Tuesday 24 January 2017

The Big Picture Event with PJ Lynch and Eoin Colfer

Photo © Peter Cavanagh taken at dlr Lexicon, 20 Nov 2015

Clare County Library in association with glór welcomes Laureates na nÓg past and present to Ennis on February the 15th 2017.

At a special schools event for 5th and 6th classes, teachers and pupils are invited to attend a live drawing experience by current Laureate PJ Lynch. PJ will be accompanied by fellow award-winning, world renowned author and ex Laureate Eoin Colfer.

Visiting schools will learn about PJ's illustrations for Patrick and the President, a book created with broadcaster Ryan Tubridy. Eoin Colfer will share his well-known stories with special emphasis on Once Upon a Place, a collection of short stories and poems collated during his time as Laureate na nÓg. The event will end with one lucky audience member having their portrait drawn by PJ, with some assistance from Eoin and the audience!

School bookings can be made by contacting Clare County Library at tel. no. 065 6846266.

PJ Lynch was appointed the fourth Laureate na nÓg in May 2016. An exhibition of his paintings will be available for viewing in glór from Friday the 3rd of February to Sat 25th February. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to the arts centre during the coming month, including teachers and schoolchildren, to see the work of one of the finest illustrators of children's books of all times.

Entitled the 'Pilgrims, Princesses and Beardy Old Men Exhibition' the collection of original paintings by the award-winning Irish artist includes pictures from the million-selling The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and classics such as Dickens' A Christmas Carol right up to the newly published The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, as well as PJ's charcoal drawings for Once Upon A Place, a new anthology of stories by top Irish writers compiled by Eoin Colfer. PJ Lynch has worked as a children's book illustrator for many years. He has lectured on his own work, and on Art and Illustration at the National Gallery of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland and at the National Print Museum of Ireland, as well as at numerous conferences and colleges across the U.S.

Museum Advocacy, Survey and ‘1916 Around the County’

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys launched Museums Advocacy Day in the National Library of Ireland on Wednesday November 30th 2016. The event was organised by the Local Authority Museums Network (LAMN), working in partnership with the Irish Museums Association (IMA) and with the assistance and support of the Heritage Council. Clare Museum is one of the twelve local authority members that make up the museum network.

The key focus of the day was to highlight the significant work of museums on our island, both north and south of the border, with a particular emphasis on the role museums played in this historic year of commemoration. Museums across the country, working in collaboration with communities, have brought epic tales of passion, patriotism and sacrifice to the public in an array of thought-provoking and engaging exhibitions and events.

The Minister also officially launched the LAMN’s new exhibition ‘1916 Across the Country’ and the IMA’s new Irish Museums Survey. This exhibition was developed by the LAMN to provide a snapshot of some of the key stories brought to light through the work of the local authority museums that make up the network. Clare Museum’s contribution, highlighted in an earlier blog post, features the Committal Form of Countess Markievicz from May 1916.

The exhibition represents the key role played by museums in exploring and presenting the story of 1916 to millions of visitors throughout the year. This point was highlighted by Minister Humphreys when she referred to the legacy of the 1916 year of commemorations and the vital part that the museum sector has and will play in the future development of the heritage sector in Ireland.

The Irish Museum Survey was carried out by the IMA in partnership with University College Dublin and is the first comprehensive quantitative and qualitative survey of Irish museums, north and south, for more than a decade. The report shows that more than six million people visit Irish museums annually and also outlines the challenges being faced by our museums, with the effects of the economic recession clearly evidenced since the last report in 2004. The real value of the survey is that it provides the tools to make evidence-based arguments both for the importance of museums and the need for increasing the supports available to them.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Sebastian Barry wins Costa Novel award for the second time

Sebastian Barry's Days Without End has been announced as the Costa Novel Award Winner 2016 . Barry's The Secret Scripture won the award in 2008. The judges described the novel as
“A miracle of a book - both epic and intimate - that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history”.

The novel tells the story of Thomas McNulty and John Cole who have fled 1850s Sligo to rebuild their lives in America. Fighting in the Indian wars and the Civil War, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

The Costa Children's Book Award Winner 2016 was another author of Irish interest, Brian Conaghan. Brian was born and raised in the Scottish town of Coatbridge but now lives in Dublin. His winning novel is The Bombs That Brought Us Together

It tells the story of Charlie Law lives in Little Town almost on the border with Old Country where over there he has heard that life is better even though you play by the rules. No one argues with the Rascals who run it and most especially not with the Big Man. Charlie becomes friends with Pavel from Old Country, a dangerous liaison that will force him to make impossible decisions. When the bombs come Charlie must decide between country or friend, trust or betrayal, future or past, right or wrong. Nationalism, war, refugees, trust and friendship are the major themes explored in this thought-provoking novel that will surprisingly make you laugh while you consider such serious issues.

What the Costa judges said about The Bombs That Brought Us Together:
“Timely yet also hilariously funny, Bombs is a necessary take on modern life in extraordinary circumstances.”

The Costa Book Awards honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. There are five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - with one of the five winners chosen as Book of the Year, announced at an awards ceremony in London every January. This year the ceremony will be held on January 31st.