Guest authors, workshops, writing competition and more for Birchington Literary Festival

Faye Beerling, Barbara Sturgeon, Stuart Heritage and Amber Butchart are amongst the festival guests

Plans for a children’s book day in Birchington have ‘morphed’ into the village’s first literary festival.

Birchington Together CIC is organising the event which will feature a number of writers, broadcasters and journalists as well as book signings, workshops and a competition in memory of Broadstairs author Jane Wenham Jones.

Headline guests include Amber Butchart, researcher and presenter of BBC’s A Stitch in Time and regular historical fashion expert on The Great British Sewing Bee; award-winning journalist, author and host of podcast “You’re Booked”, Daisy Buchanan and writer Iris Goldsztajn.

Birchington based author Faye Beerling will be talking about her children’s books, which include “RAF 100”, officially celebrating 100 years of the RAF, and former BBC broadcaster, Barbara Sturgeon and Stuart Heritage, author, Guardian columnist and comedy writer, also make an appearance.

Geraldine Watson, who is one of the organisers, said: “Birchington Together were throwing ideas around and we thought so many children have missed out during lockdown on school and integration and reading that we thought a children’s book festival would be a good idea. Then we though to add a few adult authors and it just morphed into this huge event.

“We spoke to broadcasters, writers and journalists and people really wanted to get involved. I tried to keep it Kent based but we do also have people from London, Nottingham, County Durham.

“Authors have not been able to really get out there over the last couple of years so this is a good way for them to engage with their target audiences.”

Photo Bill Harris

One of the authors who had been keen to get involved was Broadstairs writer, journalist and speak Jane Wenham Jones (pictured).

Jane passed away last August and to honour her memory the festival is holding a short story competition.

Geraldine said: “At the beginning of this I got in touch with Jane and she was helping me so I really wanted to make her a part of the festival.”

The competition, sponsored by The Margate Bookshop, invites writers to submit stories of between 750-1,500 words with the opening line: “The sky was as blue as her hair..”

Deadline is March 31. Find more details at

The Birchington Literary Festival will take place between April 30 and May 1 with 5 venues throughout the village, including a large marquee on Dog Acre and another in the garden of The Seaview pub. Sessions will run on the hour every hour, each lasting about 40 – 50 minutes, with the first being at noon and the last at 3pm.

Find out more from Birchington Together CIC on facebook or via the website