Thousands of schoolchildren have benefitted from a three-day online literature festival, after organisers postponed the original due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The Blackburn Children's Literature Festival was supposed to take place in April, but founder, organiser and Blackburn-born author, Christina Gabbitas, was adamant the event would go ahead, with a heavy virtual influence.

On September 17 and 18, all primary schools within the Blackburn with Darwen borough were invited to watch ten sessions with authors and illustrators, live streamed from Blackburn Central Library.

And on September 19, a Facebook Live stream for families and communities was held via the Children’s Literature Festivals Facebook page.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Ms Gabbitas, 52, said “This is the third literature festival we have held in Blackburn but unfortunately due to the pandemic we weren’t able to deliver in our usual capacity.

"The easiest option would have been to cancel but I wanted to let the children know that we hadn’t given up on them and that libraries are still open.

"We had such an amazing response from teachers across the borough.

"I would like to thank all the staff at Blackburn Library for their dedication, and our funders, Newground, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn BID for their support.”

The line-up included rapping poet Donavan Christopher, poet and author Andy Seed, poet Dom Conlon, National Poetry Day ambassador Matt Goodfellow, author Salma Zaman, illustrators Ursula Hurst and Liz Million, and authors Stuart Reid and Christina Gabbitas.

During the festival, Ms Gabbitas delivered her new story, which will be launched on November 22.

Believe in the Magic of Blackburn Town Centre, was commissioned by Blackburn BID, and was inspired by the spirit of entrepreneur and philanthropist Edward Hart, who bequeathed so much to the town, resulting in a custodian of the largest coin collection outside of London.

For more information on the book visit: