Manchester Children’s Book Festival announces Neville Johnson Comic Strip Competition

Author Curtis Jobling will launch a cmic strip competition in Manchester this week

Author Curtis Jobling will launch a cmic strip competition in Manchester this week

A trailblazer event for the biennial Manchester Children’s Book Festival (which takes place at the end of the month) will take place at Manchester Central Library tomorrow (Thursday 5th June), when novelist Curtis Jobling, creator of the globally successful Wereworld series, will be launching the festival’s International Reading and Writing Relay and the Neville Johnson Comic Strip Competition.

Curtis, who is also known as the production designer for Bob the Builder and the illustrator behind characters such as Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and Frankenstein’s Cat, will also be talking about his new book, Haunt: Dead Scared.

The aim of the International Reading and Writing Relay is to encourage young people from across the world to share what they are reading by sending stories, poems, photos, drawings and videos to the Relay Blog. In 2012, the blog received visits from 107 countries, with posts from readers and writers in Brazil, Canada, China, Norway and of course across the UK and Manchester.

Following the launch Curtis will head out into local Manchester schools to pass on the relay baton.

The Neville Johnson Comic Strip Competition (PDF link) centres takes its cue from Curtis’ new novel, which features an invisible character. Children will be asked to create a six panel comic strip of what they imagine might happen to them if they had invisibility as their superpower. The winning entry will receive a professionally designed print of their comic strip poster.

Sponsored by bespoke furniture makers Neville Johnson, the competition will run throughout the summer and will be judged by Curtis himself.

“Neville Johnson are proud to be a part of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival,” commented Jordan Wilson, Digital Marketing Manager at Neville Johnson. “Our rich history both with Manchester and with providing bespoke, handcrafted libraries perfectly places us as a partner for this fantastic event.”

Comic creators Sarah McIntyre and Phillip Reeve are hosting a 'Seawigs' parade as part of this year's Festival. And no, you can't have their job.

Comic creators Sarah McIntyre and Phillip Reeve are hosting a ‘Seawigs’ parade as part of this year’s Festival. And no, you can’t have their job.

This year’s Manchester Children’s Book Festival, which runs from 26th June – 6th July 2014 at Manchester Metropolitan University will once again feature a host of top children’s authors, including comic creators Sarah McIntyre and Phillip Reeve, Michael Morpurgo, Darren Shan and David Almond.

Author and illustrator duo Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre will be leading a Seawigs parade in aid of the Readwell charity on 28th June, featuring creatures from their bestselling book, Oliver and the Seawigs. Festival-goers will also be encouraged to draw, knit or paint a sea-monkey from the book, which will then be auctioned off.

Sarah also provided imagery for the Festival itself got promotional purposes.

Also confirmed are Steve Cole (Astrosaurs, Young Bond), Cerrie Burnell (CBeebies, Snowflake), Andrew Cope (Spy Dog), Curtis Jobling (Wereworld), Cathy Cassidy (Chocolate Box Girls), Liz Kessler (Emily Windsnap), Tom Palmer (Over The Line), Sufiya Ahmed (Secrets of a Henna Girl), Guy Bass (The Legend of Frog), Kate Pankhurst (Mariella Mystery), Justin Somper (Vampirates), Ali Sparkes (The Shapeshifter), and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who is also the Festival’s Creative Director.

Original illustration by Doreen Roberts for “A Quarrel of Witches” by Margaret Storey, Faber and Faber, London, 1970 © Doreen Roberts.

Original illustration by Doreen Roberts for A Quarrel of Witches by Margaret Storey, Faber and Faber, London, 1970 © Doreen Roberts.

From 9th June until 5th September 2014, the University will also be hosting “Tigers, caterpillars and other wild things: children’s books in the 1960s”, an exhibition featuring many much-loved characters and stories from children’s books of the 1960s. The artworks have been selected from the Children’s Books and Book Design collections held at Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections and includewell-known publishers such as Ladybird and Puffin, and authors and illustrators including Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Alan Garner, Barry Hines, Judith Kerr, Doreen Roberts, Maurice Sendak, Dr Seuss, Brian Wildsmith and John Wyndham.

The Festival is also supporting a new partnership between book charity ReadWell and Manchester Metropolitan University to provide books for children at Manchester Children’s Hospital school. All visitors booking festival tickets online will be invited to make a donation to the charity.

• The Neville Johnson Comic Strip Competition details are here:

• For more information on the Festival, the competition and the Reading and Writing Relay visit:

• Throughout June and July, Manchester Libraries will be organising a series of Reading and Writing Relay events and activities. To find out more, visit and join in the Summer Reading Challenge


Categories: Comics Competitions, downthetubes Comics News, Events, Exhibitions, Featured News

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