Blazing a Trail…Irish Women Who Changed the World

IMG_3928What an amazing launch in Dun Laoghaire’s Lexicon Library for Sarah Webb’s wonderful new book Blazing a Trail…Irish Women Who Changed The World.

Sarah and talented Illustrator Lauren O’Neill have shone a light on 28 amazing intelligent, hardworking, pioneering Irish women who have influenced people both at home here in Ireland and across the world.

In terms of design, Blazing a Trail is visually stunning and an exhibition of Lauren’s illustrations from the book is currently on display at the Lexicon.

Sarah has done a huge job in compiling, researching and finding out more about these incredible women some of whom I’m ashamed to admit I was not even aware of.

From Maureen O’Hara, Sybill Connolly, Eileen Grey, Nellie Cashman, Aleen Cust, the list I promise is truly varied and this is a book that deserves to be read by girls of all ages.

Ossian Smyth Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Librarian Marian Keyes helped to launch the book alongside O’Brien Press Editor Aoife Walsh.  There was a great surprise when a few members of Sarah’s talented young writers group, complete with wigs and costume, entertained us with dramatized scenes from the lives of three of these remarkable women.   What a brilliant night and what a brilliant book!

Listowel Writer’s Festival

I am just back from a trip to Kerry to the famous Listowel Writer’s Festival. It is one of Ireland’s most popular arts festivals and it is held in the home town of the renowned writer, playwright and raconteur John B Keane, with the Keane Family still involved.

 

Deh8GnkWsAABDBHThe sun was shining and The Listowel Arm’s Hotel was packed to the gills for the busy opening night celebrations and awards ceremony with writer Edna O’Brien receiving a life time achievement award for her work, and Paul Lynch winning the Kerry Group Fiction book of the year award for his novel ‘Grace’.

This year’s Children’s Programme had a sea theme inspired by the art work of Steve McCarthy, and Listowel Park and Community Centre were transformed by the work of local artists groups. DehA3zCXcAABQpm

I talked  to a big group of local schools and  later that day took part in  a very interesting  ‘Bold Girls’ event  chatting with authors Sarah Webb and Sheena Wilkinson about the women and girls in history and books and all around us that inspire and encourage us to be bold , brave and strong…

 

Bold Girls

What a perfect day to launch Bold Girls as across the world we celebrate International Women’s Day and the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage here in Ireland !

Bold Girls’ is the innovative new project by Children’s Books Ireland to celebrate and the representation of girls and women in children’s books, that have strong, intelligent female characters that appeal to all ages. The aim is to break down barriers and put girls front and centre

A ‘Bold Girls’ Reading Guide is part of the initiative and it includes a broad reading guide from picture books to teenage novels and also includes a  focus on twenty Irish female authors and illustrators of children’s books.  It was great to take part in a special ‘Bold Girls ‘school event  in Eason’s with authors and illustrators Sarah Crossan, Niamh Sharkey and Yasmeen Ismail  and the brilliant kids from St Mary’s School in Dorset Street with lots of stories and doodling  and face painting going on.

boldgirlsLater all the Bold Girls gathered in the amazing Long Room in the Old Library in Trinity College (The inspiration for the Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter films) for the official launch of Bold Girls.

There is also a small selection of children’s books by Irish female author’s part of the ‘Story Spinners display in the library which marks women’s role in writing and illustrating children’s literature over the century.  The books are part of Trinity’s wonderful Pollard Children’s Literature Collection of over 10,000.00 books.

Dr Norah Patten, faculty member of the International Space University officially launched ‘Bold Girls

With so many female writers and children’s book lovers gathered together it was always going to be a fun night with lots of stories!!

Well done to Jenny Murray and all the team in CBI for organising it all and putting the Reading Guide and the  Bold Girls  initiative together.IMG_1642.JPG