Writer in Residence Diary Oct 2016

From now until June 2017 I have the great privilege of being the dlr Writer in Residence. I have a lovely room on the top floor of the Lexicon Library in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin and I’m hosting lots of book clubs, writing clubs and book events. October has been such a fun month.

Teen Creatives with Dave Rudden

Dave in Action
Dave in Action

We kicked off our Teen Creatives series with a writing workshop with the wonderful Dave Rudden. Dave’s first book, Knights of the Borrowed Dark came out in March this year and is a stunning piece of work – a fantasy-adventure with lots of twists. (I mentioned this event briefly in the September blog.)

Dave explained that his book is basically a ‘Kid Discovers Magic’ story – but he made it different to all the other books based on a similar premise (including a certain young wizard) by asking himself questions about the plot and the main character.

Who is the kid? Denizen Hardwick

When does his discover his magic? In an orphanage on the day he turns 13

What happens next?

‘On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen soon learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny, or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?’

He gave a fantastic workshop – thanks, Dave! Up next is Oisin McGann – more about that session next month.

Roald Dahl Family Day

The Lexicon Library hosted a Roald Dahl themed Family Day on 8th October and over two thousand children and adults enjoyed workshops, comedy shows and the Great Big Dahl Show with Grainne Clear, Dave Rudden, Stephen James Smith and Enda Reilly.

The Dahl Gang
The Dahl Gang

Book Club

The Book Club gave Boy by Roald Dahl the thumbs up and also loved Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan. Everyone agreed that the artwork was amazing.

Next month’s books are Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers and Beyond the Stars, edited by me!

Writing Club

The young writers visited the Municipal Gallery in the Lexicon and wrote short pieces about some of the art works. We talked about the art and how it made us feel. It’s a wonderful exhibition called Lines of Negotiation and is all about our relationship with the landscape. It runs until 5th November and is well worth seeing.

One of the Artworks from the Exhibition
One of the Artworks from the Exhibition

Library Voices

I managed to catch Library Voices with Margaret Atwood in the Pavilion on Sunday 9th October. My friend, Bert Wright (also my co-curator on the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival) programmes these wonderful events.

The Patrick Kavanagh one man play in the Studio in the Lexicon was also most interesting.

St Michan’s Crypt

I also visited our family crypt under St Michan’s Church in Dublin. It was quite the experience. If you’ve never been down there, do go – it’s fascinating and full of history.

St Michan's Crypt
St Michan's Crypt

Dalkey Library Baby Book Club

I was back in Dalkey for Baby Book Club and we made these spooky ghosts with cotton wool. Our theme: Hallowe’en of course! Next Baby Book Club is Monday 21st November at 10.30am in Dalkey Library.

writer in res 2
writer in res 2

 Drop In Writing Clinics

The drop in writing clinics are proving very popular and I talked to many writers, young and old this month about their work. It’s great to see so much creativity happening in Dun Laoghaire!

We are now taking bookings for the clinic on Wednesday 30th November. Email dlrlexiconlib@dlrcoco.ie to book a place.

Writer in Residence Podcasts

The Writer in Residence podcasts are now up on the dlr libraries website – do take a look! Watch me talk to Eoin Colfer and Marita Conlon McKenna about their work, and recommend some of my favourite children’s books.

Meet the Author - Eoin Colfer

Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival in Limerick

I spent a few days in Limerick helping run the literature strand of this great children’s festival. We held talks and workshops by Margaret Ann Suggs, Shane Hegarty, Grainne Clear, Derek Landy, Patricia Forde, Dave Rudden and local writer, Judi Curtin. It was a fantastic trip.

Grainne Clear Interviewing Derek Landy at Bualadh Bos
Grainne Clear Interviewing Derek Landy at Bualadh Bos


In 2017 my poetry and rhyme collection, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea will be published by O’Brien Press. It will be illustrated by Steve McCarthy and I will be working on the final selection and the edits during my time as Writer in Residence.

And finally, I wrote a picture book this month all about puddles. It was inspired by gazing out my Writer in Residence window one very rainy day!

Yours in writing,

Sarah XXX