Sunday, 19 May 2013

Convention report: Children’s Books Ireland Conference 2013. May 18th.

In a break from my trawl through the seedy underbelly of Comic conventioneering, (that’s not a real word, don’t use it), I attended the first day of the CBI Children’s Books conference in the Lighthouse Cinema.

If you live in Dublin and haven’t been to the Lighthouse then I recommend it. The Cinema was built underground over three levels. It’s spacious and well kept. It regularly hosts special screenings of classic movies as well as your usual fare.  Just don’t go there when the horse sales are held outside twice a year.  As a conference location it’s actually pretty good with good transport links and a couple of decent places to eat and drink nearby. It’s actually be a really good place to organise a comic or science fiction themed convention due to the large amounts of free space and the screens which could be used for panels.

As you can probably guess, the conference dealt with the growing area of Children’s books in Ireland. Ireland appears to punch above its weight in this field. Possibly because there’s nothing else to do in this rainy nation other than make up stuff to keep the children from tearing the curtains from the windows because they can’t go outside.  Bray is full of writers for similar reasons: basically you have to create your own entertainment out here.

Guests at the conference on Saturday included Sarah Ardizzone, (Translator) Hervé Tullet, (Illustrator) John Boyne (bestselling author) and  Sarah McIntyre, Alan Nolan and Rory McConville (comic book writers and Artists).

The panels were pretty good, particularly those with Sarah Ardizonne as she discussed the challenges of translating slang, which a lot of kid’s books make use of and the interview with John Boyne (Dublin native and writer of “The boy in the striped pajamas.”)

The guests were all willing to answer questions and were engaging. I don’t think the conference would be for everybody as it is most suited to those who are actively working in the field or want to break in, such as myself. I can’t imagine it would be of much interest to the general public and it’s also pretty pricey at €100 for a weekend pass.

So, in a nutshell, it was enjoyable and informative but very specific to that small group of people who want to entertain the young with words and pictures, which is fine. Dublin has plenty of opportunities for you to meet and talk to writers such as the upcoming writers’ week.

Back to the short stories next week.

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