Thursday, 10 May 2012

Niamh Sharkey - Laureate na nÓg

President Michael D Higgins presented Niamh Sharkey with her Laureate na nÓg medal to mark the beginning of her two year term as Children’s Laureate on the 8th of May 2012. Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of the Arts Council with the support of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children’s Books Ireland, Poetry Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It was established in 2010 to mark and promote the role and importance of literature for children and the honour was first granted to Siobhan Parkinson. The position is held for a period of two years, during which time the Laureate will hopefully reach a wide and diverse audience throughout Ireland and internationally. Niamh Sharkey is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s picture books. Her books have won numerous awards including the prestigious Mother Goose Award for the Best New Illustrator and The Bisto Book of the Year for her first two Picture Books; Tales of Wisdom and Wonder and The Gigantic Turnip. Her most recent picture book, On the Road with Mavis and Marge won the 2010 Junior Book of the Year award at The Irish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Bisto Book of the Year Awards. Niamh’s books have been translated into over twenty languages. Tales from Old Ireland was included in the International Board of Books for Young People Honour Book List in 2002. She has exhibited her artwork many times both in Ireland and abroad. She is a member of Illustrators Ireland and twice she has created the image for the National Children’s Books Festival. "It is a great honor to be chosen as the next Laureate na nOg. I am a picture book maker so my focus as Laureate will certainly be visual as well as literary. I am going to get to do even more of what I love most - promoting quality children's literature and encouraging children to read, write and draw. I have lots of ideas that I hope will inspire creativity in children of all ages. I'm very excited and can't wait to get started". (Niamh Sharkey, May 8th 2012) Children in County Clare were treated first-hand to Niamh’s writing and illustrations when she toured our branches during Children’s Book Festival 2007. During her presentations, she read from her much loved stories and gave a step by step demonstration of how she created her favourite characters in picture books such as The Gigantic Turnip, The Ravenous Beast and Santasaurus.

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