Richard Ford moves to Trinity College

It’s official. At last night’s launch of Sixteen After Ten - an anthology of work by the Trinity College Creative Writing M.Phil students - the school announced that Richard Ford (Pulitzer, Pen and Faulkner winning US writer) has been appointed associate professor for the next three years.

There will be a series of readings and Ford will also act as American writer in Residence throughout the college. There’s plenty of him to go around…

And to make things fair: a belated congratulations to Harry Clifton (Poetry professor for the UCD Creative Writing MA) on winning the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.

More from the Irish Times.

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

factoid | childrens publishing

An article from the Economist on the difficulties in publishing picture books:

Not all are quite so gloomy. Booktrust, a charity, has launched the Big Picture campaign to raise the profile of picture books. At the Illustration Cupboard, a London gallery, John Huddy reckons the market is correcting itself, rooting out inadequate contenders. Panicky book folk may be talking their business down—but new ways to sell cheaper products across borders must certainly loom.

Time for a new kind of picture book? More on picture books here.


and the nominees are… | CBI Bisto Book of the Year Award 2008

Interesting shortlist for the 2008 awards (not an O’Brien Press book on the list… or too many other Irish publishers!) Delighted to see Siobhan Dowd, deservedly, on the list alongside Tom Kelly and Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst. Some disappointing omissions (Enda Wyley/Derek Landy) and a few unexpected inclusions: Caitriona Nic Sheain and Jessica O’Donnell who are both new to me.

Two names that are not strangers to the shortlist, Oliver Jeffers and Kate Thompson both make a reappearance - and the grand-daddy of Dublin literature Roddy Doyle (also up for an Irish Book Award) is the last name on the list. Now, time to get reading.
Full shortlist:

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

> Click here for details on the winners.


CBI Bisto Book of the Year Award | 2008

There’s only a few hours to go before Children’s Books Ireland announce the shortlist for this years Bisto Book of the Year. I have tried (and failed) to get a hint of who is on the list… but I have come up with a few names I’d like to see nominated.

I’d be very surprised not to see Enda Wyley’s The Silver Notebook (O’Brien Press) on the list - or Karl O’Neill’s The Most Beautiful Letter in the World for that matter, another O’Brien Press book. And, on the list of O’Brien Press releases, Conor Kostick’s The Book of Curses might make an appearence…

A few others that I’d really like to see nominated: Skullduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy, Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst, Siobhan Dowd’s The London Eye Mystery, Brendan O’Brien’s The Story of Ireland, Eoin Colfer’s Airman and/or Artemis Fowl : The Graphic Novel and Donough O’Malley’s Monkey See, Monkey Do.

I’m sure that I’ve missed a few great titles here so I’m really looking forward to reading the full list later today. The CBI site has more on the awards.


steve simpson | on illustration

The talented Steve Simpson has kindly given an illustrators view on working in children’s books. Steve has worked with Irish language publisher An Gúm and recently finished a book with Scholastics in the US - as well as working with An Post and countless others. Who better to ask!?

On Irish and UK publishing:
It’s possible that picture books are becoming inviable in the UK but I can’t imagine there has ever been much profit in Irish picture books for a long time. The market is very small and many of the books that do make it into the bookshops are obviously published in Ireland, lots of Irish names, Irish references, Irish towns and green postboxes. This mostly makes them unappealing for export.

As the potential market is tiny, the fees paid to illustrators are, to say the least, unappealing (others might use stronger language). Some of the fees I’ve heard are far below the national minimum hourly rate and with that they expect to retain all copyright (and even the artwork in some cases). If you want to make a living as a children’s book illustrator you need to look further a field.

On working in the US:
I’m only just entering the market but my dealings so far have been very good. I’ve been able to keep my copyright and the contracts seems quite generous by Irish comparisons. I haven’t heard of any pessimistic forecasts.

A little encouragement for the newbies:
Children’s book illustration is a fantastic area to be involved in, I can’t think of a more idyllic career path. Getting started is always a struggle though. The current Irish scene may appear unattractive to established illustrators, however it can be a great opportunity for upcoming illustrators. You might not make too much cash but you will be published. Just remember to hold on tight to your copyright.

(Thanks again to Steve for answering my rant-like questions. You can gawk at his work, here, or read more from him over at Scamp)


blog awards shortlist

The short list for the 2008 Blog Awards is up online. Congratulations to everybody listed - here’s quick look down the list for Best Arts and Culture (sponsored by Poetry Ireland) :

Could it be three years in a row for The Sigla Blog? Or will there be a new winner this year? Either way, I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at the awards in March. Best of luck!

Written by david. in: Blog Awards, Jealousy, Reading | Tags: ,

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