Beyond the Beyond


I’m not sure who was more excited about getting their books autographed the other night at the launch of Beyond the Stars; the punters or the authors and illustrators! Emma Brade, above front row, blue dress, found herself signing books too – she won the writing competition run for 8-16 year olds. The prize? Publication!

Beyond the Stars is a collection of short stories compiled by Sarah (the brave) Webb. Sarah and the folk at Harper Collins UK put twelve authors together with eleven illustrators (Oisin McGann illustrated his own story) and this book is the result. The stories are all set in winter and excellent for dark days under the duvet with a mug of hot cocoa. Best of all the proceeds go to Fighting Words, the creative writing centre here in Dublin. It is aimed at children and young adults and was set up by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love.

The launch featured a question and answer session introduced by Dave O’Callaghan and chaired by Elaina O’ Neill from CBI. Sarah was joined by Niamh Sharkey and Roddy Doyle, and they chatted about the stories, how it all came together (the term ‘herding cats’ was mentioned more than once), and the work done with children and teenagers at the Fighting Words centre.

Like all the other contributors I was anxious to get everyone’s signature on my copy of the book. As we all know each other well you’d think it wouldn’t be a big deal but we were all like, well, kids about it! I was rather star-struck getting Roddy Doyle’s sig, and then, guess what? He asked me (and everyone else) to sign his. Cool or what?

Here we are signing stacks of stock at Eason’s O’ Connell Street.

Afterwards we all went to the Gresham, had a few drinks and nibbles, and talked shop (as usual!)

Link to book: Beyond the Stars

Link to Fighting Words:

In the order in which they appear in the book the authors are: Roddy Doyle, Derek Landy, John Boyne, Judi Curtin, Eoin Colfer, Marita Conlon McKenna, Michel Scott, Gordon Snell, Celine Kiernan, Oisín McGann, Siobhán Parkinson, Emma Brade, and the illustrators are: Steve Simpson, Alan Clarke, Paul Howard, Chris Judge, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, PJ Lynch, Chris Haughton, Michael Emberley, Tatyana Feeny, Oisín McGann, Olwyn Whelan, Niamh Sharkey

On Friday, a sneak peek at our contributions to the book.



O! Ah! Aw!

Some random things which caught our eye while walking the streets of London…


O! Making friends with street furniture…


Ahhhh! Fierce gutters!


 Aw! Hugglemonsters on Oxford Street…

We checked the Disney store for our friend Niamh Sharkey’s character, Henry Hugglemonster (raaring away on the Disney Channel near you)

HC tree2A lovely bOOk tree at Harper Collins publishers, where we went to deliver illustrations for Beyond the Stars, a short story collection in aid of Fighting Words, coming out in the autumn


LOOkah, it’s crOOkah! Not the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but…