The Big Malarkey Festival Returns This Summer

the big malarkey festival

Preparation is underway for the return of Hull’s much-loved family festival, The Big Malarkey, this summer.

The event is hosted by Hull Libraries. And the team is hoping to bring a smile to people’s faces and welcome families back with the magic of The Big Malarkey Festival.

After a year in which books and imagination provided escapism for all ages, The Big Malarkey Festival will bring together well-known authors and illustrators alongside local artists, creators and makers in a careful, considered, and socially distanced way to showcase the wonderful world the city’s libraries offer.

the big malarkey festival

“So excited”

Hello World is the theme for this year’s festival. And once again it’ll take place in East Park, with the return of the Big Top and Little Larkeys tents alongside new tents including Beautiful Planet, a place to reflect on nature and the environment.

Sessions inside the different tents will be complemented by the usual host of outdoor and pop-up activities, with families reunited with new and familiar faces, including storyteller Ian Douglas, and Grimm & Co, Apothecary to the Magical World.

The full line-up will be announced shortly. It’ll include Chris Wormell, leading children’s illustrator and creator of the hugely popular ‘The Magic Place’.  Illustrator Maisie Paradise Shearring is on the bill as well.

Ellen Bianchini is the Festival Director. She explained: “We’re all so excited to be reunited in person with families this summer. And we’ve been working hard to find a safe way of delivering the festival. It might feel a bit different from previous years. But we’re confident that we can offer the same quality experience that families have enjoyed in the past.”

“We’re also delighted to announce the return of our much-loved school’s programme; offering interactive sessions for children from Reception to KS3, with a mix of live online events and in-person workshops in schools.”

the big malarkey festival


Established during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017, the festival will open on Monday 21 June. An action-packed virtual school programme will this year take place over five days. That’ll be followed by an imagination-inspiring public programme of live events for families to enjoy.

Available exclusively to Hull Libraries Schools Library Service Schools, over 2,500 students will take part in workshops. Award-winning authors and illustrators including Winnie the Witch illustrator Korky Paulwill be in attendance.

Ginny Smith of Braintastic! will run an interactive session exploring neuroscience to understand memory for KS3. While KS1 students will meet scientist and explorer Sarah Roberts of Somebody Swallowed Stanley to explore the effects of plastic pollution on sharks.

KS2 students will also be joined by fantasy writer Ali Sparkes, winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year. And in-person sessions at schools will be led by a range of local and national artists including Hull Truck Theatre, James Nicol, and Middle Child Theatre.

The school’s programme will also include the KS2 and KS3 James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award.

Since The Big Malarkey Festival began in 2017 it has attracted nearly 20,000 people to enter Malarkey Park. Further information on tickets and guidance for audiences will be published over the coming months. But in the meantime Save the date!


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