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Creative righting

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One of the best things about running writing workshops is watching young imaginations slice through status, stick out their tongues at competition and kick privilege in the butt. In the last couple of months, I’ve worked with children in one of Ireland’s most expensive schools; a direct provision centre; a hospital, and libraries in different […]

Take Heart

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The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, May have been that his heart […]

Super-scribes

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Hooray for the heroes of Clondalkin! Once a week for the last four months I’ve been working with nine wonderful children in direct provision to write their ‘Handbook of Heroes.’ They’ve worked so hard, imagining themselves as superheroes, inventing superschools and superpets, writing about their real-life heroes and, best of all, deciding how they will be […]

Storyology

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If you’re ever stuck for a story, why not start with an ology? There are hundreds of these ‘subjects of study’ to choose from. Some are well-known: Biology Psychology Mythology. Some are less familiar but respectable enough: Conchology – the study of shells Pomology – fruit-growing Algology – algae (there once lived a family of […]

Kids Rule

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no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere                                                                                                                                                                                                                               is safer than here Warsan Shire’s ‘Home’ has become a kind of anthem for refugees fleeing war. But where to? The word ‘refugee’ comes […]

United nations

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Some hard things to do: Write a great story. Write a great story in a group. Write a great story in a group of strangers. Write a great story in a group of strangers who speak English as a second or even third language. Put them together and what do you get?  Misunderstanding      Argument Peer pressure         Power […]

Away with words

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  A feast of stories this weekend – and not a word in sight. The Silent Books exhibition has arrived in Ireland on the latest leg of its world tour. The gorgeous collection of more than 100 wordless picture books came together in 2012, when IBBY International set up a library on the Italian island of […]

Wonder-full

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  Great to be part of the One Book, One Tuam reading drive this week. Schoolchildren, parents and other locals, young and old, from (what some claim to be) the smallest city in the world, have all been reading a book chosen by Tuam librarians. Now in its eighth year, the annual project boosts literacy, builds […]

Beyond words

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A big cheer for Silent Books. This travelling exhibition of more than 100 wordless picture books from around the world has arrived in Ballyroan Library, South Dublin, for the first leg of a national tour. The exhibition is part of a project started in 2012 by iBbY (the International Board on Books for Young People) […]

Superseekers

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One of the highlights of my week is working with the children of asylum seekers at a direct provision centre. I won’t name it – not because of the bad press that so often surrounds direct provision – but to protect the anonymity of families and staff. In fact, while the system of direct provision […]