Something Fowl

Help! I’ve been kidnapped. Two hefty looking blokes broke in and blindfolded me, dragged me into a large van crammed with other book types and we’re all being taken to an disclosed location. There are murmurs about seeing a movie, maybe this one. But I don’t know… Hopefully they’ll let me go in time for the Blookie Event tonight.

Good friends Richard & Judy* tell me they’re looking for your votes - namely for their Children’s Book of the Year Award. There are some great books on the list - including Artemis Fowl, The Great Paper Caper, Before I Die and Kaspar. (Not that I’m trying to influence your votes… no not at all)

That general trouble maker Eoin Colfer has his own plea for votes or you can go straight to voting here.

*My good friends Richard and Judy may not be the more telly famous R&J.

Update: I’m no longer being held hostage. AND I got to see the stunning Secret of Kells. Tom Moore should be very proud - he, and several hundred others, have created a 2D visual masterpiece. Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally lend their powerful voices to the movie (and one of the downfalls I felt was in some of the younger cast in comparrison) as well as a strong soundtrack from Bruno Coulais and Kila.


Some papercuts from the weekend…

Over the weekend, when I wasn’t at the Coraline screening or racing to buy the last strawberries in Dublin, I read some newspapers…

Alison Flood in the Guardian has a look at the stiff competition in the Arthur C Clarke SF Award.

While in the Irish Independent, Cathy Kelly (who doesn’t quite write science fiction), has some tips and bugbears for would-be writers. This is my favourite:

If you are stunningly attractive, a photo may help. They won’t publish your book because you’re cute, and people won’t buy it because you’re cute…  …if and when you do publicity, there is a slightly greater chance that newspapers will want to publish an article if they get gorgeous pictures too. Sad but true.

Oxford University Press come out guns blazing in their own defence in the Times UK:

it gives children structured support and engagement. It has always been the intention of Oxford Reading Tree to get children reading as quickly as possible so that they can access the richly diverse world of children’s literature for themselves. - Kate Harri, Managing Director, Educational and Children’s Division, OUP.

Sticking with the Times UK, this time with Nicolette Jones, who reviews Emily Gravett’s Dogs.

Over in the Guardian Julia Eccleshare has not one but two reviews - Joe Berger’s Bridget Fidget and Helen Cooper’s Dog Biscuit.

In our own Irish Times, Peter Crawley reviews The Giant Blue Hand (Marina Carr’s new play for children playing in The Ark)

Some will be surprised by how dark Carr is willing to go here, but even as the Giant Blue Hand boasts about eating his victims with mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise, each hardship comes cushioned with a savoury gag.

“Time can do terrible things,” says Walker, “but it can also do the wonderful.” That desire to explore the dark folds of fantasy in a production brimming with imagination speaks directly and sincerely to kids. To grown-ups too, for that matter.

And finally - Slashfilm have some sneak peaks from Where the Wild Things Are. Go see! Go see!


Bloggies Book Event

The friendly faces behind the Blog Awards have organised a panel discussion this week with some other friendly faces - namely Sarah Rees Brennan, Twenty Major, Ivan O’Brien, Fiona McPhillips and Mags Walsh, alongside some other special guests. Sinéad Keogh and yours truly will be on hand to fire some well-thought-out-and-by-no means-spontaneous questions and there has been the promise of wine, water, the odd chocolate bar and an open-floor Q&A.

Fancy asking Twenty where he gets his grooming products from? Or a chat with Fiona about the Birds and the Bees? Or maybe something a little more important, the urge to nod appreciatively at sharp insights and observations perhaps? Then tag along to The Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Sq at 7pm this Wednesday (Feb 18).

Written by david. in: Blog Awards, news | Tags:

Kell, and the secrets thereof.

Did anyone else know that Tomm Moore has a blog for the Secret of Kells movie? No, me neither… I’ve started reading posts from way back at the beginning of the project - all the way back in 2005.

We’ve been working on this in Cartoon Saloon for almost six years, just dpping into it everynow and then the development was long, meandering and ponderous. We’re finally in full-time preproduction with a crew in place. We started in October and we’ll be aiming to finish it up for Chrimbo 2007. So stay tuned. I just posted some pictures of the main character Brendan that I did last year at this time and a newer one.

And is it worth mentioning that I’m going to see that very movie, The Secret of Kells, at a secret time, in an undisclosed location, next week?

Vincent of Movies.ie fame raved about it (below) and ye can see the trailer on the movies.ie forum:

I loved THE SECRET OF KELLS, the movie has a magical other-worldy feel that reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies (such as Spirited away) It’s one of the most visually arresting animations I’ve seen, every frame is a work of art. That coupled with a perfect soundtrack and a back-drop of Irish folklore, it’s impossible not to love it.

Written by david. in: Reading, movies, news | Tags: , ,

Braving the elements

Now that the snow is receding and the cold outside is less Siberia and more just raining Hibernia it’s safe to go outside and see some of the world. Or more specifically I have a few recommendations that ye might be interested in…

Tonight Conor Kostick is in St Pats College (Drumcondra, Dublin) from 7 talking about Marxism and Children’s Literature. I’ve been promised a chapter on lizards which could be interesting… Details are here.

Elsewhere in the city, the talented Mr Brian Coldrick launched his exhibition ‘Shrunken Head’ - it runs until February 17 and features everyone’s favourite sloth, Slothey T. Hoffman, in many guises. Have a sneak peak here.

And as if all that wasn’t enough - Alex Milway, of Mousehunter fame, visited the Illustration Cupboard last week and recommends we all drop what we’re doing and go see it now.

I implore everyone to go, as some of the original artwork on display is superb. There are beautiful Shirley Hughes pictures, some awesome Chris Wormell prints, and best of all Chris Riddell’s ink drawings for Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book. One of which is below. - Alex Milway, on the Illustration Cupboard.

Written by david. in: Free Time, news | Tags: ,

It’s cinema Dahling.

Just woke up to some great news - Sarah Webb’s new, and first, teenage novel, Amy Green Teen Agony Queen is to be made into a film. According to the Irish Independent Sarah has signed a recession busting deal for Boy Trouble to be made. Congrats Sarah!

The Irish Independent has the the full story - and you can read Sarah’s new look blog over here.

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

On the study of Children’s Lit

Despite the weather and some of the delegates being delayed - this year’s ISSCL conference is still going ahead in Dublin. The conference is titled Nation, Translation, Migration and features talks on Terry Pratchett, Shaun Tan and Siobhan Dowd as well as panelled discussions tomorrow.

If you do nothing else today - have a look at the conference site and, if you’re in the area, maybe visit the keynote address at 7 tonight. (E Block, Room 210, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.) The keynote speaker is the Prof. Maria Nikolajeva - discussing The (Un)changing Stereotypes in Swedish Young Adult Fiction.

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

On your bookmarks, get set…

Aubrey Flegg launched this years Bookmarks Programme in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) - without repeating the press release word for word - Bookmarks is run by TCD and the Ark for schools classed as disadvantaged.

The students have nearly two months to get ready - and the rest of us just have to wait - until the exhibition is opened to the public on 24 March. You can find out more about the programme over on the Ark Blog.

So… On your bookmarks. Get set. GO!

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

Just one more BIG piece of news!

Great news from the Just One More Book! podcast. They’re being syndicated in the UK on the diverse radio station, Unity Fm in Birmingham. Joining the ranks of UB40, Black Sabbath, Novacon, Electric Light Orchestra, Larry O’Loughlin and Wizzard (all Brummie/West Midland exports)

You can catch the show on Thursdays from 9pm. Tune in online - ah, go on.

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

Tea anyone?

Those clever PR people at Barry’s Tea, in conjunction with those arty people in the Monster Truck Gallery, have put together something special tonight. Graham Rawle, him what lives in England draws those amazing pictures, is in Dublin for tea with anyone who fancies tagging along.

According to Barry’s Tea, Graham will share some of his Golden Moments over a delicious cup of Barry’s Tea with Barry’s Tea fans at this relaxed cultural gathering, organised by Barry’s Tea. I’m sure they’ll let a small number of non-tea drinkers in too - and it could be the perfect chance for us non-Barry’s Tea fans to give it a try.

Numerous illustrated versions of L Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz , not to mention its many stage and screen adaptations, have given us often strongly held notions about how its characters should be imagined. These assumptions are going to be dramatically shaken with the arrival of Graham Rawle’s quite stunning new version (Atlantic, £25), an interpretation which blends photography, collage, model-making and typographical experimentation in a surreal rendition of the (unabridged) original text. - Robert Dunbar on Graham Rawle, Irish Times

Written by david. in: news | Tags:


You take your eyes offline for ten minutes and it’s 5 O’Clock before ye know it.

So Neil Gaiman won the Newbury Award and buried any/all controversy around it. Neil Jordan is adapting the Graveyard Book for film and there are videos of Mr Gaiman reading the whole book up on mousecircus.com

Jamie Bell, replacing Thomas Sangster, and Daniel Craig are the latest high profile names to be tied into Mr Spielberg’s TinTin movie.

Anyone else glad to see Albert Uderzo speak out against accusations of his being too old and muddled to know better??

What has been given away is nothing more than shares in a publishing company, Editions Albert-René, that I set up in 1979. The accusation made against me is not only inspired by the appetite for power, it also aims to insult Asterix readers by confusing my abilities as an author with that of a publishing house shareholder.

Back to work.

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

Chain chain chain…

See where I’m going with this? Chains have links.. and I’m sticking up a list of links that could make up a chain. Right. I’ve slipped off the deep end - never mind.

First off, the lovely Celine Kiernan (who now owes me a wispa) has started a blog - Celine is already finishing her third book, she says so on the blog…

Next up are the poor souls over at the trappedbymonsters blog. Eight writers are trapped in a cave by monsters making them blog stories, pictures, jokes… and whatever else takes their fancy. Head over and see if you can help them out.

Mr Braine has a question for Roald Dahl…

Fighting Words got a huge mention in the Irish Times yesterday - if you haven’t heard about it yet head on over and read the article…

Neil Gaiman won the Newbury award - he was a bit shocked about it too… made for some fun tweets. And speaking of Mr Gaiman - he will be in Dublin on 17 February signing books in Chapters with an un-disclosed musical guest. (Hint)

Pauline McLynn is off to help judge the Costa’s - and the guardian is wondering who will win… All will be revealed tomorrow.

And finally the Dublin Film Festival tickets went on sale last night. Get flexing your credit cards and book some good movies…

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

Thank crunchie it’s Friday

Woke up to aching muscles and a foreboding sense of trouble… It must be the morning after the CBI quiz. We came, I think, in a respectable fourth place - beaten by the Table of Power, headed up by Sarah Webb. But after all the trash-talking I did to certain others I’m dreading the forfeit I’m to face from Sarah and Sineád. What ever it is, it won’t be pleasant.

In other news, Chicklish have two reviews ye should be reading - if you haven’t already. Alexandra reviews Keith Gray’s Happy and R J Anderson’s Knife:

My above paragraphs don’t even cover half of what goes on in this fast paced novel (so hopefully no spoilers!). There’s lots of action and many twists and turns towards the end which keep you guessing to the last page. Excellent read.

And Ian Burell in the Independent UK explores the secrets behind magicians, sorcerers and dragons in oscar winning special effects factory The Mill.

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

And the nominations are:

The Irish Blog Award nominations are out - and it makes for a very long list of blogs… Thank you to whoever nominated me for the Best Art and Culture Award!! Congratulations to the very deserving list of other nominees and I hope to meet all of ye in Cork in February!

The Film Talk
Scamp: An Irish Illustration Blog
Pearls And Rubies
Stony River Farm
An Art and Ecology Notebook
Pursued By A Bear
Arts Management Ireland
Confessions Of A Film Critic
Fair Maiden Of The Mindful Blossom
Musical Rooms
Eoin Purcell’s Blog
The Anti-room
An Cathach
Crime Always Pays
Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Weblog
Éagsúil- Arts Show On West Limerick 102
Bluebirds are so Natural
Fustar - Recycling Cultural Waste Since 2005
A Doubtful Egg
The Red Scrapbook
The Devious Theatre Company
Caricatures Ireland
Chris Judge Illustration
Self Interest And Sympathy
Circa: Now!
[ Irish Kc ]
Dante And The Lobster
Music Roadmusic Road
Fin Keegan

But wait! There’s more - there are plenty of other categories all with long lists of potential winners, the judges have their hands full this year. Get yourself clicking and read some great blogs.

Written by david. in: Blog Awards, awards | Tags: ,

Tony Hart

Just read the sad news that artist and childhood hero of Saturday mornings, Tony Hart has died. There is the urge to make the “He had an ‘Art attack” joke, but well…

I hadn’t known that he’d been ill but the Guardian has an interview from last year:

The eventual strokes left Hart unable to use his hands and he admitted to spending most days confined to his chair. In an interview in 2008 he said: “Not being able to draw is the greatest cross that I have to bear, for it has been my lifetime passion. But I endeavour to stay cheerful, as there is nothing to be done about my condition.”

Written by david. in: news | Tags:


There is a lot to look forward to this year, despite the bleak economic outlook. Irish children’s publishing has especially got plenty to look forward to - including three new imprints.  So here’s a very glimpse of what 2009 has to offer:

Jonathan Stroud has already hit the shelves with Heroes of the Valley alongside Anna Godbersen’s Rumours.

David Almond’s award winning Skellig will be making an appearance on the small screen in April - with Tim Roth playing the fallen angel and Bill Milner (the famous Son of Rambow) playing Michael.

Popeye will be ripped off by dozens of imitations after the 70th anniversary of Elzie Segar’s death.

The much maligned and delayed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will make it’s way onto the silver screen.

Dave Eggers has transformed Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are into a film with Spike Jonze, and a new novel, The Wild Things.

Mercier Press will launch Susan Connolly’s Damsel and Walker Books are teetering on the edge of teen-hysteria with Sarah Webb’s Amy Green, teen agony queen.

There’ll be more violence and public health hazardry with books from Patrick Ness and Derek Landy.

Shirley Hughes has a graphic novel for adults on its way, Bye Bye Birdie.

Simon and Schuster unleash the next big thing with Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon Lexicon. (S&S have other coups up their sleeve for 2009 with the release of Andy Mulligan’s Ribblestrop and Michelle Harrison’s The 13 Treasures)

Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing, the new The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, hits the shelves - and propel him into literary super-stardom.

And then there is Watchmen to look forward to. Need I say more?

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

Made of tin | Tintin gets the limelight

Hergé’s famous investigative journalist, Tintin is in the limelight again (previous revelations last year). This time he is being brought out of the closet - dragged kicking and screaming - by Matthew Parris in the Times UK. The vicious rumour is being denied by officianados of the Tintin realm but Parris presents a convincing argument:

The only unambiguously heterosexual male mammal in Tintin’s entire universe. We know that because of Snowy’s tendency to be distracted by lady dogs: a tendency in which he is consistently foiled by his master and by Hergé’s plot. Pity this dog, wretchedly straight and trapped in a ghastly web of gay human males. - Matthew Parris.

Tintin features elsewhere on the interweb today - this time on the Forbidden Planet Blog. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are to appear in the movie adaptation as Tintin’s mustached and bowler hatted friends Thompson and Thomson. Matthew Parris had this to say:

Tintin first meets the flamboyantly moustachioed couple on a cruise in 1932 (Cigars of the Pharaoh), learning to distinguish between them by their different moustaches. The Thomson and Thompson life is a fancy-dress party: the pair love dressing up in exotic costumes and are once mobbed in the street for their Chinese opera costumes (The Blue Lotus). On other occasions they are seen (often with their signature bowlers still on) in striped swimming costumes, and a variety of folkloric garbs, always absurdly over-the-top. There is no evidence that either has ever had an eye for women, let alone a girlfriend.

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

Turn on the wireless

I’m offline and on the air today. I’ve been asked to visit Tom Dunne, of Newstalk and Something Happens fame, to talk about fairy tales. That Very Hungry Caterpillar covered the story Telegraph earlier this week:

As reported in the Daily Telegraph British parents are turning to safe options for bed time reading. With many deciding traditional fairy tales are just too scary or too unPC for their little tots.
- VHC Blog

I’m off to throw my tuppenceworth, more or less, onto the airwaves. So tune in (at half 11), sit back, open a packet of digestives and enjoy my nervous and shaky tones as they go nationwide.

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

First post of 2009. And it’s about 2008…

No sweeping statements or emotional breakdowns reviewing the last year. (I’ve done all that already.) Just a few quick notes to mark what was an incredible year in children’s writing, books, publishing, film, arts, politics, business - and well you get the picture…

There was a row over age branding.
The case of Rowling versus Lexicon Fans got a day in court.
We lost Arthur C Clarke.
The number of Irish Children’s Book Blogs increased 300%.
Batman was bested by the Joker.
Siobhan Dowd won the Bisto Book of the Year Award.
Tom Kelly wrote The Thing with Finn. (5p - 10p. Genius) And won an award too.
Geri Halliwell appeared as a children’s writer with Ugenia Lavender.
Patrick Ness also appeared as a children’s writer. And won. And won. And was shortlisted. And won. And won. And won. And was shortlisted some more…
Ironman became the new playboy of the western world thanks to Mr Downey Jnr.
We lost Nuala O’Faolain.
The Irish Web Awards were born.
Philip Reeve won the Carnegie.
Emily Gravett won the Kate Greenaway.
Obama and Clinton.
Sally Nicholls won the Glen Dimplex New Writer Award.
We lost David Foster Wallace.
Jacqueline Wilson was called a ‘twat’.
Eoin Colfer took on Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Recession. (see 2009)
Google finally agreed a deal over copyright.
Fústar gave us some Dreadful Thoughts.
We lost Michael Crichton.
Lauren Child became an ambassador for peace.
The number of Irish Children’s book publishers increased 300%.
Terry Pratchett was knighted.

And, I met some of the most incredible writers, critics and publishers from the world of children’s books - meeting all of these people had no effect on the rest of the world, and some of them I had met before, but still. 2008 was when I found a voice to say hello.

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

Short, but sweet, thank you for long suffering readers.

2008 was the year of great news, new friends, writing and ideas. 2009 looks set to be the same and more - with adventure thrown into the mix for good measure. To everyone who has logged on, doubled clicked, linked, spammed or just googled a certain monster and found your way here: Happy New Year.

I’m off to enjoy the last few remaining days of the holidays. Hope you are all doing something very similar.

Written by david. in: news | Tags:

Powered by WordPress | Content is copyright David Maybury, unless otherwise stated.