Inish 50: Former Editors Share their memories (As Gaeilge)

Irish-language editors play an important role in the editing of Inis. Here, as part of our look back at memories from former Inis editors, we hear from Claire M Dunne and Siobhán McNamara, Irish-language editors between 212 and today.

 

ISSUES 37–41 (2012–2014) CLAIRE M DUNNE
Tugadh cuireadh dom teacht isteach in oifigí Leabhair Pháistí Éireann chun an ról nua – Eagarthóir Gaeilge Inis – a phlé. Ag an tráth sin, ba bheag litríochta don óige a bhí léite agam ó bhí mé féin in éide scoile agus an leagan smolchaite de leabhar leabharlann na scoile le m’ucht. Bhí leabharlann litríochta ag fanacht orm mar dhuine fásta ach bhí ceird na heagarthóireachta le foghlaim fós. Cruinnithe timpeall an bhoird bhí David, Patricia, Juliette, Jenny agus Mags. Roimhe seo bhí na hainmneacha seo feicthe agam scríofa ar bhun ríomhphoist ach b’shin an chéad uair dom casadh ar leathbhádóirí litríocht Ghaeilge na n-óg. Don chéad chúpla cruinniú, bhailíomar timpeall an bhoird mhóir in oifigí Leabhair Pháistí Éireann, le seilfeanna lán le carachtair litríocht na n-óg ag coinneáil súile orainn. Ar fhágáil na hoifige ag deireadh na gcruinnithe, bhíodh carn mór leabhar á iompar agam agus sonraí teagmhála. Ar dtús, cleamhnas casta a bhí ann léirmheastóir cuí a fháil do gach leabhar nua, mar shampla an leabhar nua fantaisíochta nó scéal a phléigh le ciníochas. I dtaca an ama chéanna, bhí léann litríocht Ghaeilge na n-óg ag fás a bhuí leis na comhdhálacha ar chuir Ríona Nic Congáil tús leo agus an tsraith leabhar ina raibh aistí acadúla. Níorbh fhada go raibh cosmhuintir litríocht Ghaeilge na n-óg ag dul i méid agus seoltaí i bhfad agus i gcéin á scríobh agam ar an mbeart postais – chomh fada le hIndiana sna Stáit Aontaithe nó go dtí an Spáinn. Shocraigh mé isteach sa ról de réir a chéile.

Ba ghnách linn freisin teacht le chéile sa Westbury chun profaí úra Inis a scaipeadh fud fad an bhoird, agus mugaí móra caife mar chomhluadar againn don obair ar fad. Is ann ar tharla an phleanáil d’aon ghné-ailt a bheadh ann. Is cuimhin liom na sceitimíní nuair a bhí an chéad agallamh do ghné-alt le déanamh agam leis an scríbhneoir iomráiteach Éilis Ní Dhuibhne. Thóg mé deachtafón an-sofaisticiúil ar iasacht ón obair leis an agallamh a thaifeadadh. Dúradh liom gurbh é seo an cineál deachtafóin is reatha agus go bpiocfadh sé suas gach siolla, agus phioc, ach ba bheag an chabhair dom na trí chomhrá a bhí ag dul ar aghaidh ag na boird eile a bheith taifeadta agam ag an deireadh. Do na hagallaimh eile, fuair mé réidh leis an deachtafón ardnósach agus chloígh mé le peann agus páipéar. Níor thug mé cúl don teicneolaíocht go huile is go hiomlán agus ba é an gnáthamh rialta maidin Dé Céadaoin ná léirmheas a roghnú, útamáil leis na bogearraí, agus é a chur suas ar sheansuíomh Leabhair Pháistí Éireann. Foilsíodh dáta an léirmheasa agus bhí an liosta sin ann mar a bheadh stampaí i mo phas. Chláraigh sé an t-ord ina ndearna méirínteacht ar leabhair éagsúla, inar bhuail mé le carachtair faoi leith, agus chláraigh sé an fás a tháinig ar mo thaithí agus thaitneamh i léamh litríocht Ghaeilge na n-óg. Tá cloigne eile cruinnithe timpeall ar an mbord in oifigí Leabhair Pháistí Éireann, agus gach seans nach bhfuil an méid céanna caife á mbuanú, ach samhlaím go bhfuil siad ag baint an taitnimh chéanna as aistear litríocht Ghaeilge na n-óg.

I was invited into the CBI offices to discuss the new role – Irish-language editor of Inis. At that time, I had read very few children’s books since I’d been in my school uniform and carrying around dog-eared books from the school library. A library of literature was waiting for me as an adult but I still had to learn the art of editing. Assembled around the table were David, Patricia, Juliette, Jenny and Mags. Previously, I had seen these names written at the bottom of emails, but this was my first time meeting my colleagues in Irish-language children’s literature. For the first few meetings, we gathered around the large table in the CBI offices, with shelves full of children’s book characters keeping an eye on us. On leaving the office after meetings, I would have a large pile of books and contact details. At first, it was a delicate matchmaking exercising, finding an appropriate reviewer for each book, such as a new fantasy novel or a story dealing with racism. At about the same time, Irish-language literature for children was growing as an academic field, thanks to the conferences that Ríona Nic Congáil began and the volumes of academic essays that were published as a result. Soon the number of followers of Irish-language children’s literature was growing, I was writing faraway addresses on the parcels I was sending out: all the way to Indiana in the United States or to Spain. I settled into the role gradually.

We also used to come together in the Westbury to spread fresh proofs of Inis all over the table, with large mugs of coffee as company for us as we worked. This is where we planned all our feature articles. I remember the excitement when I was going to do my first interview for a feature article, with the acclaimed writer Éilís Ní Dhuibhne. I borrowed a very sophisticated Dictaphone from work to record the interview. I was told that this was the most up-to-date version of the Dictaphone and that it would pick up every syllable, and it did, but the three conversations going on at the other tables that it recorded were little use to me in the end. For other interviews, I got rid of this fancy Dictaphone and stuck with pen and paper. I didn’t turn my back on technology completely, and my regular routine on a Wednesday morning was to pick a review, fumble with the software and put it up on CBI’s old website. The publication date was with the review and the list was like a collection of stamps in my passport. It noted the order in which I picked up various books and where I met with certain characters, and it recorded the growth in my experiences and enjoyment in reading children’s books in Irish. There are other heads around the board meetings in the CBI offices these days, and they probably don’t get through the same amount of coffee, but I imagine that they are getting just as much pleasure on their journey in Irish-language children’s books.

Is léachtóir le Gaeilge í Claire M Dunne in Institiúid Oideachais Marino. Bhí sí ina heagarthóir Gaeilge d’Inis ó 2011–2014. Bhí sí ina comheagarthóir freisin don tríú cnuasach aistí ar litríocht Ghaeilge na n-óg.
Claire M Dunne is a lecturer in Irish in the Marino Institute of Education. She was Irish-language editor of Inis from 2011–2014. She was also co-editor of the third collection of essays on Irish-language children’s literature.

 

 

ISSUES 42–50 (2014–2017) SIOBHÁN MCNAMARA
Bhí mé i gcónaí sáite sna leabhair nuair a bhí mé beag, agus is cuimhin liom gur bhain mé an-taitneamh as a bheith ag léamh gach eagrán nua de Children’s Books in Ireland sna 1990idí nuair a thagadh siad sa phost chuig mo mháthair, bean mhór eile na leabhar agus ball dílis LPÉ. Roinnt blianta ina dhiaidh sin, bhí mé ag obair mar leabharlannaí scoile (níl post ar bith níos fearr do léitheoir craosach!) agus tugadh cuireadh dom bheith ar phainéal na moltóirí do Ghradaim Leabhar na Bliana LPÉ. A bhuí leis sin chuir mé aithne ar fhoireann LPÉ, agus nuair a bhí obair an mholtóra críochnaithe agam, scríobh mé roinnt léirmheasanna le haghaidh Inis agus don suíomh gréasáin. Nuair a chuala mé i mí Feabhra 2014 go raibh eagarthóir nua Gaeilge ag teastáil, chinn mé cur isteach ar an ról. Bhí foireann Leabhair Pháistí Éireann sásta leis na scileanna agus leis an gcúlra a bhí agam, agus chuir siad fáilte is fiche romham ar bhord.

Ba í Claire M Dunne a bhí ina heagarthóir Gaeilge romham, agus bhí obair den scoth déanta aici sa ról. Mhínigh sí gach rud dom go soiléir agus mar sin bhí mé in ann tabhairt faoin obair gan mórán fadhbanna. Thosaigh na leabhair ag teacht isteach agus thosaigh mé ag fáil léirmheastóirí dóibh, chomh maith le gné-ailt a choimisiúnú. Idir liosta na léirmheastóirí a d’fhág Claire dom, agus daoine a bhfuil aithne agamsa orthu, tá foireann iontach de léirmheastóirí agam anois. Cúis ionaidh dom i gcónaí go bhfuil an méid sin daoine sásta tabhairt faoi léirmheasanna nó ailt a scríobh agus gan aon airgead a fháil acu don obair seo. Déanann siad an obair toisc gur aoibhinn leo leabhair agus toisc go gcreideann siad cé chomh tábhachtach is atá sé litríocht ar ardchaighdeán a chur ar fáil do pháistí sna teangacha go léir acu. Téann paisean agus díograis na ndaoine sin i bhfeidhm orm i gcónaí.
Táim i m’eagarthóir Gaeilge le trí bhliain anuas, agus táimid tar éis thart ar ceithre léirmheas ar leabhair Ghaeilge a fhoilsiú i ngach eagrán d’Inis, chomh maith le líon mór léirmheasanna eile a chur suas ar an suíomh gréasáin. Bíonn ar a laghad gné-alt amháin as Gaeilge i ngach eagrán den iris chomh maith. Táimid tar éis ailt a fhoilsiú ar ábhair éagsúla, scríbhneoirí nua, ceird an aistriúcháin, scríobh do dhéagóirí, agus greannáin i nGaeilge ina measc. Táim tar éis aithne a chur ar scríbhneoirí, aistritheoirí agus foilsitheoirí den chéad scoth, agus is cúis áthais dom bheith in ann a gcuid oibre a chur os comhair lucht leathan léitheoireachta Inis.

Is aoibhinn liom dul isteach chuig oifig LPÉ. Bíonn cairn mhóra leabhar chuile áit agus bíonn sé deacair scaití díriú isteach ar an obair atá le déanamh agat, mar leagann do shúil ar pictiúrleabhar galánta nua nó ar úrscéal éigin suimiúil nuafhoilsithe. Tá Elaina, Jenny, Aoife agus Ciara diongbháilte faoina gcuid oibre agus tá sé sin le feiceáil san oifig mar aon leis na himeachtaí a eagraíonn siad, mar shampla an chomhdháil bhliantúil. Is breá liom fós nuair a thagann eagrán nua d’Inis tríd an mbosca poist. Bíonn clúdach gleoite ar gach ceann, pictiúr galánta a chuireann maisitheoir comhaimseartha i láthair dúinn, agus taobh istigh den iris bíonn stór iontach eolais do thuismitheoirí, múinteoirí, leabharlannaithe, díoltóirí leabhar agus d’aon duine a bhfuil suim acu i leabhair do pháistí.

I’ve always been a bookworm, and I remember eagerly leafing through issues of Children’s Books in Ireland in the 1990s when they would be posted out to my mother, a fellow bookworm and longstanding member of CBI. Fast forward several years, when, as a school librarian (talk about a dream job for an eager reader!) I was invited onto the judging panel of the CBI Book of the Year Awards. Through this I got to know the CBI team, and once I had finished my time as a judge, I wrote some reviews for Inis and for the website. When I heard in February 2014 that a new Irish-language editor was needed, I decided to offer my services. The CBI team were happy with my background and skills, and I was warmly welcomed on board.

Claire M Dunne, the outgoing Irish-language editor, had left large shoes to fill, but she had done such excellent work in the role and handed over everything so comprehensively that I was able to get stuck into the work without too many problems. The books started coming in and I started finding reviewers for them, as well as commissioning feature articles. Between the list of reviewers Claire left for me and my own network of contacts, I have a fantastic pool of people to call on. I continue to be struck by how willing people are to review books and write articles for no monetary reward. They do it because they love books and they believe in the importance of good-quality literature for young people in all the languages that they speak, and I am constantly touched by their passion and commitment.

In the three years I have been editor, we have had an average of four reviews of Irish-language books in each print version of Inis and numerous more reviews uploaded to the website, and there has been at least one Irish-language article in each issue of the magazine, on topics including new authors, translations, writing for teenagers and comics in Irish. I’ve had contact with many superb writers, translators and publishers, and I am very pleased to play a role in bringing their work to the attention of Inis’s wide readership.

Visiting the CBI office is always such a pleasure. There are piles of books everywhere and it can be difficult to concentrate on the task at hand because your eye keeps getting caught by a beautiful new picturebook or an intriguing looking YA novel. Elaina, Jenny, Aoife and Ciara are so enthusiastic about what they do, and this can be seen in the office as well as in the events they organise such as the annual conference, which never disappoints. I still love getting new issues of Inis through the letterbox. The covers are unfailingly beautiful, each one showcasing the work of a contemporary illustrator, and the contents are a treasure trove for parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers and anyone who loves children’s books.

Is leabharlannaí meánscoile, eagarthóir agus aistritheoir í Siobhán McNamara. Tá sí in hEagarthóir Gaeilge d’Inis ó mhí Aibreáin 2014.
Siobhán McNamara is a secondary-school librarian, editor and translator. She has been Irish-language editor of Inis since April 2014.