Children’s Books Ireland’s yearly conference “Dreams and Nightmares” took place last month and it was my first time attending. I have been interning with CBI since mid-May and was at the conference as the team’s “official” Instagram reporter. It is safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed covering the event and unleashing my inner “instagal” (the things we do for the gram…). I might be slightly biased, having seen the whole behind-the-scene process and how hard the team work on this conference, but I think it is more than fair to describe the weekend as extremely successful!
The two days went by so fast, a blur of extremely engaging talks and inspiring conversations with lovely people, both on and off stage. Peter Brown, M.G Leonard, Dave Rudden, Oisín McGann, Lydia Monks, Louise O’Neill and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald took turn on the stage on the Saturday, giving writers’ and illustrators’ tips and sharing anecdotes behind their creative/publishing processes. An array of “new voices” were also given five minutes to share their writing and it was so lovely to see what has just or is about to hit our shelves. We also celebrated the launch of Lydia Monks’s new book, The Girl and the Bear and the Magic Shoes with cupcakes (yum).
While the whole day was nothing short but amazing, I have to say that the end of the afternoon was just the cherry on the top: first came the release of CBI’s new campaign, #shareastory, focused on inter-generational relationships. Again, I have watched the team work very hard on this: I was lucky enough to catch sneak peeks of the books selected and am very much looking forward to sharing the new reading guide with as many parents and children as possible. Grandparents are so special and living away from home, I truly identify with this beautiful selection of works which are putting forward that bond. The emotional (okay, tear-flooded) gift of CBI’s annual award to volunteer librarian Eve Maloney was a very special moment. The whole room was sniffling as she accepted her well-deserved award under the eyes of students (past and present) and family. While watching the video that the school staff and teachers had put together for Ms. Maloney, the whole room was moved by this proof of books’ magical power. I went home that night tired (so much good advice to remember and so many emotions), but with a big smile on my face.
The second day was off to a great start with Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan and UK Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child talking about their respective campaigns #WeAreThePoets and “staring into space”. Melvin Burgess, Abi Elphinstone and Patrice Lawrence took the stage next, sharing traveling inspiration and teenage diaries (Patrice Lawrence had us in fits of giggles). Steven Lenton was the last speaker of the day and led us into a great draw-along session (I think he undermined the competitiveness of the room when he came up with his idea of a drawing contest. One could have heard a pin dropped as we all did our best to come up with an appropriate hairdo for Cruella De Vil.) Previous laureates Eoin Colfer and PJ Lynch also joined us (surprise!) to celebrate the launch of their new joint project, The Dog Who Lost His Bark (yes, there was more cake.)
Overall, from watching the wonderful illustrated notes Tarsila Krüse drew of the speakers (I featured them heavily on the insta stories I loved them so), to discussing with fellow attendees and coveting the pretty, shiny, oh-so-tempting works at the pop-up Gutter bookshop, I had an amazing time and really enjoyed trying to capture the essence of the weekend on @kidsbooksirel. I could not congratulate CBI enough on this wonderful weekend, I left inspired, wanting to pick up some pencils again and even more admirative – if possible – of the lovely people in the children book’s community. How many sleeps till next year?!
You can watch Victoire’s Instagram stories below, and follow here on Twitter here.
All photos by Ruth Ennis, another very talented CBI Intern.