Children’s Books

children’s book festival

clonmel-libraryOctober was a very busy month, with the Children’s Book Festival running in schools. libraries and bookshops all over Ireland.

It was a hectic time for me, starting with fifteen talks in five days spread across libraries in county Tipperary. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic young readers, and the hospitality from the librarians was wonderful – I certainly piled on the calories from all the cakes and buns I was offered!

The rest of the month was taken up with meeting readers in counties Clare, Galway, Kildare and Dublin, many of whom had been reading Friend or Foe as part of their schools’ 1916 centenary commemorations.

By the end of the month I had done thirty-nine talks and had an array of different throat tablets! It was tiring but also great fun. And now that I’ve had time to catch my breath again, all I can say is roll on next year…

Canadian launch of Arrivals

Just back from Canada where Arrivals was launched in the grounds of Lakefield College School, by Mary Smith, the Mayor of Lakefield. Also present in the photo are John Boyko, former Dean of History at the college, and Phyllis Williams, Chief of the Ojibwe at the Curve Lake Reserve.

It was exciting to have the launch in the very location where so much of Arrivals plays out, and an honour to have such important dignitaries present. The event was covered by the Lakefield Herald and What’s on in Peterborough, with television coverage on Chex TV’s popular evening show, Newswatch.

The launch was followed by a reading, a lively questions and answers session, and drinks on the deck of the boathouse. Even the weather was perfect, with a golden sun dipping below the horizon just as the event finished!

VISITING BLACKROCK COLLEGE

I gave a talk to Transition Year students in Blackrock College on writing historical fiction, drawing on themes from Friend or Foe and One Good Turn, with particular emphasis on the topic of looting during the 1916 Rising.

The students were engaged and had lots of questions, and I even had my picture taken beside the plaque to the infamous Ross O’Carroll-Kelly!Following in famous footsteps

Blackrock visit

Blackrock College Transition Year talk

Blackrock talk

 

 

Lucky Penny

Lucky Penny brochure imageGreat event last week in the Draiocht Theatre when The Lucky Penny booklet was launched, by the Deputy Mayor of Fingal.
This was the culmination of a project in which a scene from my 1916 book, Friend or Foe, was the starting point for children in three Dublin schools to write their own cartoon stories, assisted by professional cartoonist Alan Nolan.
The children were from Scoil Thomais, Castleknock, Scoil Mhuire, Blakestown, and Mary Mother of Hope NS, Littlepace, and their artwork will be on display in the Draiocht Gallery until July 1916.
Congrats to everyone involved, and particular thanks to Sarah O’Neill in Fingal Arts Office, and Sarah Beirne, Emer McGowan and Nicola Murphy in Draiocht.

Reflecting the Rising

Friend or Foe coverIt was exciting to take part in RTE’s mammoth commemoration project, RTE Reflecting the Rising, on Easter Monday (28th March 2016).

My talk, based on Friend or Foe, was given in the DIT on Aungier Street, which felt very appropriate,
in that this was the original site of the Jacob’s biscuit factory, one of the rebel strongholds during the Rising.

Other writers such as Marita Conlon McKenna and Patricia Murphy – who have also written books set in 1916 – were also in the DIT giving talks and there was great buzz around the college, and indeed around the whole city.