It’s time to celebrate 30 years of ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree.’ It only seems like yesterday that I took out a pad and a pen and began to write a story for my daughter Mandy which was set during the dark days of Ireland’s Great Famine.’
After hearing about the discovery of three small skeletons from famine times buried under a hawthorn tree in a school field, images began to fill my head. So I began to write about three children -Eily, Michael and Peggy and their epic journey as they set off on a quest to find their grandaunts, across a famine ravaged land.
Thank you to all my readers here in Ireland and all across the world, both young and old, and to all the wonderful teachers who have introduced my work to their students.
Special thanks to all the librarians and libraries, and children’s book organisations who have year in year out supported my books and done so much to promote the joys of reading. Thank you to all schools, colleges and universities and book fairs and festivals that have made me so welcome over many years, in so many places.
Thanks to my agent, my translators, my talented illustrators Donald Teskey, Anne Yvonne Gilbertand PJ Lynch, and of course my publishers both here in Ireland and overseas and to all those who have adapted my work for use on stage, radio, and film. Huge credit is due to all the amazing booksellers, distributors and printers who bring books and readers together.
I will always be grateful to the wonderful team at O’Brien Press here in Ireland, my editor Ide Ni Laoghaire, and publisher Michael O’Brien for first reading and publishing ‘Under the HawthornTree’ and for being part of this very special journey.