News Story

This year's BAFTA Young Presenter winners recently had their first assignment: The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. They honed their public speaking skills by introducing writer talks and getting exclusive access to the Writers’ Room where they were able to meet authors, broadcasters and journalists and seek advice on interview technique. 

Elsie (11) from Edinburgh was particularly excited to chat with BAFTA Special Award winner, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and wildlife presenter Hamza Yassin, also known for his dancing talents on Strictly Come Dancing.  She introduced a variety of talks including Dr Ranj’s A Superfamily Like Ours and In the Shadow of the Wolf Queen by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.  In her introductions, Elsie shared with audiences her experience of dyslexia and how audio books enhance her love of storytelling.

“Cheltenham was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my short little life. I enjoyed literally all of it and got to meet some wonderful people. I wish I could go back every year but that’s for future young presenters. If I didn’t want to be a presenter, I would be an author. Cheltenham was a spectacular learning experience. I highly recommend it!”

Precious (18) has just started a journalism degree at De Montfort University, Leicester.  The Festival created tailored opportunities for Precious to talk with a variety of broadcasters and journalists including Sathnam Sanghera, Matt Chorley and Masuma Ahuja

“Having just started my journalism course, the whole weekend was an invaluable experience. Highlights included meeting Selina Brown, founder of the Black British Book Festival; introducing Mary Beard to 850 guests in Cheltenham Town Hall to talk about her new book, Emperor of Rome; and introducing Sathnam Sanghera to a younger audience to discuss his latest book exploring What Is An Empire? I met such great people from different backgrounds but they all shared a love of words.  It was an honour to be part of this incredible Festival, and I’m so blessed to have crossed paths with such genuine people that have a passion for what they do.”

Huge thanks to Loraine Evans (Family & Schools Programme Manager) and Sharna Jackson (author and Festival advisory group) for creating such unique and inspiring opportunities for Elsie and Precious and immersing them in a hub of creativity.

Written by BAFTA's Head of Children & Young People, Lisa Prime