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The IW Story Festival has announced an inspirational line-up of authors, illustrators, storytellers, poets and puppeteers for its free online event this February half term, including former CBeebies presenter and children’s writer, Cerrie Burnell.

Cerrie, who featured in the Guardian’s 2011 list of 100 most inspirational women, will be talking live at 11:30 on Thursday 18th February about her book ‘I Am Not A Label’ ­– a stylishly illustrated anthology of stories aimed at older children, exploring the lives of 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present.

The festival will be opened at 10:00 on Wednesday 17th February with a live session by its patron Nicholas Allan, author and illustrator of numerous bestselling picture books, including The Queen’s Knickers. He promises that his session will not only include reading and illustration from his book, Picasso’s Trousers, but magic illusion and chocolate.

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Other authors featuring in a line-up to suit children of all ages include ‘Alex Sparrow’ creator Jennifer Killick; the fabulous multi-award-winning author/illustrator Neal Layton; inspirational author Roopa Farooki; football-fan and former reluctant reader Tom Palmer and the Isle of Wight’s own award-winning children’s author, Kieran Larwood.

Island-based children’s writers, illustrators, storytellers and poets including Sue Bailey, Adam Gatterell, Jules Marriner, Holly Medland Lees, Peta Rainford, Kathryn Rossati, Zoe Sadler and Debbie Webb will also appear.

Although COVID restrictions mean there can’t be a physical festival this year, the organisers say they are determined to give families a proper festival experience during February half term from Wednesday 17th to 20th Saturday February 2021.

Peta Rainford, one of the organisers behind the festival, says:

“We’re aware that everyone’s had a tough year, so we’re pleased that we’re able to offer all sessions free this year. And the fact that the event is online, will mean many more people will be able to see the wonderful authors and performers we’ve got lined up”.

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Another highlight of an exciting programme will be the return of Emergency Turtle, who charmed audiences last year with their unique blend of storytelling and puppetry. They will be doing 2 live sessions on Saturday 20th February – a magical new show, followed by shadow puppet workshop where you can learn to create your own shadow puppets.

The sessions can be accessed via the IW Story Festival website, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram channels. For more information, go to www.iwstoryfestival.com.

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