Laureate na nÓg is an exciting project recognising the role and importance of literature for children. It is an initiative of the Arts Council with the support of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children's Books Ireland, Poetry Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The honour was established to engage young people with high quality children’s literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative lives.
In May 2016, author and illustrator PJ Lynch was announced as the new Laureate na nÓg by President Michael D. Higgins. PJ is the fourth person to be awarded this unique honour and will hold the title from 2016 until 2018. His theme as Laureate na nÓg will be The Big Picture and will include a regular podcast involving live drawing or demonstrating techniques, as well as guests who will talk about their drawing passions. He also plans to create a landmark image in a prominent place or places in Ireland as a permanent reminder of the power of pictures to incite the imagination.
You can find out more information about Laureate na nÓg on the website: www.childrenslaureate.ie
PJ Lynch was born in Belfast and became interested in art at an early age. He has worked as a children’s picturebook illustrator since leaving Brighton College of Art in England in 1984 and has illustrated over twenty books, including modern editions of classics such as Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
PJ has been awarded the Christopher Medal three times and he also won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal on two occasions, first for The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski and again for When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest. Lynch's first illustrated book was A Bag of Moonshine by Alan Garner, a collection of folklore tales from England and Wales, which was published in 1986 and which won the Mother Goose Award, given to the most exciting newcomer to British children's book illustration. Since then, folklore - traditional stories, legends, and fairy tales - have been a recurring subject of his work. Recent titles he has illustrated include Mysterious Traveller, Once upon a Place, which was compiled by previous Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer and The Boy who Fell off the Mayflower, which is the first book he has also written. It was shortlisted for numerous awards. In 2017, Patrick and the President, his collaboration with Ryan Tubridy about John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland, will be published.