving, receive a goodie bag of books and have their work published in Wimbledon BookFests Anthology of Stories and Poems. One overall winner will win an iPad.

The 2024 competition theme is ‘The Game’ 

Watch poet Sophia Thakar read My Name is 2020 by Jonathan Esenga – our winner from 2021.

Learn more

3. Writing Workshops

Caroline Lawrence is a best-selling author whose series The Roman Mysteries is packed with adventures, heroes and quests. She’s also written a brilliant handbook for aspiring young authors called How to Write a Great Story. 

In a specially created workshop for schools Caroline highlights seven brilliant tips to help young writers shape their story. In a one hour talk Caroline provide examples, prompts and exercises that will kick start young imaginations.  

Contact Laura Byrne at [email protected] to find out about school visits or stream Caroline’s writing workshop delivered at Wimbledon Bookfest in the video opposite. 

4. Sixth Form and Student Volunteering

Wimbledon BookFest volunteers help our small team make events happen! Work includes checking event tickets, stewarding families to their seats, assisting with book sales, helping authors with book signings or even being part of a student press team. 

We particularly encourage sixth form students from local schools and students from the University of Roehampton to join us and get involved. To find out about opportunities, email Laura Byrne at [email protected] 

 Five benefits of being Wimbledon BookFest volunteer:

  • Find out more about book trends and the publishing industry first-hand 
  • Get to listen to talks from authors you love – for free! 
  • Discover new writers  
  • A great experience to add to your CV  
  • Get a bespoke BookFest t-shirt for your wardrobe 
A Group of young staff members wearing Wimbledon Bookfest t-shirts from 2016 A Steward facing away from camera looking at a crowd

5. Sixth Form Open Day at the University of Roehampton

Wimbledon BookFest is proud to have the University of Roehampton as its principal education partner. As well as student volunteers, the University’s academics facilitate and speak at workshops and festival panels. 

Working with the University’s outreach team, Wimbledon BookFest also organise sixth form open days that happen in the summer term focused on the needs of students in Year 11-13 exploring options and further education opportunities. 

Check our School Events Calendar or email Laura Byrne at [email protected] to find our more, or watch our Open Minds Sixth Form event featuring taster talks from lecturers and tips on how to shape your UCAS applications.  

Find Out More

Donate to support events for schools here!

Every year the Festival enables over 10,000 school children from 100+ London schools to take part in projects run by Wimbledon BookFest focused on literacy. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate below.

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