Siobhan Parkinson was named the first ever Irish Children's Laureate (Laureate na nÓg). It is a two year position; and more information can be found at the website for Laureate na nOg.
Parkinson writes for all ages. Many of her books are available in the US. I wish all of them were available here!
The Irish Times interviewed Parkinson in A Champion for Children's Literature. Since my day job is working at a library for those who are blind, low vision, or handicapped, this part especially caught my attention:
This commitment to writing is profound, given that a decade ago Parkinson developed a visually impairment. “There was no treatment 10 years ago, so one eye was damaged,” she explains. Her second eye’s degeneration was halted by a new treatment about six years ago. It is upsetting for her to visit a bookshop as she “simply can’t read the books”.
But she remains upbeat. “Audio books are wonderful,” she says, and she would be lost as a writer without a system she uses on her computer that makes words “enormous” for her. “The only problem is that all the people going by on the top deck of the number 83 bus can also read every word.”
She also has a voice on her computer – the “talking laptop” usually causes quite a stir in classrooms she visits.
As part of the laureateship she is keen to further her creative work with blind children and to find “alternatives to Braille such as extensive oral work and typing and recording of stories”. Parkinson is eager to raise the profile of children’s literature in Ireland and abroad and wants to expose Irish audiences to high quality international thinkers and writers.
Parkinson talking about children's literature:
I subscribe to the Children's Books Ireland Newsletter. In my "things I wish I could do," is to go to Ireland for some of the conferences and workshops they have. The wish factor is all the more now that Parkinson is the Children's Laureate.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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