This week sees the launch of my new book Keepsake, published by the lovely Little Island crew!. It will be launched in Stonehouse Books, courtesy of bookseller extraordinaire Liz Walsh, on Thursday 25th May at 7.00 pm.
It is hard to describe your own book (at least I think it is), but I will try.
It is a tale set in Ireland (in a fictional town called Carrigcapall) and concerns a boy and his horse and a girl and her granny. There are other characters (both human and four legged) who wander in and out of the story – but these four matter most. Three of the characters love horses and that’s a pretty lucky turn of events for Storm, the horse, whose life is in danger.
As I work from character maybe I will leave the description at that for the meantime. Mary Esther Judy, children’s bookseller at Charlie Byrnes Bookshop in Galway, was the first person to review the book in her brilliant blog Fallen Star Stories and you can find it here.
I have been lucky enough to have a primary school down the road from me reading the book pre publication – St John’s Senior in Kilkenny. They selected the book as their One School, One Book project and have been doing mighty work on it for the past few weeks. One of the teachers at the school, the inimitable Orla Mackey, prepared a Keepsake workbook for the students with all sorts of wondrous and creative ideas in it. These notes will be available on the Little Island website as well as on Seomra Ranga, and I will put up a link to both on my own website.
Here is some of their work!
Only getting round to putting up a few pictures of this now. Was a lovely launch – great crowd and they all seemed merry! Lots of family there, plus members of my writing group Gemma Hussey and Jean Flitcroft, plus members of my young writers group from the Kilkenny Vocational School, a spectacular cake made by Nicky Read of Nicky’s Cakes and all taking place at the wonderful Stonehouse Books. A big thank you to Liz, Tara and Claire for all the work, and to Palmyra Restaurant for the delicious food. Best hummus I’ve tasted. Also great to see Dubray Books well represented at the launch with their children’s book club, and The Book Centre as well! As I have said many times we are blessed with our booksellers. Conor Hackett, the Walker Rep in Ireland was down from Dublin – thanks Conor for making the trip and for being part of such a wonderful publisher.
I was lucky to have Tom my partner there – author of Old Friends, and all our children – Amy, Christie, Kate, Aisling and Maurice, as well as my parents and a great representation of the O’Neill clan. Christie, as you will see from the pics, did the reading – far better than I could have done. Greatly appreciated. And Gemma spoke as well before I mumbled my thanks! So, a big thank you to everyone who was there – and to the two visitors to Kilkenny who wandered in from the street wondering what the hubbub was about and then bought a copy of the book! An unusual memory of a visit to Ireland, the launch of a book set in Zambia.
What is not love about the Kilkenny bookshops? Stonehouse Books, The Book Centre and Dubray books all with beautiful window displays of The Sleeping Baobab Tree! How privileged am I, as an author, to be living in a city like this? And not just bookshops – but bookshops staffed by dedicated and passionate booksellers. Couldn’t ask for more.
In brilliant company in Dubray Books, Kilkenny
And a fearsome lion at work in The Book Centre
Sunny Stonehouse Books
Dubrays in Market Cross centre
The Book Centre
Stonehouse Books, Kieran Street (launch venue)