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My Secret Dragon launch

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A great evening of fun, cakes from the recipes at the back of the book and face-painting. Big thanks to the wonderful Little Island, Dubray Bookshop in Grafton Street and everyone who came for the laugh and launch of Mucking About and My Secret Dragon.

Light reading

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Just back from a magical three days full of all things children’s-booky at the biennial Congress of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People http://www.ibbyireland.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html) in Athens. Delegates from many of IBBY’s 76 member countries shared their love of children’s books that cross cultures, and a belief in the power of literature to […]

He’s such a dragon

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There’s a phrase you don’t hear often. In fact, have you ever? While writing My Secret Dragon, it struck me that only shes are described as dragons: shouty, scary female teachers, aunts, businesswomen, politicians, dentists and, worse luck, mothers. The flaming cheek (and nostrils) of it! Not only are males necessary for dragons to exist […]

My Secret Dragon

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Hello new book! My Secret Dragon has finally hatched after a two-year incubation. It began during a morning run when the words ‘My mother is part-dragon’ popped into my head. The story explores difference, and how people react to it, through the eyes of twelve-year-old Aidan who’s been homeschooled all his life to protect his […]

Hopefully ever after

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During school and library visits, I often ask children if stories should end happily ever after. There are always a few gleeful shakes of the head. After a bit of thought, though, most people agree that, however dire or messy or cliffhangy, there’s one feeling they do want leave with: hope, a glimmer of light, […]

A blast with the past

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‘History is not just something that happened long ago and far away. History happens to all of us all the time. Local history touches your life, the life of your family, your neighbourhood, your community.’             Thomas J. Noel, historian I used to hate history at school, with its dates […]

Hospital heroics

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Hooray for the heroes and heroines of Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin. For the last six months children and young people at the hospital school http://olhs.scoilnet.ie have been exploring what makes a hero. Is it muscles, wealth or smarts? Courage, kindness or enthusiasm? The result is this book in which they reinvent themselves as superheroes, dreaming […]

Once upon a goodnight

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  Like thousands of other mums around Ireland, I read a bedtime story to my daughter last night. Unlike thousands of other daughters being read to, she’s nineteen. I found a book we haven’t looked at together for twelve years. And it turned out to be not so much a book as a collection of […]

Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do

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                Wow. What would our beautiful, bullied planet say in a letter to humankind? According to second years at Borris Vocational School during a WorldWise Global Schools workshop on climate change: ‘Stop treating me like dirt.’ ‘What have I ever done to you? Look what you’re doing to […]

Rejection and connection

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Like most writers (I’m guessing) I love famous rejection stories. Last week saw the dismissal of a Nobel Prize winner’s book by 19 publishers. 12 wrote back rejecting Claude Simon’s 1962 novel ‘The Palace’, submitted under a pseudonym by a fan, and 7 didn’t reply. In 1984 Doris Lessing, another laureate-to-be writing under a synonym, […]