A book for teenagers and young adults featuring a school girl who solves her friends problems in return for favours has been chosen for the ‘One County One Book’ accolade for 2022 by Cork County Council’s Library Service.
And secondary school and Youthreach students from throughout the county gathered in Cork County Council’s Vertigo restaurant, at the top of County Hall, for the unveiling of Not My Problem by local writer Ciara Smyth as the recipient of this year’s award.
The Library Service supplied 800 copies to schools and YouthreachCentres across Cork County at the beginning of the school year, while copies of the book are also available in local branches and mobile libraries, as well as online as an e-book via Borrowbox.
In celebration of the book, students were invited to Vertigo at Cork County Hall for book discussion with author, Ciara Smyth earlier this month. Further online events will be held this month to allow students the opportunity to meet and discuss the book.
In an interview she gave following the publication of ‘Not My Problem’, the author said that she was really interested why people do things that don’t appear to make much sense to those observing from the outside.
"So when I had the idea for the problem solving character I had to figure out why someone would do that, and why they might stick to their plan even when it’s falling apart,” she said.
The author also spoke about the challenges she faced and continues to face as a writer of LGBTQ+ fiction.
"I kind of see myself as writing kinda funny, kinda sad contemporary YA with characters who just happened to be lesbians so in some ways I think I underestimated what writing LGBTQ+ fiction really meant.
"Sometimes that has meant feeling side-lined or stuck in a ‘gay YA’ box.
"Other times I’ve been really surprised and moved by what it’s meant to readers to be able to read a book like mine.”
At the One Book One County event in Vertigo, Deputy Mayor Cllr Deirdre O’Brien said it was wonderful to see so many students engaged and enjoying the book which she said explored difficult issues such as addiction and loneliness as well as true friendship.
"This is the second year of the ‘One County, One Book’ initiative and it has proven to be a unique opportunity for young readers to come together to explore issues raised in the books, all the while deepening their appreciation for literature.”
The One County, One Book initiative is part of a series of event’s underway throughout the month of November to celebrate Cork County Council’s Teen Literature Festival.
Additional events include author and creative writing talks with Louise O’Neill, Mary Watson and Sue Divin, as well as Fighting Words workshops with Graffiti Theatre Company. There are also talks about nutrition, social media and cyber safety being offered both online and in library branches.