NI writers to join Laureate na nÓg’s ‘Wild’ bus tour

12th April, 2024

Former Children’s Writing Fellows for Northern Ireland Máire Zepf and Paul Howard will be among the writers and illustrators joining Laureate na nÓg Patricia Forde on the road for the ‘Whole Wild World Bus Tour’.

Image of three authors, smiling
Patricia Forde, Paul Howard and Máire Zepf

The tour will bring children’s writers and illustrators to schools, libraries, bookshops and cultural venues all along the west coast of Ireland this April. Travelling on a multicolour, 30-seater coach, the tour begins at Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head in County Donegal, on Monday, 15th April and concludes at Kinsale Library in Cork on Sunday, 28th April. The tour will include stops at Easky, County Sligo; Furbo, County Galway; Ennistymon, County Clare; and Kilorglin in County Kerry, among others.

Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of the Arts Council of Ireland, which is managed and delivered on their behalf by Children’s Books Ireland, and also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Forde will be accompanied by over thirty children’s authors and illustrators, visiting various points on the coastal roadshow to host workshops, readings and artist events for school groups, library groups and families.

Speaking at the announcement of the route, Patricia Forde said: 

“I’m very excited at the prospect of meeting young readers and writers all the way from Malin to Mizen in April! This tour is about igniting imaginations and ensuring that Ireland will have another generation of great writers and illustrators, by bringing books and their creators to an audience that doesn’t often get a chance to meet them in their own local area. We will have so many exciting artists on board, hoping to inspire and to be inspired, to share stories and have lots of fun!”

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland said: 

“It’s so important that our small towns, rural communities and more remote schools get access to really exciting and memorable experiences with Irish children’s books. Patricia Forde is our first Laureate na nÓg from the West of Ireland, and her goal with the Whole Wild World Bus Tour is to make sure that young readers all along the west coast get to meet some of our most talented writers and illustrators, and nurture the spark of creativity within themselves.”

Key dates:

Paul Howard author and illustrator, Children’s Writing Fellow for NI (2021-23) will be joining the bus tour from the start in Malin Head.

Monday, April 15th

Malin – Scoil Naomh Mhuire, Malin Head

Creeslough – Creeslough NS, Scoil Mhuire Creeslough, Glassan NS

Gaoth Dobhair – Leabharlann Phobail Ghaoth Dobhair

Máire Zepf was the first ever Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland (2017-19). She will be joining the bus for a number of stops on the tour.

Thursday 18th April

Belmullet – Event as Gaeilge at Áras Inis Gluaire / Belmullet Library, 10am.

Newport – Newport NS

Louisburgh – Books at One
Westport – Tertulia Books

Friday, April 19th

Leenane – Leenane National School

Furbo – Scoil na bhForbacha

Saturday, April 20th – Galway City

2pm – Live, free family event in conjunction with Cúirt festival, 2pm.

The Children's Writing Fellowship was created as part of Queen’s University and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's (ACNI) joint ten-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies. Fellows are selected by an expert panel, to be based at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s for two years, working with students and engaged in outreach activities.

The full list of participating schools, bookshops, libraries and cultural venues participating in the Whole Wild World Tour can be found at