Sunday 18 March 2018

Double delight as illustrator scoops children's book awards

Katie O’Connor (12) and prize winner Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Katie O’Connor (12) and prize winner Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick was "stunned and shocked" to learn she had won the Children's Book of the Year Award.

The author only realised she had landed the award when Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan began reading aloud from Fitzpatrick's novel 'Hagwitch' before formally announcing her as the winner.

"I couldn't remember any of the opening lines of my book so it took a while for it to sink in," Ms Fitzpatrick told the Irish Independent.

"But when I did realise she was talking about me I was delighted. Completely stunned but delighted."

Ms Fitzpatrick also won the Honour Award for Fiction for the same book.

"To have got two awards makes it really special," she said at a ceremony in the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin's Temple Bar.

The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the leading children's book awards in Ireland. Previous winners include John Boyne's 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', Chris Haughton for 'A Bit Lost' and Kate Thompson for her books 'The New Policeman' and 'The Alchemist's Apprentice'.

Fitzpatrick's novel 'Hagwitch' is set in two different centuries and follows the interweaving adventures of protagonists Flea Nettleworth and Lally.

Nettleworth lives in 16th Century London and works as an apprentice playwright while Lally spends her days travelling the country with her fathers' contemporary puppet theatre company.

"My cousin lived on a barge and travelled around with theatre shows so that was a source of inspiration," she said. "And I have always been interested in old Irish superstitions so they also played a huge part in the story."

Students from Loreto Beaufort, Rathfarnham and Scoil San Carlo in Leixlip presented the Children's Choice Award to Oliver Jeffers for his illustrations in 'The Day the Crayons Quit'. Paula Leyden was awarded the Special Judges' Award for 'The Sleeping Baobab Tree', a story which explores themes of friendship and human rights amid vivid descriptions of the Zambian landscape.

The Honour Award for Illustration went to PJ Lynch for 'Mysterious Traveller'.

Irish Independent

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