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ireland: family day at the lexicon!

Whenever I get invited to Ireland, I always jump at the chance because they look after writers and illustrators so well, and get excited about books and animation, with big exhibitions and family events. This week after my trip to Liverpool, I made the 20-minute-or-so flight across the Irish Sea to Dublin, going on to Dún Laoghaire, where my co-author Philip Reeve and I put on three Pug-a-Doodle-Do! events featuring all four books we've done together and an activity book that wraps them all up. Here's my favourite audience drawing from the weekend:



It's a Sea Monkey board game (EEP!) based on the ones featured in Pug-a-Doodle-Do! and which we drew with the audience's help on stage. In fact, the Sea Monkeys featured quite prominently in the event, despite the pug-themed title. They have a habit of taking things over. Here's a member of the audience demonstrating what a Sea Monkey's face would look like 'doing a poo', so I could draw it. (It's all terribly educational.)



Besides Pug-a-Doodle-Do!, Philip and I helped author Sarah Webb officially open an exhibition of work at the DLR LexIcon library by a group she's been mentoring, called the LexIcon Young Writers' Club. Here are the young writers, and congratulations to them!


Photo by Peter Cavanagh


I am Dún Laoghaire is a lovely show, in a lovely space.



Here's one of the writers featured:


Photo by Peter Cavanagh

Some of the pictures and pieces of writing were memoirs of older relatives:



And this one made me laugh! I think maybe it was my favourite.



This one was very sad, and seemed very grownup for such a young writer.



And the real star of this whole thing is Sarah Webb, who's a much-loved author of children's books in Ireland, but who gives so much of her time to promoting in Ireland the work of other writers, young and old. Not only has she set up this exhibition and organised numerous Mountains to Sea book festivals, but she organised our trip and took Philip and me on a school visit to Alexandra College. (THANK YOU, Sarah!)



One thing you learn when visiting schools is that Fridays can be a little nicer in the staff lounges than other days of the week. In Ireland, this is particularly true: Friday is CAKE DAY.



And Alexandra College did itself proud.



Even Cadbury's has a cake specially marketed for this demographic.



Here's Philip extolling the wonders of the Nom-o-Tron, the food-synthesising machine from our book Cakes in Space. At one point, he gets a bit too cheeky.



But I never let him get away with that sort of thing.



Thanks so much for hosting us, Alexandra College! And Dubray Books, for zooming off to get extra books when they sold out! Our next stop was DeptCon at the Tivoli Theatre, a con devoted to Young Adult books. Philip and writer Lauren James had hit it off at a panel earlier at the Edinburgh Festival and were glad for a reunion:



My contribution to DeptCon was saving Lauren from a rather Fearsome Beast.



Here's Philip's panel event with MA Bennett and Will Hill, hosted by Peadar Ó Guilín. (I finally learned how to say 'Peadar' correctly, the Irish version of Peter. It's like 'patter', how an American person would say 'the patter of little feet'. ('Padder' to an English person?) Anyway, that issue had been niggling at me for years.



Here's lovely Liz Scott, the freelance publicist who'd been working with Sarah Webb and my Liverpool team to coordinate the whole trip. She's amazing.



Big thanks to Dubray Books, Liz, Sarah, the events teams, and everyone who came along! (Here's a free downloadable Pug-a-Doodle-Do! comic drawing sheet, if you or your loved ones are looking for something to keep them busy.)

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