Laureate na nÓg heads back to school in his home city
Children’s laureate PJ Lynch made a return to school and his home city this week to host a special illustration workshop with pupils at Lagan College, supported by Booktrust NI.
Well known for his detailed illustrations, many inspired by traditional stories, myths and legends, year 10 and 11 pupils had the opportunity to explore drawing techniques with the award-winning illustrator P J Lynch, as part of an event to promote creativity and reading for pleasure.
Appointed as Laureate na nÓg in May 2016, PJ Lynch is the fourth artist to hold the prestigious title. An initiative of 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. The honour 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.
Liz Canning, BookTrust Northern Ireland Manager said:
“Reading for pleasure has a huge impact on children’s lives, helping them to develop social skills, aid educational development and encourage emotional growth. A love of reading does not need to stem purely from academic, text heavy books. Books that are full of words and illustrations are equally as important if they help inspire a love of reading. We are delighted pupils of Lagan College have the opportunity to take part in an illustrations masterclass by the current Laureate na nÓg, helping them understand the important role illustrations play when drawing individuals into books and stories.”
The event is one of a series of author visits to secondary and primary schools, funded through the National Lottery by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council, commented:
“Introducing children to high quality literature at a young age can inspire a life-long love of reading and introduce them to a world of creativity. It has been a pleasure to meet with PJ today and see the impact that his work has had on students here, an experience which I am sure will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Speaking at Lagan College, PJ Lynch, said:
“It’s a great thrill for me to be back in Northern Ireland in my role as Laureate na nÓg. From CS Lewis to Oliver Jeffers and with people like Martin Waddell, Anita Jeram and Sam McBratney in between, Northern Irish authors and illustrators have made a huge contribution to the world of Children’s Books. I see it as my job to remind our children of that and maybe to encourage a few budding picture book creators from the next generation."
PJ Lynch is currently based in Dublin and has worked as a children’s book illustrator since leaving Brighton College of Art in England in 1984, and has illustrated over twenty books, including modern editions of classic books such as Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.