Move over Derek and Roddy, we'll finish the book
IT IS the chance of a lifetime for any youngster who loves books and dreams of being a writer some day.
A competition is being organised that will put the winning young writer's work in a book alongside that of big names like Roddy Doyle and 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' author John Boyne.
The book, 'Beyond the Stars', will be published by HarperCollins later this year It will be a collection of adventure short stories from a stellar line-up of Irish authors and illustrators of children's fiction, including Eoin Colfer, Derek Landy, Roddy Doyle and John Boyne, with illustrations from the likes of PJ Lynch and Niamh Sharkey.
Eleven of the book's 12 stories will come from the established writers. To complete the tome, HarperCollins is launching a search for the 12th and final tale, to be written by a young would-be author between the ages of eight and 16.
The competition closes at the end of June and the winner will be chosen by a panel of experts. The winning story will be illustrated by Irish Children's Laureate Niamh Sharkey.
The book is being edited by Sarah Webb, who reviews children's books for the Irish Independent, and the winner will have the chance to work with the editor before their story is published. As well as seeing their story in a book alongside the star writers, the victor will also win a selection of books for their school library. Full details of the competition can be found at www.harpercollins.co.uk/beyondthestars.
The book will be published in October and all profits will go to Fighting Words, the centre for creative writing set up in Dublin in 2009 by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love. Run by volunteers, it offers free creative writing tuition to children.
Doyle said: "Fighting Words is not state funded, and our existence is dependent on people who believe passionately in what we do – like the writers and illustrators of these brilliant stories. We are especially grateful to a great friend of Fighting Words, Sarah Webb, the creative and driving force behind this wonderful collection."