Children’s authors for your Museums at Night 2014 event

Every year we collaborate with the Reading Agency to connect Museums at Night venues with authors to be part of their festival events, without charging an appearance fee.

This year we have an exciting list of 21 writers whose books are targeted at children and young adults for you to pick from, including How to Train your Dragon author Cressida Cowell and Bartimaeus author and ghost specialist Jonathan Stroud.

How to Train your Dragon

Download the spreadsheet list of children’s authors here – would any of these be appropriate for your venue’s Museums at Night event?

How author events work: case study

Last year, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery brought in author and historian Lucy Moore, who had recently published her biography of famous ballet dancer Nijinsky. This was relevant because the museum holds a world-renowned shoe collection, including the ballet slippers of prima ballerinas Anna Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn and Moira Shearer – which they highlighted in a display.

A male ballet dancer performing

Vaslav Nijinsky in Scheherazade (c. 1912), shared under a Wikimedia Commons licence

In addition to the author talk, which was chaired by the Senior Lecturer in Dance from the University of Northampton, the museum also invited a ballet dancer along to demonstrate some aspects of the dance form and discuss how she worked.

This successful event was specifically targeted at dance students and ballet fans, many of whom had not previously visited the museum but were pleased to have the opportunity to engage with specific objects in the collection. The extra programming inspired by the author created an enjoyable and rewarding evening experience for visitors.

How to promote an author talk

Once we connect your museum, gallery, library or heritage site with a particular author, it will be down to you to liaise directly with the publisher, coordinate and cover the expenses for the author’s travel and accommodation as necessary, take delivery of books for the book sale, and promote the event to your local audiences.

The publishers may have publicity material and images they can share with you to help attract attention, as well as copies of books that can be used as competition prizes – do ask them what they expect and how they may be able to help you!

Don’t forget that you can charge for admission to your Museums at Night events – but as these authors will appeal to families, you may want to widen access to more people by pricing tickets on a cost-recovery basis.

Your next step

Download the spreadsheet of available authors and share the list with your team. Do any of these writers, or the subjects they write about, have a connection with your venue, collections or location?

If you are interested in a particular author, double check their restrictions – some are only able to go to venues within a certain geographical area, most have specified the age groups their books are intended for, and many have set the minimum or maximum number of people they prefer to come and perform for.

In addition, there is extra information about the type of skills and props the authors bring along to their talks, which may be inspiring: for example, Holly Webb‘s events usually involve puzzles and hands-on craft-making activity sessions; Ten Little Pirates author Mike Brownlow would like to hold a piratical party; and Osbert the Avenger author Christopher William Hill brings boxes full of smells which he uses to inspire kids to create their own characters and stories.

Be aware that all events featuring these authors will usually end with a sale of their books, and in many cases a book signing session for visitors – do you have the space and staffing capacity to deliver this successfully?

If you’d like to invite one of these authors to your venue for Museums at Night, please call Nick or Rosie on 01273 623336.