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)

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Dublin UNESCO January Roundup!

FullSizeRender (18)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:

  • IMG_4142Did 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?

IMG_4130Reading 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?

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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!

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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!

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…