Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dream come true: The Calvin and Hobbes search engine

This is the kind of things that happen when you type "Christmas" in the Calvin and Hobbes search engine:
Calvin and Hobbes

No, you're not hallucinating. There is such a thing as the Calvin and Hobbes search engine. Type in any word and see all the relevant strips come up. *_*
Beware: it's ridiculously addictive!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rachel Von Kooij in Dublin

It was a very international evening: a Dutch author writing in German and living in Austria came to Dublin to celebrate the release of the translation into English of her novel set in Spain.
The launch took place at the Residence of the Austrian Embassy and, although there was no mulled wine or anything christmassy on account of it being still November, it was a warm and lovely event with lots of familiar faces as well as some new ones and some in between faces too (they're the faces of people you've been chatting to for weeks via email but have actually never met).
Rachel Von Kooij read from Bartolomé, The Infanta's Pet in Siobhán Parkinson's translation for Little Island, before answering Marian Keyes' questions together with Siobhán.
Bartolomé is the story of a crippled boy in 16th-century Spain who gets spotted by the Infanta who wants him to become her human pet. When asked if she had considered watering down the cruelty and the occasional violence apparent in some of the scenes, Rachel replied:
"No. Not at all. With children, you can do violence and cruelty with words, because the images that the words will conjure up are images that the child can cope with. If you tell the tale of Hansel and Gretel, the child will come up with an image of the witch and an image of the oven that he or she can cope with. But it doesn't work with film, where you impose an adult-made image on the child viewer."
You can read the first chapter of Bartolomé here and a review over there.

Monday, November 19, 2012


There were heroes and monsters, cats and rabbits, zombies and sellotape, and sure it was great!
Madness was had by all at the Little Island launch last Saturday in Smock Alley Theatre, including yours truly...

More can be seen at Sadie's too, including the aforementioned zombies.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Inchicore, Ilac Centre and other places beginning with I

The furthest I've had to travel so far...
Shop local! There may be an author near you...

Let's hear it for Kettle Horse Boy and Super Girls!
More brilliant characters, created this time by the ladies and gentlemen from the Oblate School and Our Lady of Lourdes. Thanks for the hugs!

And now for this week's excitement: the Dublin Book Festival!

A conspiracy of writers.

It's a secret!

Some serious hair action with the girls from George's Hill Presentation School.
Captain Poop Monkey, Black Cat Crazy Hair: you rock!

And, look, a special guest snuck into our session in the Central Library for the Dublin Book Festival.
Siobhán Parkinson, publisher and writer extraordinaire.
Best question of the week (to Sadie): 'How do you feel when you draw?'

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kick off

And so the Dublin Book Festival was launched last night in the very splendid venue of Smock Alley Theatre. Are you ready for a near-week of publishing, talking, reading, bookmaking, treasure-hunting and writing extravaganza?
Alternatively, you can just curl up with a good book (any book, of course) in the kids' area. Fancy bean bags or what?!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Are ye ready for this? Monsters VS Superheroes madness at the Dublin Book Festival next week.

Do come and celebrate Jean Flitcroft's Pacific Giants, Annie Grave's new Nightmare Club titles and, yes, our Mad Cap in Smock Alley Theatre on Saturday 17 November at 1pm.
The more, the crazier!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

38 and fresh as ever!

(c) Michelle Moloney King. Loving the style!
Inis 38 is here! Where? In your letterbox, your favourite bookshop, your local library, your neighbour's day's post, your greedy hands... 

Everything you ever wanted to know about Sally Nichols, Alexis Deacon, Jutta Bauer, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, eco children's literature, selling children's books to adults, the last Artemis Fowl, the latest David Almond, the first Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland and much, much more all brought to you by a host of brilliant contributors (if I say so myself).
For a sneak peek, click!

Scary Sapphire

Told you she was a psycho cat!
This is Sadie's handiwork and the setting is Imaginosity during their Festival of Stories where we met more superheroes such as Pumpkin Girl and Mister Amazing...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fan mail

This fan is looking into new and interesting ways to read Mad Cap...
(The hair, I'm told, is not an imitation of Madgie's. Some say it's the other way round.)
Inline images 1

Friday, November 2, 2012

That's what I like to see!

Indeed it is!
Mad Cap is on loan in lots of Dublin City libraries and, mysteriously, in Charleville Mall, one must apparently 'reserve [one]self' before reading it. Quite the experience, I know!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From one festival to the next: Roll on November!

So, the Children's Books Festival is nearly officially over. Didn't get enough? Fear not, dear reader, as the Dublin Book Festival is on its merry way! Running from 13 November to the 18th, it's got an impressive and varied line-up of writers for little, medium and big people including some of your favourites such as Biddy Jenkinson, Laura Jane Cassidy, Oisín McGann, David Maybury, Alan Corbet, Niall de Búrca and many more. There will be storytelling, treasure-hunting, book-binding, reading and general shenaniganning. 

Oh yeah, and there will be me... More on this last bit later.
Meanwhile, the website is here. The children's programme is ici and the school events are listed aqui.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Festival of Stories 2012 at Imaginosity


Will you be there? Because I will. And Sadie, and Mad Cap and Norbert and Manic Mudrick and and Scrum the cat.... The works!

We will be doing a Hero DIY workshop on Sunday 28 (yes, THIS Sunday) at 4pm. You have been warned!
All the details are here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Job

Not sure I mentioned this here before, but I find myself wearing a new and dashing hat: that of reviews editor for Inis, Children's Books Ireland's magazine. Proud, excited, terrified, snowed-under don't even begin to describe how I've been feeling over the last few weeks. 

I'm currently in the tricky but well-documented process of Doing Every Thing At the Same Time: updating contacts, introducing myself to contributors and publishers, fighting off the avalanche of email, reorganizing my (and other people's) life so that I can attend launches, previews and presentations (got my first invite to Xmas drinks today!), reading advanced proof copies to try and determine what's the next unmissable big thing and skimming through gabillions of books before assigning them the best reviewers possible.
I'm also still an Author with work to do, like 3 non-fiction books to write for my French publishers, 1 perhaps-translation (after the New Year, phew!), lots of perhaps-online articles and oooh, a perhaps-novel in English. And did I mention the school and library visits for Mad Cap?
Oh yeah, and I'm making dinner, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In full swing

And so, the 2012 Children's Books Festival is entering its second week and going strong. This is my first year taking part from the author side of the fence and it's been quite something so far!
After 7 events in as many days, my brain has started getting into high-spin mode, but I still have plenty of adrenaline left in my system to buoy me up through the exhaustion, the rain and the lack of chocolate around the house. (I hope).
Last week saw my partner in workshop Sadie Cramer and myself visit the sun-flooded library in Stillorgan where we met two bunches of very keen and very alert ladies. Both were 5th class, the first lot came from Mount Anville, the second from Saint Raphaela's (whom the book is partly dedicated to) (yes, it was a bit of a shock to them) (long story). We saw some very cool heroic logos created there and some terrific cliffhangers written (I for one want to know what became of Juliette Froggy Girl please!).
On the Friday I ventured all on my lonesome to meet this strange species called... boys, in Willow Park School in Blackrock. Like the girls before them, two groups of third class tried their hand at writing about a superhero of their making: how he/she/it got superpowers, what happened when he/she/it first met Santa/monkeys from outer space/another hero, that sort of thing. To spice it up though they had to include a random word (given by me) in their story, in any shape and guise they wanted. Which is how we ended up with Kettle Man. (And also Super Hot Dog Man but that had nothing to do with me or the approaching lunch time).
Finally on Monday 8 October, I joined forces with Sadie again to explore Castletymon Library in South Dublin, where we were awaited by three(separate) groups from St Kevin's GNS, Scoil Aonghusa and Scoil Cholmcille. There was some serious writing and illustrating here too. The last class we met was actually reading Chop-Chop, Mad Cap! so it was a slightly different experience for us. For them too, in fact, as they got a special treat in the shape of an extract from Mad Cap's next adventure and as they made suggestions of titles and plot lines for the third or fourth instalment in the series.
Those guys were very optimistic! Thanks!
Over the week we got lots of brilliant, pointed questions ranging from technique to inspiration via career, money and 'can you speak French to us please?' But I think I should leave you with the best questions of all, asked by one of the lads in Castletymon:
'How big would you say is your love of writing?'
Can anybody trump that? I think not!

For more pics of the week that was, head over to Sadie's blog here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mad Cap on the web!

Hear, hear! Mad Cap of the Rent-a-Hero Agency has made herself a wee home on line at
Go have a look and find out some secret stuff about herself and Norbert (and me!). (And cool Mad Cap logo or what?!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back from Newbridge

And so, Sadie and myself were in Newbridge. Locked up in a room full of super heroes of all shapes and sizes as well as their creators. Electricity Man, Smelly Man, Hello Kitty, the Big-Eyed Bug, Sweet Tooth, Valkyrie Cain, Rat Girl and her best pal Cat Girl, Mega Man, Jonathan Ripples, Caffein Man, Dog Man, Weather Man, Kitten Cat, Tea Man and the rest... not to mention their respective arch enemies and secret weaknesses (including decaf coffee, worms and naan bread)... there was some serious imagining going on.
And thanks to Sadie you can have an idea of what we all got up to.

For more, head over to Sadie's blog and look out for more shennanigans during the Children's Books Festival, starting next week. Stillorgan, Castletymon, Blackrock... here we come!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everything you ever wanted to know...

... or not! My interview for Megan at Reading Away the Days is live and Megan has one extract from the book AND 2 copies of Mad Cap to give away. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reading Away the Days

Megan, blogger extraordinaire at Reading Away the Days, is hosting a fantastic kidlit event for the whole of this month: author interviews, reviews, book excerpts, giveaways, there's something new every day. Today you can find out about our own Mary Murphy (here) and here's the programme for the rest of the week (dedicated to books for 0/5 year-olds):

Wednesday 5th September: A post on Kipper the dog & review of Hide Me, Kipper the 18th Birthday edition book plus giveaway of Animals & bedtime stories mini library
Thursday 6th September: A post on memories of our parents reading to us featuring authors answers & reviews of some easy read books also a giveaway of a Winnie the pooh book
Friday 7th September: Guest post from children's author & illustrator Rebecca Emberley & A Funny Bones Book Feature
Saturday 8th September: A post on the importance of parents reading with or to their children with author answers & Peppa Pig feature plus giveaway of a Jakers & Jay Jay the jet plane book
Sunday 9th September: Children's author Judi Curtin spotlight & review of Mother Goose Action Rymes by Axel Schuffler

And I can tell you now what Tuesday 11th September will be about: one Madgie Cappock aka Mad Cap, missing butchers and tap-dancing. I shall reveal no more for the time being...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fun in class: Mad Cap teacher's notes

Hullo, world! I'm not quite back to school yet, but the folks at Little Island have been busy putting up the teachers notes I did for Mad Cap on their website: there's some classic stuff (questions and food for thought) as well as more... unusual material such as how to make an origami rabbit and a riddle from Norbert's Temple of Codes.
It's free and easily downloadable, so off you go and share it! It's only one click away!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We have a winner...

Never mind the lack of collaboration of some...
The Truly Innocent Hand came to the rescue...
 And we have a winner of the MAD CAP giveaway!
(we also have, you will note, several home-grown artichokes of legend)

Friday, July 20, 2012

What are YOU doing in September?

Hero DIY WorkshopAs for me (and artist Sadie Cramer) I'll be busy running the fantaglorious Hero DIY workshop at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge, on sat 22nd.

Madgie Cappock aka Mad Cap and her best friend Norbert Soup of the Rent-a-Hero agency are recruiting new members. Do you have what it takes to join the gang? If you think you can tackle elephant-sized cats, crazy purple-haired old ladies and tap-dancing rabbits, the job could be yours! Author Juliette Saumande and artist Sadie Cramer will help you develop your own superhero identity and brush up your heroic CV, in this fun-filled writing and illustration workshop. You'll be ready to fly to the rescue in no time!
Wanna come with?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


So, now that I have my precious author's copies of MAD CAP, I am in the very enjoyable position to GIVE ONE AWAY to you, my charming readers. I'm running the competition here, on my French site and on good old Facebook as well so that you can be in with a chance of winning wherever you might be.

How? you ask.
Easy peasy, I answer.
Just drop me a comment down below (or on my French site or on Facebook) before 25 JULY. All entrants will be thrown (metaphorically speaking) into a hat (literally) and a Trusted Tool of Fate* will be used to designate the winner.
* if he's not too busy watching the Muppets.

Best of luck to all!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not one, but two...

... chapters of Mad Cap are visible by all and their grannies on the Little Island website right here. Go, go, go!
(Meanwhile, I'm working on my teacher's notes, my future workshops and school visits, and the artichokes growing in our garden. You?)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

First review!

If you don't know Mary Esther Judy's blog at Fallen Star Stories, shame on you! Mary works for Dubray in Galway and is, in short, great. Her blog is full of all the good stuff they get up to in the West and it also features a wealth of brilliant reviews of picturebooks, YA novels and other reads. And this week, Mary is reading Mad Cap!

Here's what she has to say about it:
This is a thoroughly enjoyable read for young, confident readers. Mad Cap is personable, funny and the kind of girl you'd want to have around. The setting and events provide great excitement. It can be difficult to find a book with a central girl character that is strong, likable and true to life. But here she is! The flow of the story and the relationship between the characters make it highly suitable for boys and girls alike. And the presentation of the book adds to this notion, as the illustrations and cover do not rely on a feminine 'pink-girly' image, even though the central character is a girl. A great, new read... but be prepared for your own little super-heroes to be inspired into action. Utterly recommended!!
Blush and chuffed, thanks Mary!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not to miss: Read for the world at the Irish Writers Centre

I'll miss it as it's tomorrow and I'll be busy tucking in more Parisian delicacies, but it sounds deadly!

The Irish Writers' Centre are attempting to break the world record for "most authors reading consecutively from their own books"! From Friday 15th June at 10am right through to Bloomsday 16th June at 2pm, 111 writers (including children's favourites Sarah Webb, John Boyne, Carlo Gébler, Conor Kostick, Alan Nolan, Jane Mitchell, Marita Conlon-McKenna, Sarah Rees Brennan, 2012 CBI Awards shortlistee Roddy Doyle and winner of the CBI Book of the Year Award Celine Kiernan) will read for 15 minutes each, for 28 hours straight! Phew! The event will be broadcast LIVE online at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chop-Chop, Mad Cap!

And so, here it is, the fantasmegaglorious cover of my very first novel and actual book in English: Chop-Chop, Mad Cap!
It's all there: the psycho cat, the spuds of doom, the chocolate stains, the mystery, the crazy hair and er... Mad Cap herself!
The art is by Sadie Cramer, the design by Paul Woods and the publishing by Little Island.
While the printers are busy running their press, I'm taking a MOSTLY DESERVED break in lovely Paris, where I am thinking about school and library visits, reading great books, eating intriguing ice-cream and devising ways to achieve world domination. The usual.

Chop-Chop, Mad Cap! will be available from the bestest bookshops (real and virtual) from July 6th. Can't wait!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Greenhouse literary agency funny prize

It sounds a bit like the title for one of those romantic novels, but this is a very real prize and a very exciting opportunity for unagented writers of funny stuff for kids. Whether you write picturebooks, junior fiction or prose for teens, this is one for you.

The Greenhouse Funny prize is open to un-agented writers who are currently resident in the UK and Ireland. Entries will be judged by me and guest judge Leah Thaxton, Publishing Director of Egmont Children’s Books (and discoverer of Andy Stanton).
The winner will get an offer of representation from the Greenhouse and a full weekend ticket to the wonderful Festival of Writing that runs 7-9 September ’12 (worth £525). The winner will also be presented with a bottle of champagne at the Festival’s gala dinner on the Saturday night.
Everything you need to know is here. The deadline is Monday 30 July.
On that note, I'm off to see what funny manuscripts I may have sitting in my drawers...

Friday, May 25, 2012

An artist in Paris: it could be you!

A residence is on offer! Check it out!

The City of Paris and the Institut français, France’s international agency for cultural policy affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, offer a programme of residences dedicated to established writers and artists in the fields of visual and performing arts who have already achieved international recognition. The residences take place at the Recollets International Exchange and Accommodation Centre, a magnificent building in the centre of Paris, opened in 2003.
More info over here. Deadline for applications: 17th of June.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Children's Books Ireland Award 2012... nearly there!

Amazing performances. Unbearable tension. Incredible good taste. Yes, there's less than a week to go before the results of the Children's Books Ireland Awards. Monday will see all revealed!

(oh yes, the Eurovision is on this weekend too...)