Everyone at Little Island is totally, insanely delighted, ar sceitimíní ar fad, at the appointment of our wonderful author Patricia Forde as the seventh Laureate na nÓg (Ireland's Children's Literature Laureate). We have been thinking for ages that Trish should be laureate. (We think a lot. We think good things.) We have been nominating her. We have been crossing our fingers so hard they nearly broke off. And finally, finally … it’s Trish! Laureate na nÓg 2023-26. Congratulations! Comhgairdeachas!
Why are we so happy? Well, we at Little Island have published six of her books –SIX! And we are just about to publish a seventh, her new novel, The Girl who Fell to Earth, in June 2023. So obviously we think she’s ar fheabhas – and it is very gratifying indeed to find that the Irish children’s literature community agrees with us about Trish’s splendiferousness. Is duine den scoth í agus samhlaitheoir iontach, mar is eol dúinne ar an oileáinín le fada an lá, mar is eol don saol.
But that’s not the only reason. Not even the main reason. The reason we are so very thrilled is that we know, from experience, what a warm, funny, gifted writer Patricia Forde is; what a fabulous storyteller she is; how fantastic she is when she talks and reads to children (and adults); how delightedly kids respond to her; how widely the ripples spread out wherever she goes. That’s the I-love-books ripples. These is-breá-liom-leabhair ripples will go bubbling and widening and surging up and out all over Ireland for the next three years, while Trish is our laureate for children’s books. And that means that children who meet her, who see her, who hear her, will want to pick up a book – one of her books, or any book – and will quickly find themselves lost in an imaginary space that only children can enter. (It’s true. Adults can stick their toe in, or their nose, but it’s not the same at all.) We know children will enjoy that experience hugely. And that in turn will give them a gift they have for life – love of books.
Things have come full circle. While I was laureate (2010-12) – this is kind of mad, I know – I set up Little Island, an Irish company totally dedicated to publishing books for young readers. Over the years we have published quite a few books by laureates. (Another one from the former laureate Eoin Colfer is coming out just around the same time as Trish’s new book. So you see!) Publishing books by laureates is a piece of cake. Well, no, it isn’t, but it’s easier than some things I can think of. But publishing books by a person that we knew would make a super laureate and then for that person actually to become laureate – that’s a whole birthday cake; maybe even a whole party! Cúis chóisir.
As the first Laureate na nÓg, I can tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to know that children have more and better access to books because we have such an inspired thing as a laureateship for children’s books. And so I am now absolutely thrilled to be able to call myself the editor of the new Laureate na nÓg, and to have the pleasure and the fun of working with her on her books to bring them to the children of Ireland and the world. Who’d a thunk it!
Iar-Laureate na nÓg
Editor, Little Island Books
Note: Explore Trish's books!
Photo credit: Julien Behal
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