The Befana Drama

Welcome to the home of fictional fabulousness and witch-dust of the most wondrous kind – The Befana Drama … a book every child aged 8-11 will wish to put on their Christmas list and which will bring a unique sparkle to every Christmas sack as the must-have book of the year.

The Befana Drama is a thrilling, magical adventure that sees the main character Bef travelling around the world as she tries to regain the hearts of Italian children and settle a few scores at the same time! It is full of exciting tuber-charged broomstick flights, wicked (and sometimes wonky) spells, intrigue and suspense of the highest order, fearsome foe and great giggles… not to mention the odd snowball fight. And why is this? Well, naturally, to decide which VIPB is going to have the right to deliver presents to children this year.

So what’s a VIPB, we hear you cry! Well, a VIPB is a Very Important Present Bringer. Many of you will know that Santa is one of these. Italian children will receive coal or candy from the Befana – an old witch who the Three Wise Men turned to for help in finding the baby Jesus. Unfortunately, her obsession with cleaning got in the way and she didn’t travel with them.

Well, in this book, Santa and the Befana have a bit of a falling out, to put it mildly. You see, the Befana believes that children truly love her and she is very proud of the fact that she has her own festival and her own postbox for children’s letters. In fact, her life is perfect until one day she learns that … HER FESTIVAL IS BEING DOWNSIZED AND HER POSTBOX SEALED UP!

candycaneIf this weren’t insult enough, she is told the reason for this is that her town and the rest of Italy are adopting Santa Claus as their VIPB! Well, this is certainly more than an old witch can bear and bear it she will not, especially as she once got engaged to Santa at a Very Important Present Bringers’ conference and agreed to split most of the present-bringing world with him!

As she steams like a pudding in a pressure cooker, she learns even worse news … Santa has, for some time now, been married to a Mrs Santa Claus (Capriccia) and their wedding photos even appeared in ‘Gello’ magazine! The Befana has, effectively, been jilted! Oh dear, that spells trouble and, in fact, bats are already flying out of the church by daytime … a very bad sign indeed!

As candy balls bounce down the street, the Befana fires up her broomstick with potatoes and horse manure and heads off to find the descendants of the Three Wise Men, who happen to be a boy band in Dubai. Having made sure they will help her, she makes a flying visit to Old Father Time and, with his help, becomes Bef leaving her life as an old, wart-ridden witch behind her to become someone who is pretty in a certain light – an ingenious disguise!

So what does the trendy and cool Bef get up to? How can Gaspar, Thaz and Mel help her? What part do Bernhardt Bürstenfrisür, Jeremiah Needlebaum, Natalia Lebedev, Rocky Candymeister and Lars Llangfjord play in her journey around the world, as she heads off in search of enough coal and candy to take over Santa’s deliveries?

All of these are very good questions, but there’s one that needs answering more than any other. How will a peeved and rejected old witch react when she meets Capriccia Claus and has to face the 5-storey pink monstrosity of a building that is Capriccia Claus’s Casa of Contentments?

Will Bef manage to win back the hearts of Italian children? Will she and the best reindeer whisperer the world has ever known take over Santa’s deliveries? Will Capriccia get her just desserts or will she and the very sly 81st elf foil Bef’s plan? Only the lucky young reader, or their parent reading the bedtime story will find out!

Independent Reviews of ‘The Befana Drama’

“Brilliant Book”
I have been reading this book along with my 9 year old daughter. Although she hasn’t been able to put it down so she has been reading it solo too. It is great, a great adventure and the mere mention of santa has my daughter all excited for christmas. It’s great value as it is a hefty book, a really good read!

Independent review from The Baby Website

Do your little ones love a book full of excitement, wonderment and with a little bit of a difference. ‘ The Befana Drama’ has just all that, it is the most unusual ‘witch book’ for Halloween 2013 which not only sprinkles witch dust of the most wondrous kind, but also throws in Christmassy magic for good measure. This intriguing story is definitely one the kids will love this Halloween, and even better it is also the perfect stocking filler this Christmas.

Independent review from Mummy Pages

An extremely enjoyable book that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a festive adventure. This stupendous story is exciting, thrilling, and fun to read with fantastic characters, beautifully described and carefully chosen. A wonderful storyline which keeps you intrigued right up to the last page. A must this Christmas for children aged 8+ (and young-at-heart minded adults).

Independent review from What’s Good To Do

“The Befana Drama is a wonderfully written children’s novel. Well thought out with great descriptions of all characters and the worlds they live in. The excitement never ends and although aimed at children 8+ adults will love it too. It is a fun and exciting read and a great book for Christmas. This story is magical and as our friend Bef would say is Favoloso!” David Savage, What’s Good To Do (Five gold stars 5/5)

Independent review from What’s Good to Do

“The Befana Drama is a wonderfully written children’s novel. Well thought out with great descriptions of all characters and the world’s they live in. The excitement never ends and although aimed at children 8+ adults will love it too. It is a fun and exciting read and a great book for Christmas. A great story that travels around the world taking in places such as Italy, Germany, Dubai, Iceland, Russia and USA meeting great characters that will grab hold and keep a tight grip on any child’s imagination.” (David Savage, Good Reads review).

Independent review from

My personal view on this book is excellent, a 5 star read for children, and adults like me who love the various holidays I celebrate, such as Halloween and Christmas! Make this your child’s Halloween and Christmas read for 2013 and you won’t be disappointed!

Independent review from

Befana Drama 2: Capriccia’s Conundrum


Befana Drama 2: Capriccia’s Conundrum is another adrenaline-filled, magical adventure for children aged 9+ featuring the wonderful Bef and her friends and foe, with some characters from Befana Drama 1 and some amazing additions to the character list! It has a dynamic that’s a little darker than Befana Drama 1, while still retaining touching moments and episodes of great humour.

Having saved her VIPB patch and brought ‘The Three Kings’ to her small town, Bef has never been so popular. In fact, she has so many fans she is opening her own theme park – Befland. Her friends Gaspar, Mel and Thaz (The Three Kings), Jeremiah Needlebaum, Marianna and the new mayor, Mr Passarella are all involved in the plans for its opening, which is only weeks away. However, Bernhardt Bürstenfrisür is out to ruin it.

Bernhardt finds the terribly vain Capriccia Claus working as a waitress in Hamburg (readers of Book 1 will be able to guess how she got there!) and tells her that her magnificent shoe collection, housed in her garish Casa of Contentments in Lapland, is being eaten away by moths and her clothes destined for a charity shop. She becomes so angry, she agrees to fly with Bernhardt to be trained in black magic by another of Bef’s enemies, a bad fairy called Fiery Tina.

Fiery Tina was once the head of the Florence branch of the fairies (as mentioned in Befana Drama 1), but she fell out with Bef in the 15th century and has never forgiven her. This is a truly demented fairy with an obsession for hopscotch and a crooked neck, as one of her ‘selfie’ spells once went wrong and left it set at a very strange angle. Nevertheless, this quixotic fairy is an expert at statuefication and claims she created all the famous statues in Florence, including that of ‘David’!

She trains the very dim and lazy Capriccia in the art of statuefication, so they can plan revenge on Bef, but then Bef’s enemies receive powerful knowledge. The 81st elf, now calling himself ‘Sly’, arrives in Bef’s village and discovers that Bef must never again call herself The Befana, or she will break her pact with Old Father Time and become an old, haggard witch again. He takes this powerful knowledge to Capriccia and Fiery Tina and Fiery Tina decides to create a conundrum to trap Bef and ruin her once and for all.

One by one, the evil plotters capture the things and people Bef loves most, turning them to stone and delivering a letter to Bef, as part of the conundrum, each time they do so, leaving her baffled as to what their real aim can be.

Meanwhile, in Lapland, the Northern Lights have turned to red – a sign in Lapp mythology that trouble is brewing. Lars takes action and consults the Rock of Erik the Enraged, which offers assistance, but which also leaves Lars puzzled.

To show resilience, Bef, Gaspar and another VIPB resolve to go ahead with the opening of Befland, but things do not go quite as planned, by some way! This is the start of a thrilling unravelling of the plot, which sees Lars trying to come to the rescue, with a little help from some friends and which has Sly becoming a lynch-pin who could tip things either in favour of Bef, or back in favour of her enemies.

Children will be enthralled in the final chapters and left wondering who will succeed and who will fail. With action set in Italy, Germany and Hollywood, the global dimension to this story is carried right through to the end.

In the final scenes, Capriccia demonstrates how evil she has become. The seeds are sown in Befana Drama 2 for a third book in the series, which is planned for 2015! Befana Drama 2 launches at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on March 22, 2014.

Creative Writing Workshops

On the back of the success of our author visits to schools, we have launched new Creative Writing Workshops for Key Stage 2 children. These can be delivered to schools in any part of the country and are dynamic full-day sessions that will provide pupils with enthusiasm for writing and reading, lots of fun and massive amounts of inspiration.

The Creative Writing Workshops take The Befana Drama as a reference point and are composed of elements including: Barmy Befana, Befana Blanks, Befana Bubbles, Befana Baddies & Buddies, Befana Basics and Befana Brilliance.

Skills such as plot and character development, use of adjectives, verbs and nouns, story construction and brainstorming, will be covered, while children will have lots of fun diving into the Brilliant Befana Bag!

The core cost of the day is a flat rate fee for schools in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Merseyside, with slightly higher charges for schools elsewhere, to cover travel expenses. Wherever possible, schools will be paired up during a visit so that they can share these additional costs.

Email for more details, or call 01253 891114.

Date Venue
24th February 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at Marus Bridge Primary School, Wigan.
25th February 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at Marus Bridge Primary School, Wigan.
26th February 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at Marus Bridge Primary School, Wigan.
27th February 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at Marus Bridge Primary School, Wigan.
28th February 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at Marus Bridge Primary School, Wigan.
3rd March 2014 Norbreck Primary School, Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire
4th March 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at St Cuthbert’s RC Primary in Wigan
5th March 2014 Creative Writing Workshop at Atherton St George’s CE School, Atherton, Manchester
6th March 2014 (AM) Creative Writing Workshop for Goodly Dale Primary School at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel, Bowness
6th March 2014 (PM) Creative Writing Workshop at Anchorsholme Primary School near Cleveleys, Lancashire.
7th March 2014 Creative Writing Workshops at St Cuthbert’s RC Primary in Wigan
3rd May 2014 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Family Fun Day – Book Signing at Dalegarth Station.
4th May 2014 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Family Fun Day – Book Signing at Dalegarth Station.

Student Feedback

“Our teachers invited Gianna Hartwright into school because they want everyone in school to read more books. I am telling you now it has got me reading more!”

“Meeting Jane Hunt made me feel happy on the outside and delighted on the inside. I would love to meet her again in the future.”

“We were extremely excited because we got to meet a real life author. It was extraordinary beyond my wildest dreams. Her book is phenomenal.”

“Wednesday was the best moment in my life because it made me become more excited about books.”

“The Befana Drama made me feel excited, pumped and ready for more.”

“I enjoyed Gianna Hartwrights visit because she inspired me to be an author when I am older.”

“I loved the visit and wish she could come to our school again.”

“Gianna made me feel like I had entered a new world. I hope she comes in again.”

“On Wednesday morning we met an astonishing author and she was amazing!”

“Gianna Hartwright came into our school to persuade us to read and I think it worked because I like reading now.”

“When Gianna came into school it was exciting because I have never met a children’s author before.”

“I loved the visit because we could ask Gianna questions about her book.”

“When Gianna Hartwright walked into the room my face lit up .She is an amazing author!”

“Gianna Hartwright came to our school because our teacher wants to try to encourage us to read every day – non stop! I think she has encouraged me to read a lot. I am going to read books every night.”

“I would like to thank the author for writing this amazing book.”

“The author visit was tremendously great.”

“When Gianna came into our class it was the best day of my whole life!”

“Gianna gave me some very helpful advice about how to write a book.”

“WOO HOO! Today I got to meet a REAL author! I was glad I met her because I want to be an author like her.”

“Gianna has definitely inspired me to read more books and enjoy writing.”

“Gianna Hartwright has become my favourite author.”

“Jane Hunt has given me inspiration to become a writer.”

“In my opinion, she is one of the best authors ever; her books are amazing.”

“I really liked it when Gianna read part of her book. She put expression in her voice when the characters were talking and it made me imagine the characters in detail.”

“I think Gianna Hartwright is one of the best authors around. Out of 10 I would give her the biggest 10 ever! 10!”

“After meeting Gianna I think I could be an author. When I get older I think I am actually going to write a book.”

“The Befana Drama is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!”

KS2 Befana Drama Education Pack

pdf_icon Download our 7-subject KS2 ‘Befana Drama Education Pack’

Author Visits

Our autumn and winter 2013 author visits to schools were hugely successful and we are carrying on with the programme, to allow more KS2 children to be inspired by The Befana Drama. Author visits are free-of-charge for most schools and, where possible, timed around events that enable us to not charge travel expenses. Pupils will be inspired by the story behind The Befana Drama, its plot and its future plans. Don’t miss out!

The Children’s Book Fair – Bologna (March 24-27 2014)

Gianna Hartwright will be taking The Befana Drama and its sequel, Capriccia’s Conundrum’, to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2014, where she will officially launch ‘Capriccia’s Conundrum.’ She will be on stand 25 B 84 and arranging meetings with literary agents, film agents and overseas publishers, discussing licensing rights to publish the books in countries beyond the UK and the possibility of turning the books into films. Whether you are an Italian publishing house, or a global movie company looking for the next big children’s movie, book your appointment by emailing

The Befana Drama Giro-Rama
Our exciting Befana Drama Giro-Rama book signing tour is heading around the country. We are adding dates and venues all the time, but the most up-to-date schedule is as below! If you wish to set up a date, please email

Date Venue
16th October 2013 Croftlands Infants & Junior School, Ulverston
26th October 2013 Hedgehog Bookshop, Penrith
29th October 2013 Dalegarth Station (Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway), near Boot
30th October 2013 Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside near Newby Bridge
31st October 2013 St George’s Shopping Centre, Preston
1st November 2013 Crossgates Shopping Centre, Leeds
2nd November 2013 Gulliver’s, Warrington
3rd November 2013 Kingfisher Shopping Centre, Redditch
9th November 2013 The Galleria Retail Outlet, Comet Way, Hatfield, Herts
10th November 2013 Dobbies, Hardwick Road, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
15th November 2013 Dobbies Christmas Grotto, Bayston Hill Nurseries, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
16th November 2013 Dobbies, Holmston, Ayr
17th November 2013 Dobbies, Houstoun Mains, Livingston, Scotland
18th November 2013 (AM) St Dunstan’s RC Primary School, Moston, Manchester
18th November 2013 (PM) Mount Carmel RC Primary School, Blackley, Manchester
23rd November 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies Garden Centre Braehead, Kings Inch Drive, Renfrew, Glasgow
24th November 2013 Dobbies Garden Centre Christmas Grotto, Monifieth, Dundee
25th November 2013 (AM) Rosebank Primary School, Dundee
25th November 2013 (AM) Blackness Primary School, Dundee
25th November 2013 (AM) Miil of Mains Primary School, Dundee
27th November 2013 (PM) St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Penwortham, Preston
28th & 29th November 2013 Dickensian Festival, Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, North Yorkshire
30th November 2013 Dobbies Christmas Grotto, Street House Farm, Ponteland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1st December 2013 Christmas Fair launch, Rheged near Penrith
2nd December 2013 Carleton St Hilda’s School, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire
3rd December 2013 Dobbies Atherstone, Warwickshire
4th December 2013 Dobbies Gailey, Staffordshire
5th December 2013 (PM) Breck Primary School, Poulton-le-Fylde
6th December 2013 Woodlea Junior School, Leyland
7th December 2013 Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Centre, Murton, County Durham
8th December 2013 ‘Christmas in The Quarter’, Bedford (in The Eagle Bookshop, Castle Road, Castle Quarter)
9th December 2013 Livingstone Lower School, Bedford, Bedfordshire
9th December 2013 Aspley Guise Lower School, Aspley Guise, Bedfordshire
9th December 2013 Sir John Rigby School, Bedford, Bedfordshire
10th December 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies, 1a Speke Hall Avenue, Liverpool
11th December 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies Chesterfield, Barlborough Links, Chesterfield, Derbs
12th December 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies Garden Centre, Benthams Way, Birkdale, Southport
13th December 2013 (PM) Hotwells Primary School, Hotwells, Bristol
14th December 2013 Dobbies Garden Centre, Shepton Mallet
16th December 2013 Dobbies Garden Centre Christmas Grotto, Orton Grange, Carlisle
17th December 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies Edinburgh, Lasswade, Midlothian
19th December 2013 Dobbies Garden Centre Christmas Grotto, Signet Park, Peterborough
21st December 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies Ashford, Eureka Leisure Park, Ashford, Kent
22nd December 2013 Christmas Grotto, Dobbies Milton Keynes, Watling Street, Milton Keynes
23rd December 2013 Dobbies Garden Centre Christmas Grotto, Blackpool Road, Clifton, Preston
3rd May 2014 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Family Fun Day at Dalegarth Station
4th May 2014 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Family Fun Day at Dalegarth Station

The Befana DramaYou can buy your copy & pay by card (£8.99 + £1.60 P&P, by emailing or calling 01253 891114 (evenings).

You can also buy from, your local bookshop or Amazon. The e-book is already available from some e-book retailers & will be with all by October 20.

ISBN: 9780957569768
RRP: £8.99

Local Bookshops

#befriendBef Silver Charm Bracelets


We have bespoke silver #befriendBef charm bracelets for girls & boys. Colours are navy, red, light blue, pink, yellow or green and they cost £18.50. If you would like to order one to be specially made, please call 01253 891114 (evenings) to order, or email


All other enquiries for book signings, attendance at events, competitions, reader offers and other promotional opportunities should be sent to: More information about The Befana Drama can be found at