The first ‘Heartstone Odyssey Book Festival’ is set to launch this summer.

The online festival taking place over three days from 8-10 July will include work from children across the whole of the north west region. It is being led by Heartstone who are working alongside UCLan and The Harris Museum and Preston City Council.

Schools and community groups across the County covering Preston, Burnley, Blackburn, Clitheroe and Lancaster have already started preparing artwork for the Festival.

The live event will be opened by the Festival’s Patron, HM Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth KG KCVO KStJ. Prizes for the winners of the art competition associated with this event will be announced at the opening by a panel of judges which includes four Lancashire children age 10-12.

‘The Heartstone Odyssey’ is a fantasy adventure novel for children and all ages but it also deals with prejudice, bigotry and hate. 

The festival will feature contributions from the world of film and theatre including  Sir Derek Jacobi.

The project is part of a much wider scale programme currently in its planning and development phase with the involvement of Barrie Osborne, producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies and other Hollywood blockbusters, who is working on taking the books forward for possible presentation on big and small screens. 

Also participating will be people from the other side of the world with inspirational stories to tell connected with their own childhood and characters from The Heartstone Odyssey.

This includes some who were part of the Montgomery Bus Boycott with their families, brought to the Festival with the assistance o  the Rosa Parks Museum in Alabama and the Selma-Montgomery Historic Trail.

The festival will include local contributors such as Mario Kkounnous, UCLan’s lead digital animator and the Harris Museum’s curator, James Arnold.

Famous Patrons and supporters of this project such as Joanna Lumley, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen are all part of a growing band of actors joining forces and lending their names to help raise awareness of ‘The Heartstone Odyssey’ and Story Circles.

The launch event at UCLan on July 8 will include an exhibition of photographs from the original journey in India in the 1980’s which inspired the books.

To find out how you can take part, email: 

The Heartstone Odyssey Book Festival in Lancashire and the linked cultural/media project has been funded and supported by: Preston City Council, The Harris Charity, the Lord Lieutenancy, Edwin Booth DL, Dennis Mendoros DL, Ishwer Tailor DL, Robert Webb DL, Suzana Sheldon-Ewards DL, , Michael Conlon, Robert Binns (Cotton Court, Preston), Rank Foundation, Fort Foundation, and Stephen Street Foundation. Our grateful thanks to Ribblesdale School for IT support for the art competition.