Took time out to do some arting around last week as there was great stuff to see, children’s books-wise. First stop was the lovely Upon the Wild Waves exhibition at The Long Room in Trinity. Curated by Pádraic Whyte, it draws on Trinity’s large collection of children’s books to bring us on a journey through myth and legend – Norse, Arthurian, Irish, as well as biblical and classical. It’s been up since October 2014 and runs till April, so you can still just about catch it, if you hurry. Alternatively see the link near the end of this blog.
The two images above are both versions of the same Irish legend – the Táin. One dates from the 12th century and the other from 2006.
It was a delight to see the work of so many masters of illustration in the cases, some featured above (roll over any image for more info/click for a closer look). Hagwitch made it into the exhibition because it features The Children of Lir legend. It is in good company, sharing a case with books by Marie Heaney/PJ Lynch, Malachy Doyle/Niamh Sharkey, and Siobhan Parkinson.
We headed to the Alliance Francaise that evening for talks about the art of the cartoon. It began with a really interesting overview of the history of Belgian cartooning given by Tine Anthoni of the Belgian Comic Strip Centre and ended with a lively discussion on how the art is practised in Ireland today.
On Saturday we went to Dun Laoghaire to attend the Mountains to Sea festival. The children’s lit programme was organised by Sarah Webb, and rather fabulous it was too. We caught two sessions. Trade Secrets: Insights from the Inner World of Writing, was a discussion with David Almond, his editor at Hodder, Anne McNeil, and his agent, Catherine Clarke, led by Elaina Ryan of CBI. I’m a big fan of David Almond’s writing (Skellig, My Name is Mina, Kit’s Wilderness) and hearing him read from his latest book, Song for Ella Grey, was a real treat. He reads his own work so wonderfully, and speaks about writing with huge clarity and a quiet passion.
Sam McBratney reads his work beautifully too – he read Guess How Much I love You for us, which was an unexpected treat. I’m not the only person who hit record on their phone! He was in conversation with Robert Dunbar and a relaxed funny illuminating chat it was. Best known world-wide as the author of the multi-million selling Guess How Much… Sam is well known here for many other works for children and young adults – The Chieftain’s Daughter and Mark Time amongst them – and it was fascinating to hear him discuss his career, his journey as writer, the inspiration behind his work.
You can take a VIRTUAL TOUR of the Upon the Wild Waves exhibition here: https://www.tcd.ie/Library/about/exhibitions/wild-waves/
You can read about David Almond and Trade Secrets: Insights from the Inner World of Writing here: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/so-you-want-to-write-for-children-an-author-editor-and-agent-offer-their-advice-1.2149833