This year Dean Close School were proud to be the only school to support The Cheltenham Literature Festival in its historic, all-new hybrid Festival. The Festival gave a few lucky people the opportunity to attend events as part of a socially distanced physical audience, but the festival organisers also opened their doors to the rest of the world, where anyone  could watch events for free, as they were live-streamed for the first time in history through the #CheltLitFest digital hub.

200,000 viewers logged on to watch the Festival from all over the world as it was live-streamed from Cheltenham for the first time in the history of the world’s first literature festival. The pioneering hybrid Festival combined a selection of digital and in-person events, as 290 authors and speakers including Matthew Syed, Elif Shafak, Raynor Winn, John Lanchester, Bolu Babalola, Hashi Mohamed, Naoise Dolan, the Kanneh-Mason family, internet doggy sensations Olive and Mabel with their sports commentator owner Andrew Cotter, Ian Hislop and Richard Osman made their way to Cheltenham to appear on stage in front of a live, socially-distanced audience.

180 schools downloaded the free digital pack to Create Your Own Festival at school, featuring draw-alongs, storytelling and author talks on fiction, facts and poetry.

We were very pleased to show our support to the Festival by sponsoring two of the main children’s  events, the Matthew Syed: Dare to be You event on Sunday the 4th October, and the ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ storyteller show on the 10th October.

At Dean Close Preparatory School, two pupils were awarded tickets to attend the Matthew Syed: Dare to be you socially distanced event for their outstanding effort in class so far this year. Here’s what Molly in Year 7, one of the pupils awarded a ticket, had to say:

‘… I loved Matthew’s first book, ‘You are Awesome’, as it really encourages you to have a positive mindset even when that’s not easy.

I’m really looking forward to reading ‘Dare to be You’, especially after having met the author today…’

Molly meeting Matthew Syed          Grace in Year 6, enjoying the show with Mum.

At Dean Close Pre-Preparatory School, two pupils had the opportunity to watch a storytelling event of the book, ‘Guess How Much I Love You‘, a well loved Sam McBratney favourite with all of Pre-Prep, telling the story  of the Nutbrown Hares try to measure the unmeasurable – LOVE!


The pre-prep children all had the opportunity to enter a colouring in competition, with the first prize being tickets to watch the storytelling event, and a second and third prize was given by way of a copy of the book itself. We had lots of entries, and everyone did a wonderful job!


This year’s programme is still available to view on demand via a subscription to the #CheltLitFest Player, with more than 120 events from The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival available on-demand until 31 December 2020.


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