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 laureateship is currently held by Eoin Colfer. Eoin is the third person to be awarded this unique honour and will hold the title from 2014 until 2016.
You can find out more information about Laureate na nÓg on the website http://childrenslaureate.ie/.
Once upon a Place
Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer launched Once upon A Place, a nationwide tour of storytelling, on Friday 10 October on the Hook Peninsula, County Wexford. The best-selling author of novels such as the Artemis Fowl series and Benny and Omar grew up near Hook Head and many of his stories were inspired by the area. 'I'm pleased to be able to start this new initiative on home ground,' Eoin said. 'My priority as Laureate na nÓg is to bring stories to children all over Ireland, particularly those in remote areas that might not normally receive visits from writers, so where better to start than in that magical place, the Hook?'
The Once upon A Place programme has three strands: the first brings stories to children all over Ireland, reaching places that might not normally be prioritised e.g. schools that are not part of a writers in schools scheme, remote communities that may not have had a visiting storyteller before, or youth/reading groups that may not have funding to access visiting artists. Eoin's second focus is on fantastic places: extraordinary settings in which to stage very special and memorable storytelling events to spark children's imaginations and bring the magic of story and of books to young people. You can follow the progress of the Once upon a Place Tour on the interactive map here: Once upon a Place Tour Map.
The third strand of the Once upon a Place programme is a specially-commissioned anthology of stories and poems for children which was published in November 2015. Compiled by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by award-winning artist and picturebook illustrator, P.J. Lynch, the anthology explores the special link between story and place in Ireland.
Once upon a Place features new poems and stories from many of Ireland's leading children's writers including Roddy Doyle, Derek Landy, Siobhán Parkinson, Jim Sheridan, Eoin Colfer himself, along with Pat Boran, Seamus Cashman, John Connolly, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Mark Granier, Paula Leyden, Oisín McGann, Geraldine Mills, Jane Mitchell, Kate Newmann, Sarah Webb and Enda Wyley.
Speaking about the anthology, Eoin said: 'This is my laureate project with a general aim of connecting today's screen-centric youngsters to the magic of the country they live in and its rich artistic heritage'.
It is published by Little Island and aimed at 9–12 year olds.
Copies are available to order via the publisher's website at www.littleisland.ie and can also be bought in bookshops nationwide. Any royalties from the book will go towards the Laureate na nÓg project.