Small Wonder for Your Small Wonders – Family Events at Charleston's Short Story Festival

The studio fireplace, copyright Penelope Fewster
Courtesy of The Charleston Trust

Hello! Apologies for the silence. I’m not under a bus! I’ve been on holiday with my family.

Perhaps if I’m ever lucky enough to receive pots of pennies from advertisers, I can schedule posts to go out in my absence. For now it’s in real time – if I go missing, so do my posts.

Anyway I am popping with excitement. About two weeks after I started this blog, Charleston got in touch about partnering with Little Lewes for the children’s events at what was then their upcoming short story festival, Small Wonder.

I reacted in an transparently over-keen and totally uncool way that trashed my street cred.

But look, as a gal who read Art History and English Studies at university, Charleston is Mecca to me. I love it there. Have you picnicked in its whimsical grounds with your littlies yet? Do.

The lovely garden at Charleston is full of hidden nooks and crannies that kids love to explore
Courtesy of The Charleston Trust


Small Wonder is THIS WEEK! In fact, it starts tomorrow, Wednesday 25 September, 2013. As you can tell, I am super flattered to be asked to partner the children’s events.

The Small Wonder booklet is all over Lewes at the moment – key authors appearing are listed on the cover

They’re being staged as part of the Outsider Fringe Events and there are three to note:

OODLES OF DOOLES – Saturday 28 September, 2.30-4pm. Free

Details of the Oodles of Doodles event at Small Wonder this Saturday

Yes to this. It’s a family workshop, in the Charleston Garage (who knew such a place existed on this hallowed ground?). Artist illustrator Chris Gilvan-Cartwright will lead the way.

Aside: he’s also present as alter ego The Baron Gilvan in the Charleston Shop via his ethereal ‘Miniworld paintings‘, inspired by the Downs.

For Oodles of Doodles, all you and yours need to be able to do is hold a pencil and apply it in any fashion to a piece of paper. My 16-month-old will love this as much as my five-year-old, so a rare activity they can share. I hope we’ll be there.

HAWK WALK – Sunday 29 September, 10-11.45am. £10

Early Birds and Hawk Walk details from the Small Wonder programme

Huxley’s Birds of Prey Centre in Horsham is the host for this segment. The walk follows the old coach road.

We’ve been to a few birds of prey demonstrations, but never one you can actually participate in – you get to wear the glove! Book at

Aside: Notice above the detail from the programme above that you can also have a little breakfast-and-papers pitstop before the Hawk Walk at the Studio Café. I’ve eaten here once before. The food was delicious.

POCKET BOOK MAKING WORKSHOP – Sunday 29 September, 12-3pm. Free

Details of the Pocket Book Making Workshop at Charleston this weekend – yes that footer says there’s a shuttle to and from Lewes. You can freely drink special Small Wonder beers!

Materials and instruction are provided for you to make your own tiny tome – perfect for recording dreams and secrets. I love the idea of my own pocket-sized journal (although those of you who actually read my lengthy posts will suspect I probably couldn’t confine my thoughts to something so small).

My littler boy is obsessed with drawing, but only wants to do it in sketchbooks. So he has a stash of them to help himself to. I’d love my older one to be able to make him a wee book to perfectly match his tiny hands.

This event is lead by artist Lee Shearman of Micro Library Books and for older kids, he’ll show how to make pop-up, fold-out bits, or expandable pockets – all the better for stashing those secrets!


They aren’t specifically for kids, but there are a few other things I think sound brilliant:

Scrabble Wall – a giant Scrabble board where you have to make super short stories from 10 syllables and two consonants sounds (move aside Twitter, with your 140 characters). Throughout Small Wonder. Free

Pizza by the PondPizza Amoré, a woodfired gourmet pizza van, will be in residence from 12-8pm Saturday and Sunday. They do gluten-free and vegan options.

Coctkails and Scrabble Championship – this is my favourite of all. A Scrabble championship that gives extra points for made up, French and blue words, with cocktails from £4. Friday 27 September, 6.30pm. Free

The dining room at Charleston, copyright Penelope Fewster
Courtesy of The Charleston Trust

ANECDOTAL ASIDEI once ate dinner with Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveler’s Wife) in the kitchen at Charleston after she did a reading of Her Fearful Symmetry (also ace). I was so starstruck by the author and the place that I was mute the entire time… But for asking her whether she’d seen the film of TTTW, like the total berk I am.

Duncan Grant’s studio, copyright Axel Hesslenberg
Courtesy of The Charleston Trust

Disclosure: I have been asked to partner with and promote Small Wonder at Charleston in return for links from their site to Little Lewes. It is a wonderful association for Little Lewes because Charleston is one of those places that make our area special. I genuinely think this is a great event for families and as a charitable trust, it supports the continued preservation of the former home of the Bloomsbury group. I have been offered complimentary tickets to attend the event on Saturday with my family – this is not to review it, but as an added thanks for this post. I have not been offered, nor have I accepted any other financial compensation for it. I’m very much looking forward to Oodles of Doodles!

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I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

4 thoughts on “Small Wonder for Your Small Wonders – Family Events at Charleston's Short Story Festival

  1. Welcome back! Great post, lineup looks excellent. I’m hoping I get down there to see Deborah Levy who taught me at art school but knowing me I’ve probably missed her already! Hope you enjoyed the break xx

    1. HELLO! Thank you for the comment Chloe and for the link love about Stan! Wasn’t he great on Sunday Brunch? Sooooo looking forward to next Friday! Need to reply to your email too. Half days at school this week so cramming the work in. x

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