James Campbell Interview

James Campbell is a writer, storyteller and comedian. As well as presenting an online TV show about books, James’ first book for children is due to be published in 2014. You can catch James at Ilkley Literature Festival, as part of a Children’s Tea Party on October 6th.

The Big Book Babble – a show which is streamed live online and involves you interviewing children’s authors - sounds like a great way of encouraging children to engage with books. How did you become involved with the show?
I became involved with the Big Book Babble when I pitched the idea to The people that run the Book People. They put it together, which was nice. 

The show has featured some big names in children’s literature, including Philip Ardagh, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson. What have been your own highlights of the episodes so far?
I think my highlights of the show were having Tony Robinson sit on my knee. The whole show was a lot of fun. It’s good to learn new skills. The best thing about the experience was that I read books I wouldn’t normally have chosen to. This really helped to make my own writing better. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your new book, Boyface, which will be published by Hodder in 2014.
Boyface is coming out next year apparently. It’s about a boy learning to become a Stripemonger. It’s funny, silly and gentle. You can follow him on twitter @stripemonger.

You’re hosting a Children’s Tea Party as part of Ilkley Literature Festival’s 40th celebrations. What can we look forward to as part of your event? We heard rumours of goody bags…
The tea party sounds fabulous. I don’t think I’m hosting it. Someone else is doing that bit. I’ll just be telling stories and being funny. And eating cake. 

If you think of Yorkshire, what instantly comes to mind?
Yorkshire equals dales to me. I love the hills. I love Malham and Pen y Gent. Saltaire is nice too. 

You’re the brains behind Comedy 4 Kids, which brings family-friendly comedy to young audiences, with residencies and a touring show. It’s a brilliant, simple idea but did it take much to convince your fellow comedians that it was viable?
I haven’t been involved with the Comedy Club 4 Kids for many years. I wish them all the best though. 

Are children better-behaved than adult audiences or do you get much heckling in the shows?
Children are wonderful. Much prefer them to grown-ups.

To read more about James Campbell, please click here to visit his website. You can view the Facebook page for his Boyface Antelope character.
James will be appearing at Ilkley Literature Festival this October, as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations. For reviews and behind-the-scenes news about the festival, visit The Pickled Egg, the festival’s official blogger.

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