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Each year as part of the Belfast Book Festival we work with BookTrust to welcome to the Festival some incredible children's authors and poets.

This year we were very excited to welcome multi-award-winning children's author and poet Joseph Coehlo.

This year we were excited to be working with Fane Street Primary School.  As a big believer that writing is for everyone, Joseph delivered a series of activities with the school; he produced a pre-recorded online session for a number of classes; held live Q&A sessions with the pupils, which was a fantastic opporunity for the pupils to interact with Joseph himself; and we also ran a Poetry Competition for which Joseph was the judge! 

Click here to read the work of the winners and to see what Joseph has to say of the work. 

As part of this partnership, every child in the school and nursery received a free signed copy of one of Joseph’s books, which we hope will encourage the children of Fane St Primary school to write their own creations, to build their confidence and inspire them.

We were also delighted that for this festival Joseph read a deliciously creepy extract from his middle-grade novel Zombierella (the tale of Cinderella… with one key difference, she becomes a zombie!) and told us about his journey into becoming a poet and children's author, whilst revealing some brilliant ways that you can start writing poems too! 

About the author

Joseph Coelho is a multi-award-winning children's author and poet who writes books across all age ranges from picture books right up to Young Adult verse novels. His work has appeared on Blue Peter, BBC Teach, and CBeebies rhyme Rocket. His poetry has appeared on the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, has been read by celebrities for the Premier League Primary Stars Project and has even been lit up at Blackpool illuminations. He is the winner of the 2019 Independent Bookshop Book Award with his picture book If All The World Were… and he won the 2015 CLPE CLIPPA Poetry Award with his debut poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules. 

His latest book The Girl Who Became A Tree is a story told in poems and is shortlisted for the 2021 Carnegie Medal.

Joseph has been encouraging young people to write for over 18 years he writes in a variety of mediums, but all have poetry at their heart.

A bit about Zombierella

A yellow moon hangs in a satin sky the night Cinderella, barefoot and in hand-me-downs, slips at the top of the stairs … and dies. But not for long. The Shadow of Death arrives to breathe life back into her bones and, for three nights only, Cinderella goes forth as ZOMBIERELLA. With her skin as cold as ice and her faithful horse Lumpkin back by her side, can she seek revenge on her three cruel, fake sisters, once and for all?

Crawl out of the grave and step into your mushroom carriage for this haunting and humorous adventure of the undead girl searching for her happily ever after.

"Such a fun story with excellent illustrations ... with enough familiarity to feel known but with enough difference to make it quirky and original" Malorie Blackman

BookTrust is UK’s largest children’s reading charity. Each year we reach millions of children and families, inspiring them with our books, resources and support to get them started on their reading journeys. We want all families to establish a routine of reading together with their babies as early as possible and to continue this throughout childhood as children learn to read independently. Reading matters because it can have a lifelong positive impact on a child, affecting their health and wellbeing, creativity and educational outcomes. Our focus is reaching children from economically disadvantaged and vulnerable family backgrounds, whilst retaining our commitment to all children BookTrust.org.uk

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