As part of the Being Creative initiative, Cork County Council Library & Arts Service has transformed this year’s Children’s Book Festival (CBF) into a digital celebration of literature and creativity in County Cork. The new look festival is set to bring the cream of children’s literature and illustration to Cork, with authors making virtual visits to schools and interactive Zoom sessions broadcast in classroom smartboards across the county.
In other years the book festival, part of the national “Right to Read” initiative, has been unable to facilitate some rural locations due to constraints, this year however by the nature of the virtual event, many more schools across the county can participate. Eyeries, Béal na Marbh, Mallow and Cobh were some of the schools taking part last month while Leamlara, Vicarstown, Baltydaniel, Ahiohill, Clogagh, and Ballinspittle get their turn this month. Similarly, the wide range of authors and artists available virtually gives CBF an extra mix of local and international flavour this year.
Highlights include Wicklow based author and illustrator Alan Nolan, creator of the ‘Murder Can Be Fatal’ series, Limerick writer Judi Curtin of ‘Alice & Megan’ series, illustrator Tatyana Feeney bringing her inimitable illustration style, storyteller extraordinaire Paddy O’ Brien regaling tales as Gaeilge and as Bearla and bestselling author Cathy Cassidy joining in all the way from North Wales thanks to the magic of digital technology.
Also joining the stellar line-up is Oisín McGann, writer and illustrator in a range of genres for children and teenagers, mainly science fiction and fantasy, has illustrated many of his own short story books for younger readers and Natasha Mac a Bhaird, author of a children’s biography of Sonia O’Sullivan, who will “visit” two schools in Sonia’s hometown of Cobh.
Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Mary Linehan Foley welcomed the virtual festival,
“This year’s Children’s Book Festival, brought to us by our Cork County Council Library and Arts Service, is part of the Council’s “Keep Well” Campaign, to promote health and wellbeing for everyone during these difficult times. Authors have begun making virtual visits across Cork County to a great reception from the schools. The new digital approach to the annual event has proved a winning formula; the ease of access and use of resources provided by Cork County Council Libraries have made the visits entertaining and educational. The fantastic posters, reviews and stories created by the kids after author visits prove that festival has evolved and evoked a great response from everyone taking part in 2020. While we all look forward to a return to physical events for 2021, this year’s festival in its new format, visiting new places without ever having to leave the cosiness of the classroom setting, has been a great success.”