Date of release: Monday, May 14, 2018

The Greenwich Book Festival returns on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 June with two packed days of literary events for all ages. Hosted and organised by the University of Greenwich in collaboration with author and journalist Patricia Nicol, it forms part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals programme.

This year the festival extends beyond the university's historic Old Royal Naval College campus to the streets, riverbanks, buildings and even a lido which form the backdrop to featured books. Visitors are invited to walk, swim and mudlark as they experience the environments that inspired the literature.

Well known writers including novelist and poet Blake Morrison, journalist and author Lucy Mangan, journalist John Crace and memoirist Chris Difford of Squeeze will be appearing alongside new voices such as Imogen Hermes Gowar whose highly-regarded debut novel The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is set in 1780s Deptford and Blackheath.

Children can meet top CBeebies authors like Olobob creator Leigh Hodgkinson, make comics with cartoonist Neill Cameron of the award-winning Mega Robo Bros books, attend a host of workshops with popular author/illustrators like Fabi Santiago (Tiger in a Tutu) and Ged Adamson of Shark Dog! fame, enjoy Paddington storytelling and join the dots of history with Christopher Lloyd who wrote the best-selling history of the world, What on Earth Happened?

Two of the biggest international stars of Young Adult fiction, Angie Thomas and Patrick Ness will be in conversation. Both have books appearing as films: Thomas's The Hate U Give inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and Ness's Chaos Walking starring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland. His novel A Monster Calls, already a hit film in 2016, is being staged at the Old Vic this summer.

The festival is also an opportunity for creative writing students and staff at Greenwich to showcase their work.

Festival co-director Dr Alex Pheby, Programme Leader of Creative Writing at the university whose novel Playthings was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, says: "The festival attracts established authors and exciting new voices each year as well as publishers, agents and critics so it's a wonderful opportunity for the university and wider community.

"From novelists like Jenni Fagan to poets like Filippa Bahrke, many of our students get published before they graduate"

Friday is Schools Day, sponsored by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, when local primary children meet popular authors like Beano and Dandy cartoonist Gary Northfield, discover how books are made and have a go at story-telling, this year with BBC producer Wendy Shearer.

Co-director Patricia Nicol says: "This is a young festival that reflects the best of London, with a diverse, inclusive programme which is welcoming to all ages. It is also very affordable, with open access to the site and free events.

"This year we have an exciting programme with everything from discussing politics with the likes of Brexitcast presenter Chris Mason, and celebrating suffragette women's plays at Greenwich Theatre, to looking with Adeola Solanke at the weeks the African-American prodigy and enslaved teen, Phillis Wheatley, spent in London publishing her historic book of poetry, and holding a swimming event at Charlton Lido with authors including Libby Page and Alex Heminsley."

The full programme can be found at greenwichbookfest.com