The Inevitable Electric Picnic Post




Children’s Books Ireland and our Laureate na nÓg went to Electric Picnic this year and they invited us along. Eoin Colfer’s laureate project is a fab new collection of short stories and poems, all set in Ireland and called Once Upon a Place. I was thrilled to be asked to contribute a story and excited to be invited along to Electric Picnic (Ireland’s biggest arts & music fest) to chat about it with a load of other contributors. PJ Lynch, Enda Wyley, Siobhán Parkinson (who edited/published), Patricia Forde, and Eoin Colfer, are all in the top photo, and Oisín McGann, Sarah Webb, myself, Roddy Doyle, and Patricia again, are in the second shot.

Two days equalled two morning gigs inside the Literary Stage tent. Meanwhile outside Michael and Steve McCarthy were busy running Monster Doodles…

Inbetween gigs ourselves and our friend and fellow author, Sarah (Sarah Webb, author of Amy Green, The Songbird Cafe Girls), were free to roam and people watch…

…check out the art installations…

…Michael and myself had our vows blessed by Elvis at the Electric Chapel, with Sarah as witness/photographer…

…oh, and we did catch a little music.

Once Upon a Place is due out in October 2015:

Click for info on Children’s Books Ireland and Laureate na nÓg

Towers and Tales



Monstrous poster for Towers and Tales © Niamh Sharkey

Fancy spending Saturday in a castle? Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, Ireland, to be exact. This Saturday (18/4/15) at the Towers and Tales Festival there is literally something literary for everyone. Loads of stuff for the little ones, the bigger ones, and and the teens, plus two sessions aimed at adults. Niamh Sharkey, Shane Hegarty, Darren Shan, Philip Ardagh, Chris Riddell, Sarah McIntyre, Sarah Webb, Brown Bag, all in this amazing venue for one day. I’m joining a panel discussion on ‘How to Get Published’ for adults and running an afternoon writing workshop for teens.

There’s a cafe, the CBI book doctors, animation, comic-making, monster doodling, mad hat-making, story-telling, an illustration exhibition….all in this fantastic setting, a castle not usually open to the public. Get booking and spend the whole day. You just need to do a wee bit of clicking to download the programme for full details…

A glimpse of the authors and illustrators taking part:
Top image Niamh Sharkey’s fab festival poster monster! Image of Lismore castle is grabbed from the festival site. These and photos of authors/illustrators (also grabbed from festival site) all © individual authors and illustrators and Lismore Castle.

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.