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A Beginner's Guide to Writing and Illustrating for Children

Time and date

Saturday 30 January 2021

10:00 am

1:15 pm



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This beginner's guide to writing and illustrating for children is presented by West Cork Literary Festival in association with Children’s Books Ireland and Sarah Webb

Admission: €25

Previous Proper Book event

Have you ever thought about writing for children but don’t know where to start? This webinar is for you – part of the #ProperBook series of practical events and workshops for new and emerging children’s writers.

Discover the recommended word count for a picturebook, how long a middle grade novel should ideally be, what agents and publishers are looking for when it comes to children’s books, and hear from a wide range of book industry experts on all aspects of writing and publishing for children. This back to basics event will provide the no-nonsense information you need to get your children’s book idea off the ground. Plus hear children’s writers and illustrators talk about how they got published and give tips for new writers and illustrators. Come with questions and leave with answers!

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Children’s Books Ireland is the national books organisation of Ireland. Through their many activities and events they aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of books for young people and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland. One of their missions is to champion every child’s right to excellent books and live literature events and support the artists who make that goal possible across the island of Ireland. This event was programmed by Sarah Webb and Aoife Murray for West Cork Literary Festival. 


Join Our Webinar – please arrive into the zoom session at this time


Welcome by Aoife Murray, Programme and Events Manager, Children’s Books Ireland and Eimear O’Herlihy, West Cork Literary Festival 

10.05am to 11.00am 

The World of Children’s Books: From Picturebooks to Young Adult Verse Novels 

Chaired by Sarah Webb, Children’s Writer and Children’s Book Events Programmer 

A whistle stop tour of Irish and international children’s books – different age groups, forms and genres – and what children are currently reading, buying in bookshops and borrowing from libraries. 

Lorraine Levis, Author of Once Upon a Reader: Raising Your Children with a Love of Books and Key Account Executive for Penguin Random House Children’s Books  

Vita Coleman, Assistant Librarian in Bray Public Library, Wicklow County Council Library Service

Rebecca Long, Children’s Books Ireland Book Doctor 

Muireann Ní Chíobháin, Children’s Writer and Irish Language Editor of Children’s Books Ireland Inis Magazine

11.00am to 11.10am  10 minute break  

11.10am to 12.00pm

How I Got Published – Debut Writers Talk about Their Journey to Publication and Share Their Writing and Publishing Tips 

Chaired by Patricia Forde, Children’s Writer 

Ann Murtagh, Author of The Sound of Freedom 

Carol Ann Treacy, Author of Barney Goose 

Ashwin Chacko, Author and Publisher of What Wondrous Shapes We Are 

12.00pm to 12.10pm  10 minute break 

12.10pm to 1.15pm 

The Next Step: Finding an Agent and Getting Published 

Aoife Murray from Children’s Books Ireland talks about the world of agents and publishing with some experts from the children’s book world:

Philippa Milnes-Smith, Managing Director, The Soho Agency, London

Grainne Clear, Commissioning Editor, Walker Books 

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett, Publisher, Little Island Books   

Princess Okonkwo, Editorial Administrator, The O’Brien Press 


Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb is an award-winning children’s writer and creative writing teacher. She runs creative writing clubs for children and reviews children’s books for The Irish Independent. She also programmes children’s...

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Lorraine Levis

Lorraine Levis is a Key Account Executive for Penguin Random House Children’s Books and an Irish Times columnist. She started her career as a children’s bookseller and has built her...

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Vita Coleman

Vita Coleman is Assistant Librarian in Bray Public Library, Wicklow County Council Library Service. She is also a Children’s Books Ireland Book Doctor and reviews children’s books for Inis magazine. She...

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Becky Long

Becky Long received her PhD in children's literature from Trinity College Dublin in 2018. She has been a Book Doctor with Children's Books Ireland since 2016, having graduated from the...

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Muireann Ní Chíobháin

Muireann Ní Chíobháin is an author, screen writer, broadcaster and performer. Her debut Irish language picture book Scúnc agus Smúirín was published by Futa Fata in 2019. It was shortlisted...

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Patricia Forde

Patricia Forde is a children’s writer from Galway, and chairperson of Children’s Books Ireland.  She writes in Irish and in English and has written picture books and novels. Her latest...

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Ann Murtagh

Ann Murtagh is a former primary school teacher. Born in the USA she spent most of her life in Kells, Co Meath and is now living in Kilkenny. She has...

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Carol Ann Treacy

Carol Ann Treacy is a children’s author/illustrator and a designer. Barney Goose – A Wild Atlantic Adventure, recently published by The O’Brien Press is her second children’s picture book. In...

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Ashwin Chacko

Ashwin Chacko is an illustrator & designer living and working in Dublin. He specialises in positive visual storytelling, helping companies connect with their audience through illustrations and design. His compositions focus...

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Aoife Murray

Aoife Murray holds an MPhil in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. She has worked at Children’s Books Ireland since 2012 and is currently Programme and Events Manager at the...

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Philippa Milnes-Smith

Philippa Milnes-Smith is The Soho Agency’s specialist in children's books and media as well as its managing director. Her work ranges from picture books, middle grade fiction and commercial series,...

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Grainne Clear

Gráinne Clear is a Commissioning Editor at Walker Books. Before this she was Publishing Manager and Art Director at Little Island Books, an independent Irish children’s publisher. She has also...

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Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett is Publisher at Little Island Books.

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Princess Okonkwo

Princess Okonkwo is an Editorial Administrator at The O’Brien Press. A recent graduate of the MA in Literature and Publishing at NUI Galway, she has always had a passion for...

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Arts Council - funding literature
Fáilte Ireland
Wild Atlantic Way
CCC Library & Arts Service
Cork County Council
Pure Cork
Creative Places West Cork Islands
RTÉ Supporting The Arts
Maritime Hotel