Ambassadors named for first St Albans Literary Festival

Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Stroud

Rolf Marriott

The inaugural St Albans Literary Festival has announced its author ambassadors in the same week they have both been nominated for a prestigious award.

Kate GriffinKate Griffin

Kate Griffin and Jonathan Stroud have agreed to act as the official representatives for the event, which takes place in the city centre from November 6-9.

They have also been shortlisted for the 9-11 years Best Story Book category of The Booktrust Best Book Awards, which seek to unearth the very best UK children’s books and to honour authors and illustrators who continue the proud heritage of storytelling.

Kate has been recognised for her first children’s book, The Jade Boy, published by Templar under her other name, Cate Cain, a dark, historical fantasy based on the Great Fire of London – and what really caused it.

She said: “I was amazed and thrilled to find out about the shortlisting. In fact, I didn’t allow myself to believe it until the official announcement. I’m stunned to be in such excellent company, including Jonathan! It’s a real feather in St Albans’ literary cap to have two authors on the shortlist.

St Albans Literary Festival 2014St Albans Literary Festival 2014

“The really important thing about the new Booktrust Best Book Awards is that they are designed to get children reading. The aim is to get them talking about the books on the list and to engage them in all sorts of writing. The children vote for their favourites – so the thought of The Jade Boy now being read by some of the most demanding and critical readers you could ask for is both terrifying and exciting.

“I look forward – I think – to hearing their opinions and I hope St Albans schools will want to get involved.”

Jonathan is on the shortlist with his book Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, a young adult thriller published by HarperCollins about an agency of young psychics investigating and eliminating spectral apparitions plaguing London.

He said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be shortlisted for the Booktrust Best Book award alongside so many wonderful authors. It’s a very prestigious award and shines a light on how many fantastic books are published for young readers in the UK every year.”

Kate, who has lived in St Albans with her husband Stephen for almost 20 years, will be the ambassador for the St Albans LitFest’s adult programme: “I’m very honoured to be asked to be an ambassador for the first ever St Albans Literary Festival. This is such a fantastically creative city that the festival is bound to be a massive success. I’ll be delighted to do anything I can to help put us on the literary map.”

Jonathan, who lives in St Albans with his wife and two children, is the author of the New York Times bestselling Bartimaeus sequence, as well as several stand-alone novels.

Jonathan, who will be the ambassador for the children’s programme, added: “When I heard a literary festival was starting up in St Albans I jumped at the chance to be involved.

“To then be asked to be the ambassador of the children’s programme was an extra honour and a complete surprise! I travel all over the world attending literary festivals but this one, in my home town, encouraging local kids to read, is going to be a very special one for me.”

For more information about the St Albans Literary Festival, visit - and if you would be interested in becoming a sponsor or a volunteer, email

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