Sarah Crossan has been unveiled as the fifth laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature.
The announcement was made by president Michael D Higgins at an Arts Council event on Thursday (17th May) with the One author taking over from illustrator P J Lynch.
Crossan's theme as laureate will be #WeAreThePoets, a two-year project inspiring young people to express themselves through poetry and verse. She will collaborate with a team of writers to deliver workshops, as well as a national event showcasing the young voices that have participated in her Laureate project.
The laureate na nÓg role recognises “the importance of literature for children” according to a spokesperson. It is an initiative of the Arts Council with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Children’s Books Ireland, The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Poetry Ireland. It aims to engage young people with high quality literature and to “underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative life”.
Sheila Pratschke, chair of the Arts Council, said: “Since the appointment of our first Laureate na nÓg in 2010, children all across Ireland and around the world have benefited from the dynamism and commitment of these artists, who have already inspired new generations of readers, writers and illustrators. We are honoured that the widely celebrated author Sarah Crossan is our fifth Laureate na nÓg.
"A fearless and innovative writer, her work is truly breathtaking and her love of literature is simply infectious. Whether through verse or prose, Sarah is constantly breaking new ground in contemporary literature and we are excited to see how she applies her passion for the written and spoken word to this initiative.”
Crossan described the inauguration ceremony as the "proudest moment" of my career.
She said: "Over my two-year term I want to show young people that poetry is an art form that truly belongs to them and therefore bring verse into their daily lives - to get them reading, writing and performing poems with passion and confidence. I will work with successful poets to bring verse alive, especially to those young people who may previously have felt art was not something they could own. I will create a social media campaign to involve as many young people from across the country as possible."
The writer lived in Dublin until she was six-years-old when her family emigrated to the UK. In 2016, Sarah’s verse novel One (Bloomsbury) won the CILIP Carnegie Medal and CBI Book of the Year Award as well as The Bookseller YA Book Prize, the CLiPPA Poetry Award, and many other awards. The author is also in the running for YA Book Prize 2018 for Moonrise (Bloomsbury), which has been shortlisted for various other novels.
Nóirín McKinney, director of arts development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Sarah Crossan is an inspired choice for the fifth all-island Children’s Laureate and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to be working with our cross-border partners to support her island-wide ambassadorial role.”