Winston Gallery!

Everyone has a different favourite character from The Book of Learning, but Winston is proving rather popular – especially during our illustration demonstrations. If you’ve drawn a character from my book, I’d love to see it! You can send me a photo or post your drawing (everyone likes happy post!) to:  ER Murray, c/o Mercier Press Ltd, Unit 3b Oak House, Bessboro Rd, Blackrock, Cork, T12 D6CH

I’ll be demonstrating how to draw Winston in The Book of Learning House on Merrion Square (March 20th, part of the Big Day Out, St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin) so come along and join in! There’ll be real rats, a magician, writing and art workshops and more… and I’ll be there. Stop by and say hello!

In the meantime, here’s some of my ‘Winston Gallery’ drawings so far…

FullSizeRender (32) FullSizeRender (29) FullSizeRender (30)FullSizeRender (31)

IMG_4297 (1)

FullSizeRender (28) FullSizeRender (33)FullSizeRender (34)

(Photos taken during a Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read event in the National Library of Ireland)

Best Ever Reader Feedback!

Many people ask what it’s like to be an author, and I always say that the best bit is meeting the readers. Of course I adore the writing side; coming up with an idea, beating it into shape, then fine tuning it with the help on an editor or two. But once the book is in the public sphere, I also love the social side; literary festivals, interviews, radio, events in schools/libraries/bookshops.

Although it is also slightly terrifying, nothing beats getting feedback on your book. Whether it’s a review online (see goodreads and amazon) or it’s a person in front of you, telling you their thoughts about your book, meeting people that have enjoyed your work is an incredible feeling. And so, I thought I’d share some of the feedback… (keep going to see the video at the end!)

Bronagh

Huge thanks to Bronagh for adding me in her school magazine!

And huge thanks also to the girls and boys that filled out feedback sheets after the UNESCO Citywide Read events. Here are some of the comments I’ve received so far – they make me chuckle SO MUCH I had to share!

Question: Did you enjoy the event?

‘Yes, it was a very scary story and it was good to meet the author’.

‘Yes, it was very good. It was good to meet the author. Her book was awesome’.

‘Yes, it was funny’.

‘Yes, it was the best’.

‘Yes, it was a great book and I can’t wait to read the next one’.

‘Yes, I enjoyed today so much. We enjoyed it a lot and had fun. I hope we come again soon’.

‘Yes, it was fun. She was funny’.

‘Yes, she’s so kind and happy’.

‘Yes 🙂  She likes death’.

‘Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing. I love it sooooooo much’.

‘Yes!!!! 🙂 I think she’s funny because she likes death :-p . It was a great book!!’

‘Yep!! The Book of Learning is my favourite book! I can’t wait for the second one to come out!!!

‘Yes, for sure. I hope more will be coming from her soon’.

‘Yes, it was amazing. I can’t wait for the next books. It was so good, and it was spooky. She is really nice and funny’.

‘Yes I thought it was great, I learned a lot about writing. I am going to read the next one’.

‘Yes, I liked it, I’d say 10 out of 10’.

‘Yes, so much. It was good 10/10 and I hope that we do it again J’.

‘Yes, a lot. The ghost stories are creepy and really cool’.

‘Yeah it was great. I haven’t finished the book yet but it was great as far as I read. It was just so good and I’d say the next book will be even better’.

‘Yes!! I really liked the book and Elizabeth is really nice’.

‘Yes, I thought it was amazing and I was so sad when I heard that the second one isn’t out yet’.

‘Yes, I thought it was really good and interesting’.

‘Yes, I really enjoyed the book and the talk. She was nice’.

‘Yes, I liked it and mark it 10/10’.

‘Yes it was great. It was excellent to meet the author and her book was amazing’.

My favourite quote from a review:

“I loved this book so much that I made Lego figures of Zach and Ebony, and I don’t usually mix up my Lego figures! My mind was racing when I was reading this book, trying to piece together the clues, but I had to read to figure it out.” (Mia, aged 12)

And here’s a real treat – a surprise rat rap from Pied Piper of Hamlyn

 

 

 

Dublin UNESCO February Roundup

And so, the Citywide Read journey continues! There have been more amazing events, plenty of laughs, and a few surprises along the way…

IMG_4214Libraries visited in February were the National Library of Ireland, Ballyfermot, Inchicore, Coolock, Ballymun, Ringsend, Rathmines, and Pearse St. Author and illustrator Oisin McGann did an illustration workshop in the Hugh Lane Gallery based on The Book of Learning, and I heard that it was fabulous (not that I expected anything less). In addition, we had a lovely event in Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre where two groups of sodden children arrived through the doors on a wild, wet day, and listened to some readings of equally wild and windy sea scenes (thanks go to Ifty Finn for organising).

IMG_4296Our book trail and Illustration session in the National Library of Ireland also had a great turn out. Part of The Book of Learning is set in this iconic building, so we purposely scheduled the event out of hours so the kids could hear a piece read in the stunning Reading Room (they’d usually be too young). The idea worked; the tiny desks and vast, domed room created the perfect backdrop -so, huge thanks go to Brid O’Sullivan for making that happen! Amazingly, some of the attendees had been to a previous UNESCO Citywide Read event and wanted to come again! How lovely is that?

A few of the wonderful surprises I received this time include a massive group hug, a pitch perfect David Attenborough impression (I was asked what I’d like to be reincarnated as, and I chose Mr Attenborough, of course!) and some rat jokes.

Events you can still attend…

There are still a few events coming up in March, including an open event in Cabra Library (March 8th at 3.30pm) and a really special event as part of the Big Day Out St Patrick’s Festival on March 20th, when a Georgian building on Merrion Square will be transformed into 23 Mercury Lane from my book! Check out www.dublincityofliterature.ie for more details and I hope to see you there!

I’d like to leave you with a few extra photos…IMG_4216 FullSizeRender (26)

IMG_4297

 

 

 

 

Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read Launch

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of launching the Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read at the gorgeous National Library in Dublin – one of the city’s landmarks that feature in The Book of Learning.

I was joined by six faithful readers; Erica, Lucy, Matthew, Mia, Maia, and Abby. There was a photo shoot, a reading, and an interview for News2Day on RTE2, followed by much tea and cake. Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day…

Win a Limited Edition Copy of The Book of Learning

I have some very exciting news for readers in Ireland…

A few days ahead of publication day (Sept 2nd), you have the chance to win a special Limited Edition version of The Book of Learning over at Eason’s!

These Limited Edition covers are SILVER, they’re SHINY, and they’re just GORGEOUS (see below)!

To be in with a chance to win, read my blog post over on Eason’s and then answer the question – good luck everyone!

Limited Edition The Book of Learning by ER Murray Limited Edition The Book of Learning by E.R. Murray Limited Edition The Book of Learning Silver

An update – this is getting real!

E.R Murray - The Book of Learning

They’re real!

I’ve been a little slow updating this blog lately, and for that, I apologise. This debut author thing seems to be taking up rather a lot of time! As soon as I signed my first deal with Mercier Press, I knew the hard work would begin. And when I signed my second deal with Alma Books, I knew I’d just upped the stakes somewhat. But the truth is, it’s incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Yesterday, was the moment every aspiring author dreams of; I saw the first ever physical book with my name on it. Well, piles upon piles of them, if truth be told, as I signed several hundred to be unleashed on the world. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. Imagine… I’ve always loved books. They’ve been a part of my life forever, and now, there are some emblazoned with my name. It’s incredible, but I’m still soaking it all in.

The Book of Learning by E.R. Murray

Adding personal notes to review copies

Other little things that mean a lot are happening. Such as my first newspaper interview in The Southern Star. My first review from a 13 year old boy who loved the book. Congratulations from my neighbours in the village. Email requests and PMs asking where the book is available. Radio interviews are starting to roll in, and the review copies have left the building. I’ve got my launch lists underway and a little surprise for readers too (to be revealed shortly).

Meanwhile, I’m at my computer like clockwork, completing the edits for my next book (due out in March) and writing the second book of my trilogy. And all the while I’m pinching myself. Seriously – is this real?

This is what the five years of hard work has been for. And now, with review copies arriving on people’s doormats, and publication day (Sept 2nd) just around the corner, it’s about to get very real indeed. It is the most exciting yet most terrifying bit – hearing what people think. There’s no going back – it’s out there. Thankfully, I can bury my head in my future books and hope for the best.

For those of you aspiring to be in this position, remember – it’s a fine line between wanting a book deal and signing a book deal. You can be teetering on that line for a long time and it’s frustrating and terrifying and exciting all at once – but you have to just keep going. For what it’s worth, here’s a post I wrote on not giving up.