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CANCELLED: Emma Beswetherick – Essex Book Festival

Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled due to the transport strikes this week.

The Honeybee Treasure Hunt – Children’s Workshop

Meet Emma Beswetherick, author of Playdate Adventures –an enchanting series of books featuring 4 best friends as they work together to save the planet.

Delight in this fun interactive session for children to learn more about honeybees and even design your own bug hotel.

For ages: 5-8 years

The Honeybee Treasure Hunt

Join Katy, Cassie, Zia and Luca as they work together to save the planet… one adventure at a time

Eager to learn more about honeybees, the friends shrink themselves down to take a closer look. But when they find a lost bee in a sticky situation, the miniature adventure turns out to be their biggest yet!

With the threat of pesticides and loss of habitat, the group discover how dangerous the world can be – if you’re a bee.

Published in paperback by Rock the Boat, 2nd June 2022, Ages 5–8, Illustrated by Anna Woodbine

The Playdate Adventures

… is a series of chapter books aimed at 5- to 8-year-olds. Join four friends – and their cat – on a playdate, where the magic of their imaginations makes their pretend adventures come to life. Every story takes the girls on an unforgettable journey where they learn not only about the value of friendship, but also about the ecological issues facing our planet today.

With each title covering a different theme – from plastic in the oceans to deforestation, litter on our streets to climate change, and on water conservation here – this series is sure to entertain and inform young readers. The books tie in brilliantly with the environmental topics covered by both the KS1 and KS2 curriculums.

Praise for the Playdate Adventure series:

‘Every young girl should read this series!’ Amanda Holden

‘An empowering, magical read.’ Herald

‘Free of unicorns and princesses, it’s fun, empowering fiction for 5- to 8-year olds.’ David Nicholls, author of One Day


Emma Beswetherick is the mother of young children and wanted to write exciting, inspirational and enabling adventure stories to share with them. Emma works in publishing and lives in London with her family and two ragdoll cats, one of whom was the inspiration for Thunder.

Emma can be found on Twitter @EBeswetherick, Instagram @emmabeswetherick and  on Facebook @Emma.beswetherick


Photo of Emma Beswetherick © Heather Neilson

Emily Kenny – Essex Book Festival

Heroes and Villains – Children’s Writing Workshop

How do you create a hero who keeps readers on the edge of their seat and a villain everyone will love to hate? Find out in middle grade author Emily Kenny’s jam-packed workshop!

Leave with your very own hero and villain ready for adventure and find out some behind-the-scenes writerly secrets along the way…

Venue: High House Production Park, Vellacott Close, Purfleet-on-Thames, Essex, RM19 1RJ

Tickets: Free, booking essential

Date and time: Saturday 11th June, 2.00pm

For ages: 8-12

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks by Emily Kenny

A story about finding your voice, friendship and unlikely heroes.

Sometimes all it takes is a little magic to find your voice…

Alice Tonks is eager to make friends at boarding school, but she’s always found it hard to fit in. Then she discovers she is a switcher and can talk to animals.

As she starts to explore her newfound abilities, to her horror she learns that creatures are going missing. Only Alice holds the key to solving the mystery, but she’ll need to harness her full powers first. And to do that she’ll need a bit of help from her new friends – animal and human alike.


‘A tale of friendship with an autistic protagonist, by an autistic author, this promises to be a great new series.’ Bookseller

‘Everyone says stories have heart but The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks has heart, soul and so much spirit.’ Lindsay Galvin, author of Darwin’s Dragons


Buy a copy of The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks from


Like Alice, Emily Kenny is autistic and wanted to write her debut novel about an autistic child protagonist. Emily studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, completed the MA in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University and was part of the Spark Mentor scheme with WriteMentor. She works as a secondary school English teacher and Special Educational Needs coordinator. Emily lives in London.

Xiran Jay Zhao – CYMERA Festival (ONLINE)

Apathy is not the look here. Here, we burst forth with all the strength and force we can muster.

Welcome to Kekon, the island where blood, family and honour is the ruling hand. In Jade City, Fonda Lee introduces the Green Bone clans of Kekon, those of No Peak and the Mountain clans, who live and die by the lifeblood of jade – and cannot let sleeping dogs lie.

Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow follows Zetian, a young concubine-pilot determined to avenge the brutal death of her sister. But Zetian finds herself at the centre of a patriarchal military system, with a fierce anger set to bring it crashing down.

Running time: 60 minues

Price: £6/£4 concession (plus 50p booking fee)

This event is live on Zoom, and part of CYMERA: Scotland’s Festival of Science-Fiction.

Fonda Lee is the author of the epic fantasy Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City, continuing in Jade War, and concluding in Jade Legacy. She is also the author of the science fiction novels Zeroboxer, Exo and Cross Fire. Fonda is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, as well as a three-time winner of the Aurora Award (Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award), and a multiple finalist for the Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and the Oregon Book Award. Born and raised in Canada, she currently resides in the Pacific Northwest.

Follow Fonda Lee on Twitter @FondaJLee or visit their website.

Xiran Jay Zhao is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Widow series and Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor. A first-gen Hui Chinese immigrant from small-town China to Vancouver, Canada, they were raised by the Internet and made the inexplicable decision to leave their biochem degree in the dust to write books and make educational content instead. You can find them on Twitter for memes, Instagram for cosplays and fancy outfits, TikTok for fun short videos, and YouTube for long videos about Chinese history and culture.

Follow Xiran Jay Zhao on Twitter @XiranJayZhao or visit their website.

Emily Kenny – Waterstones Ashford

Emily Kenny will be in store signing copies of her twisty, adventurous debut middle grade novel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks, which may or may not feature a talking seagull…
We will also be making some funky bookmarks. Come along and take part!

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