• Durham OnAir

Kids + Authors + Illustrators = Loads of Fun in Durham


The date is set for Durham’s first city centre fun day inspired by children’s books on Thursday, July 22nd.


Between 10am and 5pm, children and their families will be able to enjoy a wide range of activities in Durham Market Place, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre and Millennium Place in front of the Gala Theatre.


The Author’s Marquee in the Market Place will give children the chance to meet local authors and discover the inspiration behind their characters and stories, with sessions planned with Jenny Pearson, Sam Copeland, Catherine Emmett, Gabrielle Kent and Thomas Rogers. Prince Bishops Shopping Centre has a series of workshops with illustrators Kylie Dixon, Jenny Ullyatt and Alfie Joey (of BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show).


There will also be free traditional street games and face painting in Prince Bishops Shopping Centre. There will be Arts and Crafts in the Market Place with The Singing Elf, free face painting, and a chance to meet the mini-beasts of Bugs’n’Stuff in the entrance to the Market Hall.


In Millennium Place, Simon Berry will be introducing aspiring writers to the Gilesgate Story Challenge, with the help of illustrator Miles Nelson, and setting them off on a Story Treasure Trail. Children will also be able to enjoy SandArt, arts and crafts with Durham Wildlife Trust, and discover Durham On-Air, the county’s radio station.


Colin Wilkes, Managing Director of Durham Markets Company which launched the event, commented: “Children have missed out on so many fun events in the last year. Durham’s schools will have just broken up for the summer holidays, so we wanted to give parents a great excuse to bring the kids into the city centre, with loads of free activities to entertain and most importantly to inspire.”


Jenny Pearson, author of The Incredible Record Smashers and The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates (which has recently been shortlisted for the 2022 Laugh Out Loud Book Awards) will be one of the featured authors.


She said: “Reading has such a positive impact on children. Not only does it help their learning, it improves their wellbeing and builds empathy for others. To have an event to celebrate that, right here in Durham, is incredibly exciting. Hopefully we can encourage lots of kids to get their faces stuck into some really good books this summer.”


Councillor Elizabeth Scott, who chairs the Business Committee of City of Durham Parish Council, added: “We’re so pleased we are now in a position to welcome families back into the city centre. Durham Children’s Book and Fun Day is a great opportunity for children and their families to enjoy Durham, and we hope the children get the chance to explore, learn and most importantly enjoy the day. I’m sure it’ll be a huge success.”


Free tickets are available in advance for the events in the Author’s Marquee. For further information, and for links to ticket reservation see the webpage https://durhammarkets.co.uk/event/childrens-book-day/ and follow Durham Children’s Book and Fun Day on Facebook.


The event is being run in partnership between Durham Markets, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre and Walkergate Durham, with the support of BBC Radio Newcastle, City of Durham Parish Council and Durham BID.