Irish language author Áine Ní Ghlinn was today (Wednesday 13 May) announced as the sixth Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s Children’s Literature Laureate. Áine is the first author who writes exclusively in Irish to be awarded the honour, and will hold the title from now until 2022.
Laureate na nÓg is an honour which was established in 2010 to engage young people with high quality literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative lives. It is an initiative of the Arts Council, administered by Children’s Books Ireland with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Poetry Ireland.
Áine Ní Ghlinn is a children’s writer and poet. She has written over thirty books, including poetry collections and an array of books and novels for children and teenagers. Her ambition as Laureate is to lift the cloak of invisibility from Irish language authors and books, and to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure as Gaeilge.
Prof. Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, said:
“Laureate na nÓg was established by the Arts Council to honour the very finest artists in the field of children’s literature, and our sixth Laureate na nÓg is absolutely such an artist. Áine Ní Ghlinn’s work is both fearless and beautiful, and her commitment to her craft and the written word is undeniable. Writing across every age group and genre, Áine Ní Ghlinn is one of our most talented and beloved artists, and the Council is proud to name her Laureate na nÓg.
“The position takes on an additional significance given the current crisis. Against that backdrop, I have no doubt that Áine will be a Laureate to inspire and lead children and young people through the power of writing.”
Speaking as new Laureate na nÓg, Áine Ní Ghlinn said:
“I am humbled and excited at being appointed Laureate na nÓg. It is the high point of my writing career and an incredible honour to be the first Irish language writer awarded the honour. As a central part of my Laureate term, I want to raise the profile of children’s literature as Gaeilge and to bring leabhair Ghaeilge do pháistí into the mainstream conversation. I want children, parents, grandparents, teachers to have the same access to high quality children’s literature as Gaeilge as they already have in English. Children deserve the opportunity to engage with Irish language literature for pleasure and not just as schoolwork.”
Áine is originally from County Tipperary. She worked for a number of years in RTÉ and Raidió na Gaeltachta, and now divides her time between writing, delivering creative writing workshops in schools around the country and part-time lecturing in Dublin City University. Her books have won the Gradam Reics Carló Book of the Year Award three times, most recently in 2019 for her novel Boscadán. In 2015, her YA novel Daideo won the Honour Award for Fiction at the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards, as well as the Literacy Association of Ireland Book of the Year.
John Edmund, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Chair, commented:
"The appointment of Áine Ní Ghlinn as Laureate na nÓg comes at a time when poetry and literature are more important than ever, offering solace for children (and their parents) during these uncertain days. Watching children respond to poetry on digital and social media during the current crisis has been a revelation, to which Áine's appointment will undoubtedly add another dimension. Áine will act as an ambassador for children's writing, inspiring a new generation of readers and writers to open themselves up to new stories, poems, concepts and ideas. Laureate na nÓg is a unique and important honour, one that will strengthen opportunities for young people across the island of Ireland to engage in high quality children's literature"
Áine is a former chair of the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards and is a strong advocate for Irish writers and illustrators. She has been engaged for many years in the wider children’s literature sector as a visible, vocal and measured champion of books that are written for children in the Irish language. Áine was selected as one of Children’s Books Ireland’s twenty BOLD GIRLS in 2018, a project celebrating strong girls and women in children’s literature and highlighting Irish women artists whose work is remarkable.
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