Archive for the ‘Book Talk’ Category

Meath County Library,  in conjunction with Solstice Arts Centre is celebrating the Mary Lavin Season in this, the centenary year of Mary’s birth.

As part of the programme to bring the works of Lavin both to  new audiences and to the many readers who are re-visting the writer’s wonderful literary oeuvre , Meath County Library hosted an evening on the work of Mary Lavin the writer,  with Eileen Battersby as the guest speaker,  on Wednesday 14th November in Navan library.

Eileen Battersby is the author of Second Readings: From Beckett to Black Beauty as well as of Ordinary Lives : A Story of Two Dogs.  Eileen is literary correspondent with the Irish Times and a four- times winner of the National Arts Journalist of the Year Award.

The evening was introduced by Diarmuid Peavoy, son-in-law of Mary Lavin. He spoke about Lavin in the context of the familial relationship, her childhood in the United States and the family’s move to her maternal home of Athenry before the family settled in Bective.

Librarian Tom French followed by delivering a sensitve interpretation of  Lavin’s Let me Come Inland  Always.

Eileen Battersby addressed the capacity audience of Lavin devotees with a perspiacious exploration of Lavin the writer, her influences and her place in the pantheon of great Irish and international short story writers.  She was of the opinion that Mary Lavin’s greatest output was during the period of her widowhood. Comparisons were made with Joyce’s The Dead in the context of the style of her stories,  in particular the power of rhythm and repitition in both authors’ works.

Eileen Battersby went on to talk about The New Yorker magazine, the prestigious publisher of the fiction of great American writers such as F. Scott Fitgerald, Eudora Welty, John Updike and Peter Taylor, and how it was instrumental in getting Mary Lavin published and available to an international readership.

Eileen believes in the international importance of Mary Lavin’s work to the extent that she is convinced  it is now  time to consider commemorating  Lavin’s legacy by inaugurating an international story competition in her name.

 Writer Michael Harding will continue the celebration of the  Mary Lavin centenary  on Thursday 22nd November at 7.30 in Navan library . This contributor to the series  has published 3 novels and is a noted short-story writer and playwright.

Below in company with Eileen Battersby in Navan library are  Diarmuid Peavoy and Eoin Peavoy

Mary Lavin talk- Eileen Battersby

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Alexander Gordon Smith visited Dublin and Ashbourne Library for the Childen’s Book Festival on Monday  and it sounds like he had a great time!

Getting to go on tour is one of the best parts of being an author, and there are certain places that I absolutely love to visit as much as possible – Edinburgh, New York, and of course Dublin. The first time I visited Dublin was a couple of years ago, and I flew in on St Patrick’s Day. My first event was on the morning after, and out of two schools that were supposed to show up one came with half a class, and the other one didn’t show up at all, apparently because the teachers were off sick…

It was still a wonderful experience, and I’ve been looking forward to coming back ever since, so I jumped at the chance to be part of the spectacular CBI Children’s Book Festival! My event took place in Ashbourne Library, and this time I had a full house of truly awesome pupils. I talked about writing, reading, making scary masks to cure writer’s block, playing video games, exploring haunted houses, coming up with ideas, how anybody can be a writer and, last but not least, how writing is the best job in the world because you get to shoot cow pats with shotguns and call it research.

There were some brilliant questions and a signing too. It was fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for books and for writing, and there were definitely some future bestselling writers in the audience. Remember, just never give up on your dreams! I followed this with an event at Wesley College, which was great fun (even though I had to fit my talk into twenty minutes, speaking non-stop at roughly thirty words a second, which I think left a few people dazed and confused). Thanks to everyone who came to my events, and to the delightful Aoife Murray for looking after me!

The day wasn’t over yet! I enjoyed pizza and drinks (and cake!) with David Maybury and Juliette Saumande from Inis Magazine, and I got invited to the premiere of Frankenweenie, which was great! It summed up why I love this city so much – it’s always full of pleasant surprises, fun and friendly people, great food and drink (and cake!), and endless laughter. And that’s just what you need when you’re a horror author and you spend all day holed up writing about monsters, mayhem and murder…

Thanks to CBI for inviting me over, and to the amazing people of Dublin for making me feel so welcome. Hopefully I’ll see you all again soon!

Guest blog thanks to CBI


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Nobber Library’s Children’s Book Festival is over for another year.  According to Imelda, the branch librarian there, it was the best festival so far!  All author visits were totally different from each other.  “In a world where children have the best of everything I was really impressed with their attention, interaction and courtesy to all the authors.  More of the same next year, please”.

Imelda said that “all events were entertaining for the children and us so-called adults. No two ‘author sessions’ were alike whatsoever”. 

First session was with author David Donohue – “the children loved his totally different approach with words and he engaged them throughout the visit”.

The Wolfling's BiteSecond session was with author and illustrator  Oisin McGann  or was it Annie Graves??– “the children were enthralled by his visit and I loved his encouragement for children to keep reading”.  Imelda reported a number of new visitors to the library that evening.  It’s great to see the author visit translating into new library members and a renewed interest in reading for pleasure. 

Next came Paula Leyden – “her life experiences were fascinating for the children.  They asked loads of questions and were very interested”.  Paula’s first book, The Butterfly Heart won the Eilis Dillon award for a First Children’s Book at the CBI Book Awards

Debbie Thomas’ creative writing workshop lasted one and half hours.  “I thought it would be difficult to engage the children for this length of time, but they were totally engrossed with her.   When she entertained a table of boys for that period it speaks for itself”.  “Many of the class expressed an interest in reading her book “Dead Hairy” after the workshop.  dead hairy

“I’m sure the children from Nobber will be writing books in the future”.

Thanks to Imelda from Nobber Library for this great report.

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Week 3 of Children’s Book Festival 2012 began with a visit of author Alexander Gordon Smith to Ashbourne Library yesterday morning.  he was here to talk about The Fury, his latest series of books for children and teenagers.  Thanks to Faber and Children’s Books Ireland for assisting us with this event.
Solitary Escape from Furnace 2
Today sees local author/illustrator, Tatyana Feeney, in Athboy library talking about her gorgeous new picture book, Small Bunny’s blue blanket. It’s beautifully illustrated and a lovely book to share with the little ones in your life.

We’re very excited about the impending visit of  The 2 Steves (Skidmore and Barlow)to Meath libraries. They’re flying in from the UK on Wednesday night for 4 booked-out shows in Trim, Ashbourne and Oldcastle libraries.  Between them they’ve published over 150 books.  Their latest series, Action Dogs, is in the shops (and libraries) now.  They’ll be performing their iHero show which is a  lively and funny interactive literary game show based on their I Hero series.

It’s going to be a busy week!

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Comics writer, Alan Nolan, presented two 90 minute workshops last week in Oldcastle Library for Children’s Book Festival 2012.    Children from Ballinacree and Oldcastle were the lucky ones to head down to the library for this fun event.death by chocolate

Alan Nolan is a comics writer, graphic designer and artist.  He is the creator of The Big Break Detectives Casebook, a graphic novel for younger readers, and the Murder can be Fatal mysteries.

The illustration session was well structured and easy to follow and the children really enjoyed drawing the comic book characters.   Alan was very patient with the children and in return the children were very attentive.   Alan was well able to adapt to the level and abilities of all the young children.  There was a very positive response from both teachers and children.

Thanks to Anne in Oldcastle Library for the report
death by chocolate

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On Friday morning, the 6th of October, the library in Kells was filled to the brim with children eagerly awaiting the arrival of the author Nicola Pierce, writer of the book “Spirit of the Titanic”. The atmosphere was electric and snippets of conversation could be heard amongst the children, excitedly discussing the Titanic and the story behind the first “unsinkable” ship ever to be built.
Spirit of the Titanic

When Nicola arrived she had the children and staff captivated with her story of how she came to write her book. How she had a “Eureka” moment of deciding to write the main character as a ghost (Samuel Joseph) who witnessed first hand who was on board the ship, what happened to the families Joseph came to know, the staff who worked on board, the differences between first, second and third class.

Nicola told her story through pictures, photographs and personal effects. She made the story of the Titanic come alive in front of us, from the beginning of how it was built, the people who worked on it, the photograph of the ship taken off the coast of Ireland. How it looked so frail against the might of the ocean, compared to the way the boat seemed so majestic whilst at port.

The amount of facts that we all learned through Nicola about the Titanic, like how the fourth funnel did not work – it was really only for show. Also how the men on the crow’s nest did not have binoculars to use for looking out for icebergs, as they were locked away in a locker and the only man who had the key had been taken off the boat just before she sailed.

When Nicola had finished her talk, the reaction from the children was magical. All wanted to ask questions and find out more. It was amazing the amount of children who said they had a distant relative or knew someone who did who had been on the ship.

I would thoroughly recommend every one – from children to grandparents to read the book – it is a brilliant story based on a true story of a ship that was meant to be unsinkable. Nicola Pierce is a wonderful author and storyteller.

Report from Claudine in Kells Library

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Anthony-Horowitz-colour_jpg_595We’re very excited about the visit of Anthony Horowitz to Meath County Council Library Service.  As part of our annual Children’s Book Festival, Horowitz will visit Solstice Arts Centre on Friday October 12th at 10.30am.

Antonia’s Bookstore in Trim will have a pop-up bookstore there on the morning.  Anthony Horowitz will be signing books afterwards.

Anthony Horowitz is one of the UK And Ireland’s most popular contemporary children’s writers.  Both Alex Rider and The Power of Five are Number 1 Best-selling series.  His books have won numerous awards, including the Red House Children’s Book Award.  His Alex Rider books have sold over 13 million copies and have been translated into 28 languages.   He will be promoting his latest book, Oblivion.  This is the fifth, and final, book in The Power of Five series.oblivion anthony horowitz

There is very limited availability for this event.  Please phone Navan Library at 046 9021134 for bookings and more information.

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