Wed, 11/05/2022 - 10:27
Illustration of matte coloured young people silhouettes of various body types engaging in a mix of realistic and fantastic activities.

As part of its Rainbow Libraries initiative, Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Services are inviting young LGBTQIA+ writers and artists to take part in the free Rainbow Library course, developed in partnership with Pop Up Projects and Creative Ireland. Participants can have their work published and the opportunity to collaborate with an established writer and illustrator.

Young LGBTQIA+ applicants with an interest in writing or drawing are invited to email for an application pack and information. Successful applicants will have their work published in a collection with other young artists and will have the opportunity to collaborate with LGBTQIA+ illustrator Kate Alizadeh and writer Kel Menton.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlin, welcomed the initiative, saying, “This is a fantastic opportunity for LGBTQIA+ youth in County Cork to share their stories and to connect with other young people in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. Cork County Council’s Libraries play a vital role in social inclusion and in developing communities. Participants in this course will set a solid foundation for young creative LGBTQIA+ communities and inspire a new generation of writers and illustrators in our county.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey said “Cork County Council endeavours to improve quality of life for all people in our communities. Initiatives like the Rainbow Library course, just one example of the incredible work being done throughout our Library and Arts Services, aim to give people a sense of place, connect them with their community, and, in supporting creativity, contribute to the cultural life of the county.”

County Cork is one of eight locations taking part in The Rainbow Library and the only area from the Republic of Ireland. Other locations include Belfast and Derry in Northern Ireland, Nottingham, Manchester, Basildon, Dumfries and Inverness.

Kel Menton (they/them) is a non-binary writer from Cork. They completed their BA in English Literature in 2019 and their MA in medieval Literature in 2020. They were selected as a Young Writer Delegate for the 2021 Dublin Book Festival. They currently work as an assistant youth theatre facilitator at Graffiti Theatre Company, and as the assistant coordinator for Fighting Words Cork. Their work has been published in the Irish Examiner, Good Day Cork, and the ROPES literary journal.

Iranian-British born illustrator Kate Alizadeh (they/them) graduated from Falmouth University with a degree in Illustration and is now based in Northern Ireland. Kate’s signature style is a wonderful mixture of energetic line, heart-warming characters, contemporary colour and fabulous hand lettering, used to develop an ever-increasing portfolio of gorgeous images for picture books, fiction and brands.

No previous writing or drawing experience is required to apply although a short sample of work is required to be accepted. Applicants who are chosen will be invited to an online event to kickstart the course where they’ll be joined by Kate and Kel who they’ll get to share their insight and creativity with.

For application packs and further information, contact Cork County Council’s Arts Office on 021 4285995 or email