And so, the Dublin UNESCO Citywide Reading Campaign has begun! As an author, these past few weeks have proved to be a really exciting time, and as a debut author, I’m still pinching myself.
Up to now there has been a photo shoot in the National Library of Ireland, and events in seven Dublin City Public Libraries – Raheny, Donaghmede, Central Library, Charleville Mall, Walkinstown, Dolphins Barn, and Marino – as well as a visit to Scoil Chiarain Special Needs School in Glasnevin. The library staff have been warm, welcoming and supportive, and the response from both teachers and pupils has been incredibly positive. Jackie from UNESCO has been a godsend, making sure the packed schedule runs smoothly, and all in all, I’m feeling really grateful to everyone involved – especially the readers.
As The Book of Learning has only been out for a few months, usually when I do events, I’m introducing myself and hoping people might like my book as I read. Imagine how different it feels walking into a room with between 30 and 60 pupils at a time engrossed in the book and full of questions! That’s more than 400 readers up to now – and you should hear how smart their questions are! Here are some of my favourites so far:
- Did you ever nearly have a nervous breakdown writing a book?
- Who is your favourite baddie?
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
- If you could write a book with any other author, who would it be?
- If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you meet?
- If you had a Book of Learning, what do you think you would see?
Reading is so important to me, and being part of a campaign that encourages reading for fun is an absolute honour. So far, the atmosphere is exactly what I hoped for; a space where we can all celebrate books and reading. We talk about what the books and authors we love and why, and what reading means to us. We reveal a few secrets, explore ideas, share our passions and laugh plenty. There are quizzes, illustration demonstrations, and games thrown into the mix – it’s all about fun and looking at books and reading from a fresh perspective.
There are lots more events coming up over the next two months, including a book trail in the National Library of Ireland, an illustration workshop with the wonderful Oisin McGann in Hugh Lane Gallery, and a really special event as part of the Big Day Out St Patrick’s Festival in March. Check out www.dublincityofliterature.ie for more details!
I’d like to leave you with a couple of surprises that I wasn’t expecting. The first is the sighting of posters on Dublin Bus – don’t they look amazing?
And the second is the fantastic window display in Hodges Figgis Bookshop that blew me away. It’s every writer’s dream to see something like this!
I do hope to see you at some of the events over the coming months – remember to visit www.dublincityofliterature.ie for more details on what’s happening and how you can book your space. And don’t forget to come and say hi!