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Pop Up Experiences

So who's telling these stories?

Every year Pop Up Festival scours the world, the oceans and the outer reaches of the solar system to find a bunch of brilliant story-makers - writers and illustrators, poets and storytellers - to dream up and design for you what we call Pop Up Experiences. Explore the symbols on the right for a tour through the Pop Up Experiences at Pop Up Festival this year.

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Ed Vere’s ‘Live At The Blue Banana’


A pop-up jazz club brought to you by Mr Big!


Ed Vere is a best selling maker of picture books for children, including Mr Big, Banana, Bedtime for Monsters (shortlisted for the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Prize), The Getaway and, in summer 2014, Max the Brave.


Ed Vere
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Julia Golding’s ‘Young Knights & Dangerous Dragons’

Calling all heroes: King Arthur needs you to join his Round Table and fight the forces of an evil king of the Fey Realm. You must be able to handle dragons, ogres, trolls and other magical creatures. Come to the Young Knights of the Round Table tent to find out more!

Julia Golding is a multi-award winning writer for children and young adults with over 30 books in genres ranging from historical adventure to fantasy – over half a million of which have been sold worldwide and translated into over 20 languages. She won the Waterstones Children’s Book Award in 2006 for The Diamond of Drury Lane, the first in a series of adventures featuring Cat Royal; and her most recent fantasy trilogy commences with Young Knights of the Round Table.

Julia Golding
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Ken Wilson-Max’s ‘Pop Up Jungle’

What better place to learn about the jungle than sitting right in one! Learn to use words, pictures, actions and music to make stories fun. Meet strange and interesting animals and creatures, hear the sounds and feel the rhythm of the forest at this jungle party! 

Ken Wilson-Max – whose artwork is characterised by thick black lines and rich bold colours – was born in Zimbabwe. He’s worked on more than 50 books in his career as an author and illustrator, including the Lenny series, Little Red Plane, Big Silver Spaceship, and Amazing People’s Circus, and he gives live shows and workshops for children of all ages.

Ken Wilson Max
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Chris Mould’s ‘Spooktorium’

It’s time to turn your trash can inside-out, upside down and back to front! Behind the doors of the Spooktorium shopfront, work is underway to transform our everyday rubbish into items worth treasuring. Take a look on the shelves at the horrifying examples and join the fun in turning a nothing into a something! 

Chris Mould hasn’t been able to stop drawing since he first picked up a pencil. His vast array of children’s books include anthologies of highly illustrated short stories Pirates ‘n’ Pistols (shortlisted for the 2013 Kate Greenaway Medal) and Fangs ‘n’ Fire, and two series of short novels filled with black and white drawings, Spindlewood Tales, and Something Wickedly Weird. Although he won the Swiss Prix Enfantasie Best Novel Award in 2012, he unfortunately only came 4th in the 1976 Egg and Spoon race at Low Moor First School.

Chris Mould
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Zena Edwards’s ‘Poetic Debaters Project’

Do you have a lot to say about the world? Because here’s your chance to listen to young people using poetry and spoken word to debate things they feel passionate about. The Poetic Debaters Project takes you on a journey through the information age, tests your wits and inspires creativity for positive change. Listen, join in, and be inspired.

Zena Edwards is one of the most unique voices of performance poetry to come out of London, and in her 20 years as a writer and performer regularly engages with youth arts and activism projects, and with cultural and environmental preservation causes. She won the Hidden Creatives award in 2012 for her dynamic education work.

Zena Edwards
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Sarwat Chadda’s ‘Forging Legends’

Take a trip into the labyrinth with Theseus. Go with Sigurd to slay a dragon. And stand with Rama as he battles the demon king. Join our three legendary heroes as they face the greatest monsters of all time!
Sarwat Chadda grew up obsessed by heroes and comics, and his writing is inspired by the exploits of Achilles, Thor and Rama. Sarwat’s awesome fantasy novel trilogy, beginning with Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress, takes on the great heroes and villains of Indian mythology and gives them a modern spin – opening up a whole world of Eastern monsters and magic for Western young readers.

Sarwat Chadda
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Sita Brahmachari’s ‘Kite Spirit’

Hidden among the textures of moss and stone are the symbols at the heart of Kite Spirit. Enter and join the author on a journey exploring the treasures of inspiration and imagination. Listen to the atmospheric sounds and moods of the elements, watch the Kite Spirit film, relax in a cocoon while you listen to the story on headphones, rummage for clues on the writer’s desk, search hidden tented spaces, follow a sculptural trail… then use this sensory world to inspire your own writing and let your creative spirit fly.   

Sita Brahmachari is the author of novels Kite Spirit, Artichoke Hearts (winner of the 2011 Waterstones Children’s Book Award) and Jasmine Skies. She’s also had a long career of writing for and with young people for the RSC, Royal Court Theatre, Talawa and Tamasha theatre companies; and most recently wrote Tamasha’s adaptation of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

Sita Brahmachari
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Sarah Ardizzone’s ‘Mr Leon’s Taxi’

Mr Leon, the flamboyant taxi-driver created by French illustrator Barroux, travels the world without ever leaving his home city of Paris. But now he’s coming to London! It’s your turn to step inside his cab and spin us a short yarn about your own taxi ride – real or imaginary, in English or a different language. Your stories will be recorded and highlights will be played to a live audience. Plus we’ve got fabulous illustrator Sandra Howgate on hand to draw the pictures for your taxi ride.

Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator from the French, who originally trained in theatre in Paris. She has published nearly 40 titles for children, young adults and grown ups, including Mr Leon’s Paris by Barroux, as well as translations of Toby Alone and Vango by Timothée de Fombelle, and Little Red Hood by Marjolaine Leray.

Sarah Ardizzone
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James Mayhew’s ‘Great Pop Up Picture Gallery’

Picture yourself in a gallery where famous paintings come to life! There’ll be lots of fun and creative activities throughout the day, so join James as he celebrates 25 years of his Katie books with a magical fusion of art and story-telling. 

James Mayhew has been bringing art to life for children for 25 years through his best-selling classic picture books about Katie and her various adventures in paintings and galleries, among over 60 titles – including the Ella Bella Ballerina series – published all around the world. James also devises and performs in unique orchestral concerts for children, featuring narration and live illustration, and teaches aspiring illustrators at Cambridge School of Art.

James Mayhew
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Jane Ray’s ‘Mythical Beasts, Magical Worlds’

Help author and illustrator Jane Ray complete a huge theatrical scene of a mythical creature by adding sparkling details of silver and gold, paper and foil, scales, flames and feathers, and listen to stories about these amazing creatures!

Jane Ray has been making picture books since she was five, and still gets a thrill writing and illustrating fairy tales, myths and legends, retelling old stories and inventing new ones. Her many books include The Emperor’s Nightingale, The Dolls House Fairy, Ahmet and the Feather Girl, and the pop-up fairytale theatre books Cinderella and Snow White. ‘One of the many pleasures of my job is working with children,’ says Jane, ‘because their imaginations never fail to amaze me’.

Jane Ray
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Rich Sylvester’s ‘Walking Through Time’

A patchwork of wandering tales weaving history and folklore.

Rich Sylvester has had several jobs including running an East London bookshop, dressing up in animal costumes to save endangered species, and supporting links between villages in the UK and West Africa. He now divides his time between telling stories in green spaces and old places, and running Forest School sessions for family and adult groups. When he’s not in the woods he collects driftwood, and runs story walks along the Thames in London.

Richard Sylvester
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Pop Up & Dance!


Ever wondered what children’s authors really want to be? They want to be DJ’s!


Join us at the Pop Up & Dance space – at the London festival only, unfortunately – where 10 writers and illustrators each take a turn at the turn-tables to spin their favourite tunes.

Headlining is the very irie Rastamouse author Michael De Souza, banging out his big bad beats on Saturday 12th July – and we’ll announce the rest of the line-up nearer the time. So listen out for that line-up, Pop Uppers!

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Kayo Chingonyi’s ‘In Search of Fear’

A Grimm fairytale exploring sibling rivalry and the consequences of curiosity reframed for the 21st century with music and performances from a group of young actors 

Kayo Chingonyi works as a writer, creative writing tutor and events producer; and his poems have been published in lots of magazines and anthologies, and most recently in an anthology, Some Bright Elegance. Kayo has presented his work at venues and events around the world, and recently represented Zambia at a festival of world poets at the Southbank Centre as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Kayo Chingonyi 2 cropped for website
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Usifu Jalloh’s ‘The Cowfoot Prince’

Why does chameleon walk so slowly? Why do monkeys swing in the trees? Why do hippos live in water? Why, why, why! Come discover the answers with Usifu Jalloh the Cowfoot Prince in his inspirational, spell-binding, and very, very funny cabaret of African stories and songs.

Usifu Jalloh is an energetic storytelling performer who uses humour, music and infectious rhythms to captivate audiences. Born in Sierra Leone, he’s co-written plays about colonialism, slavery and civil war, starred in short films about refugees, and gives inspiring storytelling, dance and drumming workshops around the world.

Usifu Jalloh
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Thomas Docherty’s ‘Ruby’s Playground in the Sky’

Pick up a pen, grab some glue and join author and illustrator Thomas Docherty to transform an ordinary grey city model into a magical 3D mobile bursting with colour and surprises!

Thomas Docherty is the author and illustrator of lots of fabulous children’s picture books including Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure, Big Scary Monster, Little Boat and The Snatchabook (with Helen Docherty). He loves visiting schools and libraries, especially to help children and adults create their own stories.

Thomas Docherty
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Remember, Pop Up Festival is COMPLETELY FREE for everyone, so no need to book ahead – but it would be wonderful if you could let us know you’re coming by giving us your contact details here.


You can download the Pop Up Festival programme and poster – and, when you’ve decided which Pop Up Festival you’re coming to, don’t forget to download the site map and travel directions for the venue below.


And remember there is limited parking only – with priority for disabled parking – at all festival sites, so if you can, walk, use public transport or park nearby to the festival site.


There will be plenty of food and refreshments on sale, along with other market stalls. Make sure you pay a visit to the bookseller at your festival to pick up books by the authors you’ll be encountering throughout the day!


If you’ve got a burning question for the Pop Up Festival team, email info@pop-up.org.uk.


Oh, and make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, use #PopUpFest14 – and if you post an Instagram video telling the story of your Pop Up Festival day, you might win a Pop Up Box of books!


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