on graphic novels and comics

More on comics and their literacy uses elsewhere on the interweb this morning:

Chicken Spaghetti has a great post on new comics for younger readers - and mentions A year of Reading, a blog from two teachers in the US, devoting a week to graphic novels.

And Bookwitch has a sceptical look through at the DFC - I can’t wait to see the first issue.

Written by david. in: Comics, Reading, childrens books | Tags: , ,

2D Comics Festival 2008 | as a cheesy radio ad

Have you heard about the 2D Comics Festival yet?*

The what festival?
It’s a two day (Friday - Saturday) comic festival hosted by the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry.

Uh-huh. Comics.
Yeah, seriously. Comics. Who doesn’t love superheroes at some stage? And it is proving a great way to get younger male readers interested in books. In fact, Verbal Arts are running a special day of workshops as part of the festival just for schools.

Okay. So when is it again?
It runs from Friday June 6th till Saturday 7th. In the Verbal Arts Centre.

And is there anyone famous lined up?
Well. Now that you mention it. Alan Martin is going to be there. I think Rufus Dayglo, David Hine, Simon Furman and Mark Stafford are all going to be there too.

Right. I don’t recognize any of these names. Should I?
Too right you should. Head over to the 2D website and have a read. Then book your train ticket.

I think I will.
Good. You do that.


More about the 2D Comics Festival here. And in issue 14 of Verbal Magazine.

*Conversation may never have happened.

Written by david. in: Comics, books, illustrations, linkage | Tags: , ,

jet-powered bicycle

Anyone else tired of cycling? Get your hands (wheels?) onto a jet propulsion unit and the days of tiresome peddling are over. It could be yours for a mere $920 on eBay.

Can you tell that I really really want one of these?:

via Boing Boing.

Written by david. in: tech | Tags:

rice boy.

Following this recommendation:

Have you read Rice Boy? Well, WHY NOT!?

I’m reading Rice Boy at the minute. You should too.

Written by david. in: Comics, Reading | Tags: ,

breading a new generation

Are new book technology users just growing up?

A few weeks ago I put a computer illiterate five-year-old in front of a keyboard, mouse and monitor. She grasped how to use the operating system (Windows XP) the browser (Firefox) and the Internet (Google, Sesame Street, Nick Jr. and Dora The Explorer) in less than half an hour.

The experience got me thinking.

One of the largest reasons that e-books haven’t become a reality is due to our reluctance to let go of the book. Would gadget savvy young readers be more comfortable using an e-reader than the rest of us?

This isn’t as far fetched as it might sound. Disney, Fisher Price and Hasbro have all released mp3 players for children in the last year. The Fisher Price Kid-Tough FP3 Player is aimed at the youngest audience (3 – 6 year olds) and their online store sells audio books as well as music. While the Disney player is aimed at a 5 - 12 year olds but without the option to download music.

Is it such a leap to imagine a similar device with a large, colour screen* that reproduces picture books? [It could play the author reading the book at the same time through its mp3 player.]

If public libraries and schools supported ebooks then young readers would be encouraged to use them, and be more likely to using them as adults. Some, such as the New York Public Library has already begun to lend copies of ebooks – with certain copyright conditions.

Looking at the conclusions from the research in Bell State (dated 2004) Richard Bellaver concludes:

The children thoroughly enjoy playing and interacting with the eBooks. However, many of the children used the eBook for non-reading purposes because the content was not to their reading level. This was remedied by adding more content geared towards the younger reading level, but at the time of the interviews, that was not the case. The children did grasp the technology, and were able to learn the basic features of the eBook. Only one eBook of fifteen was damaged during the test.

Do you ever wish you see the future??

> Richard Bellaver - Bell State University

> New York Public Library

*One of the most ideal distribution outlets for ebooks is the iPod Touch and the iPhone through Apple’s iTunes.
Click for a better look >>>


post conference parley

One last mention of the CBI Annual Conference.

Congratulations again to Mags, Jenny and Tom for bringing so many interesting who-be-whats-its together. The conference was a great chance to catch up with old faces and meet some new ones. The speakers were engaging, interesting and thought provoking and the chat and debate with all of the delegates was equally as engaging.

Julia Eccleshare’s opening talk really got me thinking about approaches to writing, voice and where publishing is going. Other personal favourites included Polly Dunbar’s talk on being the illustrator Polly Dunbar and everything that it entails, Julie O’Callaghan’s look at different poetic voices, Tiina Nunnally’s descriptions of translating and the brilliant closing session with Tim Bowler passing the time with Robert Dunbar.

For more about the conference visit CBI’s website or click for the live-blogged entries of the day: Saturday. Sunday. And if the conference wasn’t quite enough for you - Kristen Wardetzky is talking tomorrow in Collins Barracks. Well worth the visit.

Written by david. in: childrens books | Tags: ,

CBI Annual Conference 2008 (Sunday - live blogging)

I’m a little groggy from the wine, the food and a late night Indian Jones screening (which was great despite it’s flaws). But the enthusiasm around the conference hasn’t slowed and everyone here is ready for another day of ideas, debate and discussion.

First up this morning (at half ten) is Kristen Wardetzky from the University of Arts in Berlin and Anne O’Gorman from Draíocht both talking about their projects in storytelling. But first I’m going to see if I can find anymore of that cake we had yesterday.

10.30 - Professor Wardetzky describes the work of a project based in multi-ethnic areas of Berlin. Storytellers tell fairytales once/twice a week to the classes to develop the children’s imagination and communicative channels. In the beginning of the project there was no indication that it would work - after the first few sessions the children became less interested - until after six weeks of perseverance the children began to enjoy the storytelling and the quiet (in the midst of school, work etc) that it allowed them.

One of the most surprising aspects of the project was that after 6 months the children, who couldn’t speak rudimentary German before, were starting to use complicated phrases and sayings. The children, who previously were disruptive, now listen patiently to one and other as they retell their own fairytales.

Parting shot: The use of regular, scheduled literary and oral storytelling in the classroom is one of the most successful methods to introduce children to national traditions, multicultural ideas and tolerance.

Anne O’Gorman introduces Draíocht and the growing junior literary programme that they are introducing to support schools. (Draíocht is based in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 - which has the same population as Cork City, with over 100 different nationalities and 28 schools. The levels of wealth in D15 varies hugely - with both high income and disadvantaged areas)

The projects introduce children to new vocabularies, ideas and helps to develop younger children’s approaches to reading later in school. Another large part of the project is moving from storytelling onto reading picture books - through reading outloud, bringing stories to life with objects and having the children writing their own books and stories.

Parting shot: The project is only as good as the practitioners and content involved and parents are much happier if they are only involved in a gentle way (in the room but not called upon to participate).

12.30 - Tiina Nunnally (introduced by Sinéad Mac Aodh from ILE) describes her early introduction to Finnish fairytales and the different communications she experienced as a child.

Tiina details her opinions of previous translations such classics as Hans Christian Anderson - the different approach by translators - such as changing texts to make them closer to current trends. It is not the job of a translator to rewrite the text or to add their own personality - but to act as an artist who recreates/breathes life into a text without removing the original tone.

She was invited to translate a new edition of Pippi Longstocking by Polly Nolan from Oxford University Press. To begin the project Tiina went back and reread the original swedish editions and challenged herself to reduce the formal and stuffiness that was a large element of previous translations. One of the difficulties that Tiina had was trying to maintain the original tone - after she had finished her own translation Tiina referenced previous translations but found that they were unreliable (one previous translation named Captain Longstocking the ‘King of the Cannibals’ which was never present in the original swedish).

There were interesting differences between the US and UK versions too: Pants became trousers, cookies became biscuits, vacations became holidays. The marketing of the editions differed considerably - with different covers for both the US and the UK.

Parting shot: My first responsibility is to the author - to represent them as correctly as possible. My second responsibility is to the reader who wants to read as fluid a text as possible.

Next up: 2 Minute Favourites - a chance for the audience to speak about their favourite book for 2 minutes. (Including: Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Marie Louise Fitzpatrick’s Izzy and Skunk, Sean Tan’s Arrival, Brian Keenan’s An Evil Cradling, James Gurney’s Dinotopia, Daljit Nagra’s Look we have coming to Dover, Kids Own Publishing’s This is the place I love best and I’m not just saying that, TS Eliot’s poem Gus the Theatre Cat, Seamus Cashman’s Something Beginning with P and Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising.

Off for lunch before Nina Christensen’s talk and then Tim Bowler in conversation with Robert Dunbar.

2.30 - Valerie Coughlan from IBBY Ireland introduces Nina Christensen’s talk: Voices from the North Contemporary Danish Children’s Literature.

A starting point for Danish children’s writing is Hans Christian Anderson. (Such as The Emperor’s New Clothes etc). From here the next large change came in the guise of progressive, ‘reform’, educators in 1930 onwards, who introduced new ideas for the approach to teaching and access to libraries. This attitude was expanded following further changes in 1964 when all libraries were to gather collections for children.

Today - many contemporary Danish children’s writers are influenced by Christian Anderson - specifally Bent Haller’s Me and the Devil and Anderson’s The Travelling Companion.

There are 681 libraries in Denmark, containing more nearly 8 million children’s books (with 500,000 added in 2006). At present budget restrictions in Denmark have seen a reduction in the number of libraries but continue to buy children’s writing.

What makes Danish literature of interest to readers outside Denmark? The variety of styles and languages (Jeff Matthews: Shawarmara), experimental visual books (Snakedog - a wordless book and all of the books by Dorte Karrabaek), experiments with genre (Children’s Encyklopedia, illustrated by Mads Berg), as well as the taboo subject of death that has been discussed in recent publications - The girl who had to Choose by Fupz Aakeson, The Childrens Undertaker by Dorte Karrebaek and Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch.

One large failing in Danish contemorary children’s writing has been the representations of minority groups - with the exceptions of Gunvor Bjerre and Mette-Kirstine Bak’s Super Pizza and Manu Sareen’s Iqbal Farooq. (Denmark has 337,000 compared to 100,000 of immigrants from non-western countries)

Parting shot: Nina Christensen is special editor of the July issue of BookBird with more on Danish children’s writing - order you copy here.

15.15 - Mags Walsh and Oisin McGann introduce Robert Dunbar - whose conversations are now available online - in conversation with Tim Bowler. My apologies to both Robert and Tim for not being able to type fast enough to get absolutely everything that they said. This short review doesn’t really do either of them justice:

Q: Tim is a full-time writer, living by the pen. You started writing at 5. What prompted that first story?
A: My mum is mental in many ways. When I was 5 she brought home a book - Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain - and read it aloud to me and it urged me to write my first story. She still has that story locked in a drawer somewhere in her house.

Q: You chose to study Swedish and Scandinavian studies - why?
A: Basically, I was good at foreign languages at GCSE level and won a scholarship to a summer school. I met a group of Scandinavian women there who were unfathomably beautiful. That was what spurred me on to study Swedish initially but I have since fallen in love with Scandinavian literature and still read many original texts.

Q: Your first book was ten years in the making.
A: It was my first book. I squeezed it into the routine I had and I could only work from 3am until 5am. Writing takes a huge amount of emotional and physical investment - but that is what it takes. Sometimes you have to go the distance.

Q: Tim doesn’t have a shed, but an old stone, outhouse. What goes on in there?
A: I write there. My wife worked as a teacher until three years ago and she used to leave the house at 8 in the morning. I need isolation, seclusion and silence and that disappeared when Rachel retired. So now I’m renting a little outhouse from someone nearby who knows what I’m doing and is happy to leave me alone.

Q: Your characters are nearly all young men between 14 and 15. In terms of vocabulary, two words appear often to me - they are vulnerable, dream(ing)(ers).
A: It’s not something that I’m conscious of when I am writing but you are right. Vulnerable and dreaming are only two aspects though. Courage is another. People between 14 and 16 experience more changes - emotionally, physically and more - and that is a great challenge to write.

Q: You said in your Carnegie acceptance speech (11 years ago) that the written word has nothing to fear from technology. Are still as confident about that?
A: Yes, I think so. I got into trouble with that speech. I mentioned musical art and visual art standing alongside the written word too but I still don’t think that the written word has anything to fear.

Q: You also said in the speech that our job as writers, publishers, librarians etc. is not to preach but to reach. Do you feel that in Britain we have gotten to a point where there are no more areas to reach?
A: There are areas I won’t go to. Because I can’t go there, such as paedophelia. When I said that I didn’t mean that we should thrust horrible stuff in front of readers. Young readers are intellectually more capable than we give them credit for.

Q: In relation to the areas you won’t go. What about the language that you use? As far as I know - you have never used the most popular of all the four letter words.
A: There is a kind of wimp in me when I am writing and sometimes I am thinking commercially but I believe if you don’t have to have it, then don’t put it in.

Q: You have a personal message at the beginning of the Blade series, writing that you despise knives. Yet these are a huge element of your body of work.
A: I have a large fear of knives. Although it’s true that 80% of knife crime is committed by people aged 12 -20 that is very much a spun statement: 95 percent of all people are non-violent and it paints young people badly.

Q: One of the interesting elements of Blade is the safehouse/snug. Blade reads some of the books that are around - including Treasure Island.
A: He’s not some thug, but I didn’t know he was going to be a reader. He’s smart - if he took an IQ test it’d be through the roof.

Robert’s closing: Your forthcoming novel, Bloodchild, is a book I have read twice in a mere two weeks. It made such an impression that I had to go back and read it again to make sure that I got everything from it. I couldn’t recommend it any higher for a summer read.

That’s it - the end of the 2008 CBI conference. Congratulations to Mags, Jenny and Tom for putting together an engaging and interesting weekend. Many thanks to all of the speakers and to everyone I got to meet during the course of things.

Written by david. in: childrens books | Tags:

CBI Annual Conference 2008 (Saturday - live blogging)

Hello from the CBI Annual Conference in Pearse Street Library (Dublin). It’s only half nine and everyone is registering in the lobby (which has been transformed into a dedicated, and huge, children’s books store - courtesy of John from IES) The lobby also plays host to a great big Polly Dunbar cake - yum!

Just had a rummage through the goodie-bag - its crammed full of books (Tim Bowler, Marcus Chown, Laura Owen) as well as postcards, bookmarks, DVD’s, information, brochures and more…

10 - Julia Eccleshare is on the podium first discussing the responsibilities of writing for children and the changing voices in writing. The advancement of action-fantasy novels for boys following the surge of books directed to girls - is it time to stop sexism in children’s books?

Why are publishers printing such long books? Julia calls publishers lemmings - following JK Rowling/Bloomsbury in publishing huge books and wants to see some shorter novels/novellas.

On voice: How do we know that adult books based on childhood (Atonement) are written for adults and not children?

(Julia’s talk was crammed full of information, her views on writing and on where she would like children’s books to go. She’s going to steal my laptop later and blog herself - looking forward to reading that!)

11 - Polly Dunbar

Polly started drawing cartoons with her friends in the middle of her GCSE exams and started working in children’s books after her degree.

Polly sketches each of her characters over and over and over until she can draw them in detail without thinking - “it helps me to focus on the emotion of the character and not think about drawing them”.

On My Dad’s a Bird Man: I didn’t have to draw them over and over again because David Almond’s characters were there from the beginning. (She’s working on a new book written by David at the minute! Huzzah!)

On Penguin: The idea came from a penguin toy that her brother gave her. This was the first book that Polly said was ‘just there and was really lovely to write.’

Right, off to eat some Tilly themed cake. (see pic)

12 - Next up is Laoise Ní Chomraí talking about her experiences in Japan and writing Ag Taisteal le Tarlach. Laoise published the book this year, introducing readers to Japan - she taught english in Japan, Poland, Australia and New Zealand which gave her the springboard for the book.

Ag Taisteal le Tarlach describes all aspects of Japanese life and culture - sports, (Sumo, Kyudo, Aikido etc.), clothes, (Kimono, Tabi, Zori etc.), festivals (Hina Matsuri) and much more!

Laoise brought paper for everyone to build origami cups and hats (expertly recreated by Laoise - not so expertly recreated by me) In the Q&A afterward, Laoise describes her surprise about how few children in Japan read books - predominantly they read manga, use the web or watch television.

Visit for more.

Off for lunch now!

2.30 - Julie O’Callaghan is an American poet living in Ireland. She has an amazing publication history (see more here). Jane O’Hanlon, in her introduction, recognises that Julie is one of the rare breed of poets writing for a teenage audience.

Julie looks at the differences in voice in poetry such the man in James Berry’s poem England voice.

Looking at the voice in her own work Julie admits that she doesn’t write specifically for children. She uses the same voice in all of her work and it is her husband - Dennis O’Driscoll - who later categorises them into Adult, Children or Garbage.

3.30 - Enda Wiley and Mary Finn are talking about their books (The Silver Notebook and Anila’s Journey)

Enda has written poetry for adults and agrees with Julie O’Callaghan: she doesn’t think there should be a difference in how a writer approaches adult or children’s writing. She relies a lot on her memory when she is writing - in fact she got a silver notebook when she was eight, about the same as Timothy in her book.

Mary is describing the pit-falls that she encountered when she began writing her historical fiction (based in Calcutta). When she began her research she couldn’t shake two images (One: a teenage girl in a dark room arguing with a man surrounded by stuffed birds. And the other was an image of a young girl sitting on the roof of a house in India, waiting for her Irish father to come home). She traveled to Calcutta for the first time after she had started the book to check details and to learn more about the city.

That’s it for today. Off to the National Print Museum for a reception and the presentation of the CBI award. Later: Congratulations to Celia Keenan on winning the 2008 CBI Award.

I’m off to see the new Indy movie - Huzzah! Back tomorrow for the rest of the conference.

Written by david. in: childrens books | Tags:

something beginning with ‘P’

Last night saw the (re?)launch of O’Brien Press’ award winning and successful poetry anthology Something Beginning with P.

Click on the image for a better look >>>

The new paperback edition follows the original four years later with no changes to the text - it is still edited by Seamus Cashman and it still brings some of Ireland’s best poets together alongside the artwork of Alan Clarke, Corrina Askin and Emma Page.

The poems move from funny to sad, poignant, mythological and farcical but each one of them is brought to life by the imaginative and fantastic illustrations that appear on every page. I couldn’t recommend a better anthology of Irish poetry for children.


Bisto Book of the Year 2008

In a packed, salubrious room on Dublin’s Kildare Street Children’s Books Ireland brought together all the who-be-whatsits to announce the winners of the 2008 awards.

There were enthusiastic speeches from Seamus Cashman (chairman of CBI’s board), Bisto (aka Premier Foods) and David Norris warned everyone about the dangers of wearing high-heels when accepting awards. And then Keith O’Sullivan (the chief judge) got down to business. All of the shortlist were presented with a certificate but not all of the shortlisted writers were able to make it - Oliver Jeffers sent in his doppleganger Sarah Webb, Siobhan Dowd was represented by her husband Geoff Morgan and David Fickling and CBI’s Tom Donegan did his best to impersonate FE Higgins.

The three honour awards were presented to: Oliver Jeffers, Roddy Doyle and FE Higgins.

The Eilís Dillon Award was presented to Tom Kelly for The thing with Finn.

And the Bisto Book of the Year Award went to: Siobhan Dowd’s The London Eye Mystery. Geoff Morgan and David Fickling accepted the award on Siobhan’s behalf and David gave a bar of ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy‘ in his acceptance speech. Brilliant!

Congratulations to all the shortlisted books and winners.

> Click here for more on the awards shortlist.

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books | Tags: ,

Rory Root.

I’m sorry I never got to meet Rory Root. He sounds amazing - and judging by all of the notes appearing around the web he worked hard to push comic and graphic novels, in both sales and recognition.

The personal encounters from those who had met him are testament to how important he was: PII, Tom, Warren Ellis, Brian Hibbs, Neil Gaiman, Mark Evanier and dozens more on the Comic Relief dedicated pages.

Comic Relief is open and looks like it will keep going under the same ideals that RR instilled.

Written by david. in: Comics | Tags:

linkage | things I like

> The Poetry Ireland Bookstore is up and running. Some of the best new poetry titles, including Harry Clifton’s new book, at really decent prices. Go on - splash out.

> Andrea Deakin‘s brilliant online newsletter is, ehm, online. (Via AchockaBlog)

> Grammatical correctness. Who could say no to such a move?

> Font Vader. (Made entirely out of Sans Serif fonts!?) Huzzah! (Via Boing Boing)

> Are these the greatest looking libraries in the world? (Via Deputy Dog)



I don’t talk much politics really. But Darren has two great posts on the upcoming EU Reform Treaty referendum in Ireland. At the minute he is voting no, but for a reason that I can support: He is voting no because he believes the electorate is ill-informed about what they are voting on.

The comments on Lisbon and Me make for interesting reading too - including something I entirely agree with from Elly:

…if people can’t understand the issues or haven’t the time to research what this is about, then they shouldn’t vote. Same applies for all elections and referenda as far as I’m concerned.

I can’t recommend these two posts enough.

(I used to work for the Commission office in Dublin and saw/read first-hand how the current constitutional system in Brussels is constricting an expanding Europe. It’ll be a yes from me).

Written by david. in: politics | Tags: ,


After a short, month-long, break Ill Repute is back.

(Also: what does this post mean? I’m very confused)

Written by david. in: Reading | Tags: ,

Patrick Ness | Knife of Never Letting Go

I just let go of Patrick Ness‘ new book and have been struggling to find a name for it. Bookwitch helped me with her post on ‘journey books’ last week - books that go from A to B. Knife of Never Letting Go is a journey book. It is a mammoth, emotive, thrill of a journey book. Ness’ own description of the book is that ‘it is like reading Philip Pullman while simultaneously falling off a cliff.’

Todd Hewitt was born on New World. He can hear the thoughts of everyone in his village. And they can hear his. But not everything is right in his town. Twenty years before he was born settlers journeyed to New World, leaving their lives of technology and violence to rebuild a simpler world. Life on New World is full of secrets and Todd is about to start discovering the truth.

The most interesting part about Knife of Never Letting Go is the narrating voice. Todd can’t read so he creates his own spelling, and his own words at times. Mixed with the cross over thoughts of the things and people around him, including Manchee his dog, Todd’s story is pieced together and his racing voice keeps you hooked throughout.

If I had to find one criticism with the book it would be the ending. Knife of Never Letting Go is the first of a planned trilogy but it doesn’t sit as a stand alone book. The cliffhanger at the end left me eager for more, but annoyed for not getting any real closure to the first part of the story. But that’s only a half-criticism because it is too good to complain!!

Perfect for a strong 11+ reader.

Things you didn’t know about Patrick Ness: He has a tattoo of a rhinoceros.

Written by david. in: Reading, Review, childrens books |

Bisto Book of the Year Awards

Finally - I’m nearly finished reading the Bisto Book of the Year shortlist. Well, most of it, my Irish isn’t strong enough really to judge Caitriona Nic Sheain and Andrew Whitson’s Gaiscioch na Beilte Uaine. Has anyone read it? I’m curious to know what they thought.

The omissions from the list this year are curious - Wyley, Landy and Brendan O’Brien - Sarah Webb has noticed too. The quality and range of the shortlist is pretty mixed and it was easy to pull out a few personal favourites from the pack. I haven’t quite chosen my winner but I’ve come up with two I really like - but we’ll have to wait until 22 May for the prize to be announced.

I’m coming to the end of Wilderness now - p 125: “The boys laughed. The sled was groaning and moving again, slowly. The snowmobile lights were with them for a while, and they could see in front of them, the trees and the path through them, and Kalle’s huge shadow, and even the point of Kalle’s hat.”

The Alychemyst - Michael Scott (3/5)
The Black Book of Secrets - FE Higgins (3/5)
Discover Art - Jessica O’Donnell (3/5)
Gaiscioch na Beilte Uaine - Caitriona Nic Sheain agus Andrew Whitson
The Last of the High Kings - Kate Thompson (2/5)
The London Eye Mystery - Siobhan Dowd (5/5)
The Thing with Finn - Tom Kelly (4/5)
Titanic 2020 - Colin Bateman (3/5)
The Way Back Home - Oliver Jeffers (4/5)
Wilderness - Roddy Doyle (5/5)

Best of luck to everyone on Thursday 22.

> Click here for details on the winners.

Written by david. in: awards, childrens books |

welcome back | achockablog

After some technical glitches, Achockablog is back.

With a nice link to some more of Roberto Innocenti’s illustrations.

Written by david. in: illustrations |

on selling poetry

Following Darragh Doyle’s post about Pat Ingoldsby and the question:

How can the online community support our artists and poets more?

The most important way for the online community to help poets and artists is to buy their work.

Unfortunately, poetry books don’t sell and any drop in poetry sales is a big deal. Poets don’t write and produce books expecting a windfall from sales; but publishing is a numbers game. For publishers’ continued survival they have to turn some profit, no matter how small. And that profit relies on the continued support of readers.

Poetry Ireland is the national organisation, set-up to support poets and promote poetry across the country. As part of that remit it is working to promote the sale of poetry.

They are just about to launch an online bookstore – offering readers a chance to get some great books at low prices, direct from the publishers. The list of books offered is being finalised, and will include the recent winner of the Irish Times Poetry Now Award Secular Eden: Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 by Harry Clifton (Wake Forest University Press).

Visit for more. (Cross post from here)

Written by david. in: Publising, Reading, bookshops, poetry | Tags: , , ,

obessive blogger | The Winding Stair

The Winding Stair bookshop used to be the home for all things bohemian - with a bookshop that seemed to stretch right up into the clouds (at the top was a sticky-tabled literary restaurant that made the whole trip worthwhile). Now it’s back and packing a punch.

The creaky stairs and multiple floors are gone, replaced by a Michelin rated gastro-restaurant. But the ground floor has been kept on as an independent and eclectic bookstore. The most appealing feature about the store is the unexpected - you are never quite sure what you will find on the next shelf. (The children’s books shelves are stuffed with some good titles but there is limited space and as a result, limited stock.)

The Winding Stair has kept it’s old-worldy, bohemian atmosphere - something that is lost in the new Chapters store - and it is hard to resist the urge not to just spend hours idly sifting through the hundreds of books. The appeal of the store is bolstered by its staff - who are not only friendly but know more than just a thing or two about books and writers. (Just don’t drop in at half 7 in the evening and keep Regan waiting for his tea. You won’t like him when he’s hungry.)

The shop is closed on Mondays but is open Tuesday - Sunday from 12pm till 5.

Previous posts:

obsessive blogger | Chapters
obsessive blogger | Books Upstairs, College Green
obsessive blogger | Hodges Figgis, Dawson St.
obsessive blogger | Reads of Nassau Street
obsessive blogger | Bookshop Map

About obsessive blogger |

Written by david. in: bookshops | Tags: ,

doppelgänger and publishing deals

Kate Thompson and Julia Kelly have signed size-able new publishing deals this month. Julia Kelly, who talks to strangers in loo’s, has signed with Quercus. JK (see what I did there?) won the Best Newcomer award at the IBA’s last week.

The Kate Thompson who signed a new lucrative deal with Harper Collins is not the same Kate Thompson that writes great things like The New Policeman. I’ve only just figured out the difference between the two Kate Thompsons’ and all my enthusiasm for this post has run out…

Er, congratulations to the other Kate Thompson on her book deal.

Written by david. in: Publising, Reading, childrens books |

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