World Book Day

However, one positive of this latest lockdown, is that we were reminded of our book.

Yay! This year there is no need to rush to Tesco to buy a book-related costume. (Not for me, of course.) It is about simply enjoying books and sharing our love for the written word.

On that note, I have lots of love to share …

Sharon Dempsey’s Who Took Eden Mulligan? is out now. It is a fantastic read. If you enjoy crime fiction set in NI, then this one is for you.

Hear Sharon talk about the book here, on my YouTube channel.

I was really delighted that Sharon was my first guest.

Next week James Murphy joins me to chat about the Terror trilogy.

At the beginning of April, local science fiction and fantasy writer Jo Zebedee will be my guest.

I have a long list of people I want to invite over to the channel after that. Stay tuned!

It has brightened my days speaking with my awesome, talented peers about their work and about being a writer in NI.

Speaking of another awesome, talented peer … Claire Savage’s new book has recently been published. The Story Forest is a beautiful, magical read for younger people about the importance of libraries, and so much more.

She is doing a reading on Zoom on Saturday (6th March), so do contact Claire for the log-in details and listen along.

On a separate note, the proceeds of our anthology, Underneath the Tree are on their way to our chosen charities: Simon Community and World of Owls. A fantastic amount! We are over the moon with how much support the book received. True heart-warming.

I do associate World Book Day as being really special for children. They always enjoy the day, and I enjoyed listening to David Walliams give a school assembly as I painted the kitchen cupboards. My daughter’s teacher sent her the link. It was lovely to hear Walliams remind (parents and) children that there are other writers, not just him, and to read widely.

Speaking of my daughter, Martha is 9 years old, and when she was 8 (at the start of the first lockdown) she and I started a lockdown project of our own. We wrote poems on many themes, and in many forms.

I used exercises that I often use when I facilitate poetry workshops in schools. We developed a little half-made book and set it aside.

However, one positive of this latest lockdown, is that we were reminded of our book. Finished it. Martha illustrated it. We designed a cover. It turned out beautiful.

Although it was only ever intended to be a book between us, it ended up being so interactive that we decided that other children would gain a lot from owning a copy, and so we published it for the public.

It has space and inspiration for children to write their own poems. It has space for illustrations. Plus, we encourage and hope that children will colour in Martha’s pictures, and just get stuck in, making it a nice poetry/activity book.

We were delighted to be on The Ticket, Radio Ulster, last week speaking to Kathy Clugston about the book. A special moment indeed.

FUN POEMS FOR KIDS is available to buy here. Or, drop me a line if you would like a signed copy.

I have much more book news, but I think that is enough for now.

I just want to end by saying thank you to the Arts Council of NI for granting me an IERP award during a difficult time when much work for creatives is cancelled. It is an absolute lifeline.

Thank you, ACNI!

And thank you to everyone who loves books.

Happy World Book Day.