The new Laureate na nÓg / Children’s Literature Laureate, illustrator and award-winning writer Niamh Sharkey made her first official visit to Northern Ireland on Saturday as part of the Belfast Book Festival.
The new Laureate na nÓg / Children’s Literature Laureate, illustrator and award-winning writer Niamh Sharkey made her first official visit to Northern Ireland on Saturday as part of the Belfast Book Festival. Also pictured is Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Hailie Weir who attended the event at which Niamh talked about her work and illustrations to an assembled group of young children, introducing them to some of her most famous characters from The Happy Huggle Monsters, a 52 episode pre-school series,
Meet Laureate na nÓg / Children’s Literature Laureate was a free event for children aged 3-7 years old at which Niamh talked about her work and illustrations to an assembled group of young children, introducing them to some of her most famous characters from The Happy Huggle Monsters, a 52 episode pre-school series, based on her book I’m a Happy Hugglewug developed in association with the Irish Film Board and currently in production with Oscar nominated Brown Bag Films, for Disney Worldwide and set to air in over 150 countries in 2013.
The Children’s Laureate is chosen in recognition of his or her internationally renowned body of high quality children's writing or illustration and the considerable positive impact they have had on readers as well as other writers and illustrators.
Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of the Arts Council Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the support of The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children's Books Ireland 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.
Nóirín McKinney director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: ‘We are delighted to have worked with our cross border partners to establish this all Ireland children’s ambassadorial role. The Children’s Laureate is the perfect vehicle for us to increase the recognition of the importance of Children’s literature, advocating the benefit of creativity among our young people.’
Belfast Book Festival Coordinator Hugh Odling-Smee said: 'The Belfast Book Festival was delighted to welcome Niamh Sharkey for her first official visit to Belfast. The delight on the children's faces while Niamh was with them, remind us of the sheer joy that books can bring to young and old. We're sure that Niamh will have a very successful time in office, and we recognise the role that the Laureate na nÓg plays in involving children in the magic of reading.'
Niamh Sharkey became Ireland’s second Laureate na nÓg when she was appointed in May this year. Her books have won numerous awards including the prestigious ‘Mother Goose Award for the Best New Illustrator’ and ‘The Bisto Book of the Year’ for her first two Picture Books; Tales of Wisdom and Wonder and The Gigantic Turnip. Her most recent picture book, On the Road with Mavis and Marge won the 2010 Junior Book of the Year award at The Irish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Bisto Book of the Year Awards.
Niamh’s books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Tales from Old Ireland was included in the International Board of Books for Young People Honour Book List in 2002. She has exhibited her artwork many times both in Ireland and abroad, including at The Illustration Cupboard (London), The Dylan Thomas Centre (Swansea), Seven Stories (Newcastle) and The Museum of American Illustration (New York). She is a member of Illustrators Ireland and twice she has created the image for the National Children’s Books Festival.