Foyles Storybox Festival sees books brought to life with Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter and more

Foyles, the bookseller, has announced the programme for Storybox, its first annual children’s festival at Grand Central Birmingham from 23 July – 14 August 2016.


The three-week celebration of storytelling and imagination will see dozens of events bring much-loved children’s books to life, including the worlds of Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter and Harry Potter.

Creativity is at the heart of this year’s festival, which celebrates stories in all their forms. Alongside classic storytelling and visits from well-loved book characters, including the White Rabbit and Humphrey the Hamster there will be opportunities for children to try their hands at illustration with Doodle Girl, Steve Smallman and Viviane Schwarz.

There is also a Young Adult strand that includes a Dystopian Creative Writing Workshop with author Emma Pass and a chance to talk about witches and creative writing with BBC and Hollywood screenwriter, turned debut author, Irena Brignull.

Other highlights include an activities to celebrate Beatrix Potter’s 150th Birthday on 25 July, a live animal show and tell with Oasis Animal Encounters, and a daylong celebration to mark the publication of the long-awaited 8th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the day of publication, Sunday 31 July.

Megan Brown, National Events Coordinator at Foyles, comments:

“Our festival is all about inspiring and enabling children to create their own stories, whether that’s by meeting their favourite author, learning to draw with a renowned illustrator or making some new animal friends. Storybox offers an eclectic programme of interactive experiences to keep the whole family entertained.”

Many of the events are free to attend. Every ticket will have an optional £5 goody bag add-on which includes a drawstring bag, colouring pencils, water bottle, balloons, stickers, a bookmark, and colouring sheets.

For more information on individual events, and to book tickets please visit:

Full list of events:

*All events take place at Foyles, Unit 2A Grand Central, Birmingham, B2 4BF


Phizz-Whizzing Treasure Hunt

23rd July 2016 11am – 1pm, Free Event

Join us for a Roald-Dahl inspired Phizz-Whizzing in-store treasure hunt as part of our Roald Dahl 100 celebrations.


Lonely Planet Kids: Birmingham City Trails with Moira Butterfield

24th July 2016 3pm – 4pm, Free Event

Come on an adventure with Lonely Planet Kids and author of Lonely Planet Kids City Trails, Moira Butterfield.


Beatrix Potter Birthday Cake and Card Design

25th July 2016 2pm – 3pm, Free Event

Make birthday cards and decorate cupcakes (and taste test them yourself) at this creative afternoon.


Creative Writing Workshop: The Dystopian World with Emma Pass

Thursday 28th July 2016 3pm – 5pm, Tickets: £5 or £10 to include one of Emma’s books

Create your own Dystopian world and improve your writing skills with this Creative Writing workshop led by award winning YA author, Emma Pass. Suitable for children aged 11-14.


Roald Dahl Invention Room: Design your own Sweets

Saturday 30th July 2016 2pm – 3pm, Tickets: £3

Take part in our Roald Dahl Invention Room and design your own srumdiddlyumptious sweets


Harry Potter Celebration

Sunday 31st July 2016 11am – 5pm, Free Event

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the next instalment of Harry Potter is almost here, and we want to help you celebrate in style.


Find The Spots!

Monday 1st August 2016 11am – 2pm , Free Event

Take part in this Scavenger Hunt inspired by Herve Tullet’s iconic children’s book, Press Here


Violet Rose Design Your Own Party

Tuesday 2nd August 2016 2pm – 3pm, Free Event

Design your own invitations, cakes and bunting for your very own party.


Meet the White Rabbit!

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 12 Noon – 1pm, Free Event

You are cordially invited to meet the famous White Rabbit – don’t be late!


Animal Show-and-Tell

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 2pm – 4pm, Free Event

Oasis Animal Encounters will be bringing our Birmingham store alive with some friendly animal friends.


Humphrey the Hamster Picnic

Thursday 4th August 2016 1pm – 2pm, Tickets: £5 to include lunch

Humphrey the Hamster is the cheekiest, most lovable Hamster and he wants to play, so join in with this Hamster-iffic picnic!


Steve Smallman Illustration Class

Friday 5th August 2016 3pm – 4pm, Free Event

Join Steve Smallman’s Illustration Class to learn how to draw dragons, Vikings and more!


Discuss Witches and YA with debut author Irena Brignull

Thursday 4th August 2016 6:30pm – 8pm, Free Event

Meet brilliant debut YA author, Irena Brignull and learn all about the creative process of writing teen fiction.  Irena Brignull is a successful screenwriter who has worked on the screenplay of The Boxtrolls and been writing an adaptation of The Little Prince directed by Mark Osborne and starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard. The Hawkweed Prophecy is her first novel.


Viviane Schwarz Illustration Workshop

Saturday 6th August 2016 3pm – 4pm,  Tickets: £5 per ticket

Draw animals, crocodiles and creatures on a GIANT scale with talented writer, illustrator and performer, Viviane Schwarz.


Circus Crafts with Kate Hindley

Sunday 7th August 2016 11am – 12 Noon, Free Event

Make circus finger-puppets with Birmingham-based children’s illustrator and designer, Kate Hindley.


Awesome Comics with Neill Cameron from The Phoenix Comic

Monday 8th August 2pm-3pm, Tickets: £5

Artist and illustrator Neill Cameron, from The Phoenix Comic will guide children through the art of designing comics. The session will kick-start by learning all about The Theory of Super Awesomeness! This will be followed by interactive illustration games and guided drawing to get those creative juices flowing. Every child will get to take home their very own masterpieces.


Explore The Wonderful World of Bugs with Yuval Zommer

Tuesday 9th August 2pm-3pm, Free Event

Join Foyles for an interactive talk and illustration workshop with children’s author Yuval Zommer.

Welcome to The Big Book of Bugs, a beautiful, colourful and entertaining nature book that explores the wonderful world of bugs. The book’s author and illustrator Yuval will begin by sharing some amazing facts about all sorts of bugs, including beetles, ladybirds, ants, bees, dragonflies, stick insects, spiders and more! This entertaining talk will be followed by a bug illustration session, where children will learn to use pencil and collage to create their own bugs.


Roald Dahl’s Scribbler’s Corner

Wednesday 10th August 3pm-4pm, Free Event

Follow in Roald Dahl’s footsteps by visiting Foyles’ Scribblers’ Corner where you can practise writing Roald Dahl-inspired stories. Roald Dahl always wrote his stories with an HB pencil and yellow legal paper, and here’s the opportunity for children to do the same! There will also be props and prompts to inspire witty creations. Get those creative juices flowing and join Foyles’ writers’ paradise.


YA Reception with Martyn Bedford, Nat Luurtsema and Siobhan Curham

Thursday 11th August 6.30pm-8pm, Free Event

Celebrate established teen writing as well as being at the forefront of new fiction with Foyles’ first YA Reception in Birmingham.  Martyn Bedford, Siobhan Curham and Nat Luurtsema will be discussing the thought provoking topic of teen identity.


Our Blue Planet with Ella Bailey

Friday 12th August 2pm-3pm, Free Event

Engage little conservationists with an interactive workshop based around Ella Bailey’s One Day on Our Blue Planet series. From the plains of the Savannah to the icy waters of the Antarctic, kids will fall head over heels in love with the natural world and the creatures who inhabit it.  Don’t miss out on this unique workshop that will inspire little ones to love the world around them.


Chris Russell: Songs About A Girl

Saturday 13th August 5pm-6pm, Free Event

Chris Russell is a writer and musician based in London. At the age of thirteen, he formed pop/rock band The Lightyears with his best friends from school, and since then the band have performed everywhere from Wembley Stadium to Glastonbury Festival.

Songs About A Girl tells the story of sixteen-year-old Charlie Bloom, whose passion for photography lands her a dream job taking backstage photos for hot new boy band, Fire&Lights.

Chris will discuss how his love for music as a teenager led him to start a band and enable him to travel around the world and then write a book! He explores how children can discover, develop and follow their own individual passion.

This event will include live music and by signing up customers will receive a free download.


Get Creative with Doodle Girl

Sunday 14th August 3pm-4pm, Free Event

Doodle Girl lives inside a red sketchbook, but this isn’t just any sketchbook, it’s magic! She has a magic pencil, and she uses it to create adventures by transforming doodles into fantastical lands full of amazing animal characters. In the first title in this eye-catching new series, Doodle Girl and her friends need your help to solve the monkey mystery on a tropical island.

Spend an hour with the creators of Doodle Girl for a reading, a ‘giant doodle’ which children can all join in with, colouring and drawing activities. There will even be photo opportunities with Doodle Girl and her Magic Pencil! Join talented trio Suzanne Smith, Lindsay Taylor and Marnie Maurri for this enchanting event. Come along and get creative….all it takes is a doodle!

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