Meet the Team

Simon Pollard

Simon has been working in primary education for almost 30 years and he understands the impact a love of reading has on children. He is passionate about families reading together and developing a community that talks about books and reading.

Simon is currently Headteacher of Carclaze Primary School and, with a lot of support from a great team, organises the St Austell Festival of Children’s Literature in his ‘spare’ time.

Favourite childhood book: Being read aloud to helps books stick in the mind and Simon has strong memories of teachers reading to him at school. He was very happy to give a list of these but was restrained and chose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the childhood favourite he returned to again and again.

Julie Sykes

Julie lives and breathes books. Some of her favourite memories are of visits to the library with her book loving mother who also made sure there was a book for every birthday and at Christmas. Julie believes that books have the power to change lives and should be freely available to every child. She was thrilled to be asked to join the team behind the St Austell Festival of Children’s Literature.

Julie has worked in hospitality, retail, factories and education before finding her home in publishing. Julie has been a published author for almost 30 years, writing for children of all ages including young adults.

Favourite childood book: Julie’s favourite childhood book is Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh. Carbonel is a magical story set in the real world but with talking cats, a flying broomstick, friendship and danger.

Heather Wright

Heather Wright is a former primary School teacher and school leader, with career highlights including leading her school in a ‘Year of Reading’, which won an Educate Award and was shortlisted for a TES Award. Heather’s influence in the education world was recognised in 2018 when she was listed in the top ten influential educators by TES. She now runs Reading Rocks, which shares the book love with Primary Schools through teacher book subscriptions, book-selling to schools and author events. She can also be found co-hosting The Teacher Squad Podcast!

Heather was part of the small founding team starting the festival in 2023. She has a vision for making reading rock for all children and the festival is a wonderful way to do this. At the festival, Heather will be found at the bookshop as festival bookseller, happily recommending books to families and managing all the author signing queues!

Favourite childhood book: Heather has a great photograph from the 1980s of her snuggled up with her mum reading to her. She was reading a copy of Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski, so she has chosen this as her childhood favourite.

Amy Enever

Amy describes herself as a book dragon as she loves nothing more than to immerse herself in a good story, and also has a personal hoard of book treasures in her very own library! She is a local primary school teacher and is known by her pupils as the Reading Queen, due to her passion for finding ‘the right book’ for the children, staff and parents that she works with.

Amy has always loved reading and is delighted to be a part of a festival that brings so much bookish joy to her home town.

Favourite childhood book: Amy was very cross when she was told she had to choose only one favourite book from childhood, but when gently encouraged she settled for Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, as the main character gave her name to Amy’s best friend, beloved cat and reading companion, Lyra.

Phil Webb

Phil is currently Chair of Restormel Arts which works to promote arts and music across Mid-Cornwall. Phil moved to Cornwall in 1991, leaving his post as Artistic Director of Malvern Fringe Festival, one of the largest fringe festivals in the West Midlands, to become Director of St Austell Arts Centre. In 1992 Phil initiated, developed and led Restormel Arts, an organisation promoting music, theatre, dance, film and literature in a variety of venues. This included a community project enabling young people to
collect stories from their grandparents in the clay villages, and then editing and producing an acclaimed oral history book ‘Tales From The White Mountains’.

As Project Manager of Cornwall Music Network between 2010 and 2020, Phil worked tirelessly to support musicians and performers across Cornwall and is now continuing this work with Restormel Arts.

Favourite childhood book: Phil has loved books and literature from an early age, growing up with classics like ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Winnie the Pooh’. His favourite childhood book is Frances Hodgson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’. This magical book is about the healing powers of nature, friendship, determination and perseverance.