Ireland’s New Children’s Laureate

Congratulations to Niamh Sharkey, on becoming our new Children’s Laureate. The announcement was made by President Michael D Higgins at a ceremony in the headquarters of the Arts Council this morning. To my great disappointment, I couldn’t attend because I knackered my back over the weekend, and am currently walking around like some lop-sided zombie, but I wish Niamh lots of success in the role. She will be a great ambassador for children’s books, while having a very different approach to Siobhan Parkinson, our first Laureate.

Niamh is the author and illustrator of numerous beautiful picture books, including ‘The Ravenous Beast’, ‘Santasaurus’ and ‘I’m a Happy Hugglewug’. The Hugglewugs are soon to star in their own new animated series, produced by Brown Bag Films and broadcasted worldwide on the Disney Channel, so Niamh’s going to be run off her feet for the next couple of years, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does as Laureate, and in what new directions she chooses to take it. One can assume that some focus on illustration will be on the cards, but beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Congratulations again, Niamh.

Book design is one of Niamh’s passions, so I thought I’d post this link to an excellent TED talk I found recently on David Maybury’s blog. Here’s book designer Chip Kidd discussing his art. Enjoy.

Hugglewugs Go Global

Great news from (and for) Niamh Sharkey. She’s teamed up with Brown Bag Films and Disney to create a series about her characters, the Hugglewugs, entitled ‘The Happy Hugglemonsters’. And it’s going to be broadcast on Disney Junior in over 150 countries worldwide. Cathal Gaffney of Brown Bag said, “We are delighted to announce the production of this series, it is great to work with home grown talent like Niamh Sharkey and to bring an original idea like this to a global Disney Junior audience is hugely satisfying for all involved.”

Niamh’s been pretty tight-lipped about this; we both had work in the recent ‘Enchanted’ exhibition that toured the country – including a show in her home-town of Skerries – so I would have been in contact with her a fair bit . . . and she didn’t mention a word of this. Congrats to her on her fantastic and well-deserved success. Methinks she and her family will be having a very Happy Christmas this year.