Bursary Awards for Mid-Career Children’s Books Artists

October 2022
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Children’s Books Ireland and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre are pleased to announce an opportunity for artists to avail of a week-long residency, to take place 20th to 27th February 2023.

These bursaries are designed specifically for mid-career children’s books authors or illustrators, resident on the island of Ireland. Following previous successful residencies for Irish mid-career children’s books authors and illustrators, Children’s Books Ireland and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre are delighted to offer the bursaries again this year with a focus on creative exchange and collaboration.

While several other schemes support emerging and debut artists, these bursaries exist to support more experienced, published authors and illustrators who require time and space to focus on their craft to the benefit of their continuing careers.

Laureate na nÓg Áine Ní Ghlinn will be in attendance and the Laureate na nÓg project will fund two additional bursaries. Preference for one of these places will be given to an artist published in the Irish language. The Tyrone Guthrie Centre will fund one bursary for a Northern Irish artist. In addition Waterford City and County Council will fund a bursary should a successful applicant reside in their administrative area.

Applicants must have at least two books for children published by a recognised publisher. Applications will be accepted by email only to info@childrensbooksireland.ie.

Please include a cover letter including a statement of artistic intent, outlining the project you would like to focus on during your stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre as well as an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (max two A4 pages).

The deadline for applications is 4pm on Friday 16th December 2022. Applications will be assessed by a selection panel comprised of representatives of Children’s Books Ireland and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

The successful applicants will be notified by early January. All bursaries will take place from 20th to 27th February 2023 so as to allow for creative exchange and collaboration between artists where appropriate.

Please do not to apply for the bursary unless you are available for that week as it is non transferrable.

Feedback from previous bursary recipients

Author Deirdre Sullivan:

My time in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre was incredibly inspiring and nourishing. One of the things about being a writer, or any other sort of creative practitioner, is that it can be a job people find difficult to understand, and I think a lot of the specialness of Annamakerrig is that there's a shorthand among the people there- an understanding. There is no need to explain away, minimise or make excuses for time spent thinking, reading, writing.

'This is a place where art matters, where the spark of things, and the mess of shaping something out of nothing is afforded respect, and time. I found listening to other people's experience and process- particularly those from other disciplines- was so fascinating- the commonalities and the differences. I emerged from it heartened, energised, and deeply appreciative to Children's Books Ireland for their support.'

Author E.R. Murray:

'The bursary enabled me to bring 1.5 years’ worth of work to a close, ready for submission. During the week, I redrafted an entire 40K word manuscript that is the proposed Book 1 of a series aimed at middle grade readers. This manuscript has been awaiting completion since November 2019, but in these final stages, I require completely uninterrupted time, and this had been impossible to salvage from the usual working week.

'In addition to completing the manuscript, I also wrote the synopsis and several suggestions for future books in the series. My agent is currently preparing these documents for submission to publishers later this week. Without the residency, I’d have been lucky to have completed this submission before June, so the impact is huge. 

'Another element of the residency is that it also enabled interaction with other children’s writers who understand 1) the craft but also 2) the business. This led to many in-depth discussions about teaching workshops, submission opportunities, writing styles, which inevitably fed into the work.'

Author and illustrator Oisín McGann:

'My brain is busy and tired, but in this calm, relaxed atmosphere you can keep going for long periods and stop when you need to, to talk shop with other artists and let the beautiful surroundings have their effect on you. It’s the kind of existence that, when you were young, you thought would be the lifestyle of a writer, not realizing how the rest of life crowded in on the pure work that makes this weird career worthwhile.'

Author and illustrator Mary Murphy:

'I set the bar high, aiming to complete a draft of each of two chapter books, and was delighted to actually achieve this.

I definitely recommend bursaries being awarded for the same week, to strengthen the network of children's author/illustrators, to foster support within the children's books community, and to share truly useful information and ideas. Niamh (Sharkey) and I were already friends, but we now more readily ring each other, and bounce ideas off each other.'