At an event at the Arts Council today, Irish author, Sarah Crossan was announced as fifth Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature. Sarah will hold the title from now until 2020. The announcement was made by President Michael D. Higgins.
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 Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Children’s Books Ireland, The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Poetry Ireland. The honour has been established to engage young people with high quality literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative life.
Sarah Crossan is a poet and novelist, best known for her books for young adults, including Apple and Rain and One, for which she has won several awards. Her theme as Laureate will be #WeAreThePoets, a two-year project inspiring young people to express themselves through poetry and verse. Sarah has a particular interest in working with marginalised communities. Under the #WeAreThePoets banner she will collaborate with a team of writers to deliver workshops, as well as a national event showcasing the young voices that have participated in her Laureate project.
Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council said:
“The Arts Council is incredibly proud to have established this unique and important honour. Since the appointment of our first Laureate na nÓg in 2010, children all across Ireland and around the world have benefited from the dynamism and commitment of these artists, who have already inspired new generations of readers, writers and illustrators. We are honoured that the widely celebrated author Sarah Crossan is our fifth Laureate na nÓg. A fearless and innovative writer, her work is truly breath-taking and her love of literature is simply infectious. Whether through verse or prose, Sarah is constantly breaking new ground in contemporary literature and we are excited to see how she applies her passion for the written and spoken word to this initiative.”
Speaking as new Laureate na nÓg, Sarah Crossan said;
“Being inaugurated as the new Laureate na nÓg was the proudest moment of my career. Over my two-year term I want to show young people that poetry is an art form that truly belongs to them and therefore bring verse into their daily lives -- to get them reading, writing and performing poems with passion and confidence. I will work with successful poets to bring verse alive, especially to those young people who may previously have felt art was not something they could own. I will create a social media campaign to involve as many young people from across the country as possible. I am beyond excited to work with CBI and The Arts Council on this project which will be entitled #WeAreThePoets.”
Sarah lived in Dublin until she was six-years-old when her family emigrated to the UK. After studying at The University of Warwick and The University of Cambridge, she worked as an English teacher for ten years, in both England and the United States, before becoming a full-time writer in 2012. Sarah’s novels The Weight of Water and Apple and Rain were shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CBI Book of the Year Award. In 2016, Sarah’s verse novel One won the CILIP Carnegie Medal and CBI Book of the Year Award as well as The Bookseller YA Book Prize, the CLiPPA Poetry Award, and many other awards.
Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said:
“The importance of introducing children to books and nurturing a love of reading at an early age simply cannot be overestimated. The Laureate na nÓg greatly strengthens the opportunity to engage young people across the whole of the island with high-quality children’s literature that will enrich their cultural and creative lives. Sarah Crossan is an inspired choice for the fifth all-island Children’s Laureate and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to be working with our cross-border partners to support her island-wide ambassadorial role.
In 2017 Sarah published We Come Apart, her first collaboration with Costa Children’s Book Award winner Brian Conaghan, which was also shortlisted for several awards. The same year, the Dutch translation of One, Een, won the Dioraphte Literature Prize and the German translation, Eins, received a double-shortlisting for the prestigious Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis.
Sarah’s latest novel for teenagers, Moonrise, has been shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award, the CBI Book of the Year Award, The Bookseller YA Book Prize and the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards DEPT51@Eason Teen/Young Adult Book of the Year 2017. Sarah was chosen to represent Ireland at the International Children’s Literature Hay Festival Aarhaus 2017, in Denmark.
Her short stories and poems have been included in several collections including Amnesty International’s Here I Stand. Sarah is also the author of the dystopian novels Breathe and Resist. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages and her debut, The Weight of Water, has been adapted for the stage four times.
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