Children’s Book’s Ireland Celebrates 20 Years!


Kate Di Camillo  & Marita Conlon-McKenna

Culture Night 2017 was such a balmy evening, that Dublin was packed with culture lovers of all ages keen to enjoy the events and to explore some of the great buildings that were open to the public.

I was one of the writers in the big glass shop window of ‘Dubray Books’ on Grafton Street  reading  for the charity ‘Aware’, to  the passing crowds all about. It was a bit strange at first standing there with a microphone that could be heard out on the busy street but we all soon got used to it.

I was delighted to meet one of my all- time favourite American authors Kate Di Camillo, who was also taking part and reading from her new book ‘Raymie Nightingale’.

Saturday was the annual Children’s Book’s Ireland Conference at The Lighthouse Cinema.  It is hard to believe that CBI is celebrating 20 years!!

It was a privilege to listen to the wonderful Lucy Cousins, creator of the much loved Maisie books talk about her work and even see some of her early childhood drawings.

Illustrators Chris Judge and Rob Biddulph chatted about the life of an illustrator as they showed us some of their work, followed by   Anna Carey and Lucy Adlington talking about writing history, and the importance of research and detail. Shane Hegarty , John Boyne and Cecelia Ahearne discussed the difference between writing for adults and children.

However the highlight for me was the wonderful Kate di Camillo, who talked about her childhood and growing up and the importance of learning to look at the world.

A reserved child, she discovered this after a trip in a glass bottom boat, when the old lady sitting beside her touched  her arm when she saw the silver swish of a big fish below them.  The shy, Kate looked down and seeing a turtle, told the stranger.

Oh my…This world.’ the old lady said.

‘Oh my…This world’….. One for all of us to remember…


Anna Carey, Marita Conlon-McKenna and Alan Nolan