Children’s Writers take centre stage in Brussels
Building on the success of the launch of Brussels Platform 2012 programme of events, the Arts Council is delighted that, once again, two artists are this week travelling to Brussels to present their work.
On Friday 17th February, two of Northern Ireland’s best known children’s writers, Sheena Wilkinson and Garrett Carr will be reading a selection of their works at a lunchtime session in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in the city.
The Brussels Platform is the result of a collaboration between the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels. Launched in September 2011 and running until June 2012, musicians, writers, dancers, theatre practitioners and visual artists will have the opportunity to showcase their talents at a series of monthly events at the prestigious headquarters of the NI Executive. There they will perform to an international audience, including MEPs and the opinion formers amongst EU representatives in Brussels.
Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, commented, “I am delighted that the Brussels Platform was such a success in 2011 and that Northern Ireland’s artists are once again returning to the city to take part in this successful programme. The Arts Council has been working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels to support our artists as they set about forging international careers. The opportunity to showcase our exceptional talent in the headquarters of the European Union is a testament to the excellence of the arts currently on offer in Northern Ireland.”
Gerry Mulligan, Head of Office in Brussels, said, " We have been delighted with the response here to the initial Brussels Platform events, from both audiences and performers alike. Showcasing our up and coming talent in Brussels reinforces the region's international reputation as a centre of excellence in the visual and performing arts. These artists are great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and I look forward to hosting many more similar events here as part of the Brussels programme."
Sheena Wilkinson is an award winning author and teacher in a Belfast based school. After winning many awards for short fiction, Sheena published her first novel, Taking Flight, to widespread critical acclaim in 2010. It won two BISTO awards, The Honour Award for Fiction and the Children's Choice Award; it was also shortlisted for the Reading Association of Ireland Awards, and has achieved international recognition with a 2011 White Raven award, and a place on the 2012 iBbY Honour List. The sequel, Grounded, is forthcoming from Little Island. Commenting on the Brussels Platform, Sheena said, I'm really honoured to be included in the Brussels platform. My novel is very Belfast-based, but it's the kind of story that could happen anywhere, so it's wonderful to have the chance to take it to mainland Europe.”
Garrett Carr is author of the trilogy collection set, The Badness of Ballydog, Lost Dogs and Deep Deep Down. The Badness of Ballydog and Lost Dogs were both listed as 2010 reads of the year by the Irish Independent and The Times (UK). Garrett, said, “I look forward to meeting readers in Brussels. The background to my novels may be of interest to them. I like to think that my stories take the grand scale and some of the imagery of ancient Irish tales, the Ulster Cycle for example, and recasts them for the 21st Century. My work is set in the contemporary Northern Ireland but an alternative one, where monsters abound.”