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Children’s author Francesca Simon to appear at the Wimpole History Festival in Cambridgeshire

Childrens author Francesca Simon. Picture: Helen Giles
Childrens author Francesca Simon. Picture: Helen Giles

An American author living in London, Francesca Simon is best known for the Horrid Henry series of children’s books – the first of which was published in 1994

One of the UK’s best-selling children’s authors, Francesca will be appearing at the Wimpole History Festival next week with a talk on her latest characters, Viking toddler twins Hack and Wack.

Hack and Wack is a picture book I’ve done, which is about two terrible Viking toddlers, raging and rampaging,” she explains, “because I was thinking that Viking parents wouldn’t want their children to be well behaved, they would want them to be loud and aggressive and noisy – so it’s a fun excuse for just going a bit mad.

“It’s a very funny picture book about Viking twins who destroy their village to try to get out of going to bed.”

Francesca continues: “I’ll be telling the festival audience how I got the idea. I’ll read it, I will show some of illustrator Charlotte Cotterill’s sketches and drawings, and talk a little bit about the Vikings and their background – and hopefully the kids will have a chance to try to draw the characters themselves.”

Francesca will be giving a second talk later that day (June 24) with Kevin Crossley-Holland entitled Norse Mythology.

“I wrote a novel called The Monstrous Child,” she says, “which is about Hel, the Norse goddess of the dead as an angry teenager. So the presentation is talking about modern retellings of Norse myths, and Kevin Crossley-Holland is a world expert on Norse mythology.”

Francesca went last year to the first Wimpole History Festival and very much enjoyed it.

“It’s in that beautiful location so it’s a fantastic day out,” she said, “and the talks were really interesting and not like the usual literature festivals – it’s quite focused and the children’s side is fun as well.

“I think children up to the age of six would enjoy Hack and Wack, and then eight-plus for the other talk.”

Francesca adds: “Hack and Wack have gone down really well, and also there’s nothing like it. It’s quite a unique book – no one’s done a picture book in this way. Certainly Norse mythology is having a big moment right now.”

Francesa Simon’s two talks will be on Sunday, June 24 – the first at 12pm-1pm, the second at 3pm-4pm.

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