Hull’s Big Malarkey Festival Returns for 2022

The Big Malarkey Festival Booklove

Grab your family, friends and your imagination. And get ready to gather once again in Malarkey Park to enter a world beyond the stories. Hull’s much-loved family festival The Big Malarkey returns to East Park in June. And there’ll be everything from literary legends to whizz-bang science demos.

It’s so much more than books. The Big Malarkey is a festival of ideas, creativity and discovery. Hosted by Hull Libraries and a legacy of Hull’s UK City of Culture programme, The Big Malarkey Festival has grown and evolved since its first festival in 2017, as authors and illustrators come together alongside artists, creators and makers to showcase the wonderful world the city’s libraries offer.

“Diverse and engaging”

This year’s programme is diverse and engaging with more events than ever for older children, including: award-winning performance poet and author Laura Dockrill, author of the Darcy Burdock series; Phil Earle, local author and winner of the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year for his incredible book When The Sky Falls; Lucasfilm and Doctor Who illustrator (and son of Hull) JAKe, and writer and BBC6 music broadcaster Jeffrey Boakye (check out the full programme here for all the details).

What’s The Story? is the theme for 2022. And East Park will once again be transformed into a colourful festival village with the return of an array of tents including the Big Top, Little Larkeys, Beautiful Planet, Makerspace, Make it Take It, Live and Kicking, Hull Maritime and BIPC Hull with a host of opportunities to meet authors, illustrators, artists, thinkers and scientists.

There’ll be workshops, talks and performances. And there’ll also be the usual host of outdoor and pop-up activities. Storyteller Ian Douglas will be there, as will The Herd, and Calvin Innes’ Doodle Room.

The Big Malarkey Festival 2022

New to the festival for 2022 is Booklove, a multicultural traveling book carnival. Samantha Williams returns to the festival with a colourful interactive pop-up carnival shop. She’ll be offering an abundance of inclusive and anti-racist books.  A bigger Writers Bloc also returns for 2022 with a fantastic programme for 6-16-year-olds. From songwriters to broadcasters, historians and storytellers, you’re invited to write and submit your own stuff.

Visitors can also head to the Library tent to be one of the first to their your hands on a new library card. And you can even go wild in the Stone Age and try your hand at fire-lighting and campfire storytelling with Rewilding Youth.


The festival opens on Tuesday 21 June with an action-packed four-day school programme. Then it opens its gates to the public on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June.

Festival Programmer, Ellen Bianchini, explained: “We’re so very excited to announce The Big Malarkey programme for 2022. The What’s the Story? theme invites young people of all ages to delve into a world of stories and possibilities.

“While we were delighted to be able to host a festival last year, this year we’re back bigger, bolder and brighter than ever, with a vibrant, diverse and energetic programme – that’s the vibe we’re bringing for 2022. As a festival which reflects the Libraries’ offer for children, the biggest challenge is what to leave out!”

After a two-year hiatus, schoolchildren will return to the festival site for a four-day literary adventure. Available exclusively to Hull Libraries Schools Library Service Schools, over 2,500 students will take part in workshops, talks, discussions and interactive activities. The school’s programme will include the KS2 and KS3 James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award. Hull is the only city to run a book award where it is a live vote on the day.

Tickets are now on sale and are priced from £5 for adults, £2.50 for children (1-16 years). A group of 2 adults and 2 children can go for £14, and babies in arms go free. Disabled adult tickets are £4. Tickets are available from branches of Hull Libraries or at


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