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The Ideas Shop Hits Navan

Writer, Sarah Webb reports

On Thursday 13th October we arrived at the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan to be greeted by the lovely Maedhbh from the library services. After tucking into tea and toast in the café with fellow Ideas Shoppers, Judi Curtin and Oisin McGann, we all set up our props and waited for the 350 school children to take their seats.

They came from all over Meath, a lovely mix of schools. As we waited nervously backstage, they spilled into the front seats, grinning, and we sneaked a few peaks through the black curtains at their faces. Waiting backstage for an event to start is nerve wracking and I’m always jingling with nerves – will I be OK, will the audience laugh at the right places, will they ask any questions? On this occasion there was nothing at all to worry about, the Meath audience were completely engaged and watched and listened eagerly from the very beginning.

We each spoke first about growing up and what inspired us to be writers. We had a Memory Box on stage – a great big wooden box filled with all our memories. For me it was books I loved as a child, my tutu and ballet shoes and ballet fuzzy felt; for Judi one of her old dolls (very unloved as she pointed out!), old books and diaries; for Oisin an art kit, books, and his special memories of driving diggers and playing in building sites. Oisin lives in Meath and he was a big hit, especially with the boys!

Next we spoke a little about how we write a book – I talked about research and the role that plays in my work, and meeting the elephants in Dublin Zoo; Judi explained how a book is like a Russian Doll, full of different parts (or dolls) that all fit together to produce a story; and Oisin drew a very fab skeleton which he covered in clothes and explained how you add things to the ‘bones’ of a story, a bit like dressing the skeleton.

And finally we all talked about how books live on through our readers – YOU! Which was followed by a lively question and answer session and a super signing.

It was a real pleasure to meet so many fantastic young readers and thanks to CBI, and most especially Maedhbh and her team for organising the event so beautifully.

And look out for me, Judi and Oisin – we’ll be doing some more Ideas Shops very soon.

Sarah Webb XXX

http://www.askamygreen.com or http://www.sarahwebb.ie for more info

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