A picture book illustrator from Belfast, PJ Lynch, has been named as Ireland's new children’s laureate.
Lynch has illustrated over 20 books since 1984, including modern editions of classics such as Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
Ireland's children’s laureate – or Laureate na nÓg as it is known, was established to engage young people with high quality children’s literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative lives.
Lynch said: “Being named the new laureate is one of the proudest moments of my career. I want to explore the magic that happens when words and pictures come together. My theme as Laureate na nÓg will be ‘The Big Picture’ – I plan to do a regular podcast involving live drawing or demonstrating techniques and I’ll invite guests to talk about their drawing passions. I would also love to create a landmark image in a prominent place or places in Ireland as a permanent reminder of the power of pictures to incite the imagination.”
The initiative is run by the Arts Council with the support of Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Children’s Books Ireland and Poetry Ireland, with Lynch was revealed as the laureate at an event at the Arts Council’s offices in Merrion Squareby president Michael D. Higgins.
Sheila Pratschke, chair of the Arts Council, said: “When the Arts Council established this honour in 2010, we could not have anticipated the enormous extent of Laureate na nÓg’s reach or the incredible depth of its impact. From Siobhán Parkinson’s Laureate International Library to Niamh Sharkey’s Pictiúr to Eoin Colfer’s Once upon a Place – each Laureate has left a meaningful creative legacy and inspired a new generation of readers, writers and illustrators.”
The inaugural Laureate na nÓg in 2010 was author Siobhán Parkinson, while the second was author and picturebook maker Niamh Sharkey and the third was best-selling novelist Eoin Colfer.
Picture: Steve Langan