POETS, authors and illustrators descended on schools and venues around the town this month for the Swindon Youth Festival of Literature.

The week long celebration was launched by the town’s patron of reading, Joffre White, and included Swindon Academy, Lydiard Park, Commonweal, Ridge-way, Isambard, Dorcan, Nova Hreod, Kingsdown, Churchfields, Highworth Warneford and St Joseph’s.

Throughout the week, students were visited by poet Ash Dickinson as well as authors Jeff Norton, Sam Angus, Phil Earle, Ali Sparkes, Jeremy Strong, Pete Johnson and Bali Rai, amongst others.

AG Smith, The Two Steves and Julia Golding were also popular among students, as well as storytellers Anna Connomos and Rebecca Hetherington and illustrator Fred Blunt.

And radio presenter and author Simon Mayo met students at the Wyvern Theatre.

The event, which takes place annually, was a huge success for students, authors and teachers.

Mr Joffre, who was named Swindon’s patron of reading last month, paid a visit to several schools during the week.

The children’s adventure author said he was honoured to be named patron for the festival.

“I think it is really important that every child should have the opportunity to meet an author so they can see the person behind the books,” he said. “Authors are ordinary people who got lucky enough to be doing something they love.

“It is very important they have access to authors, not enough authors get out there.

“They forget who they are writing for.

“I have done more than 260 school visits but it keeps me grounded, meeting children who are still enthusiastic about reading and writing.”

Mr Joffre judged a short story competition, sifting through many entries from schools in Swindon.