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Guest Blogs


A blog by Flourish & Blogs

Flourish & Blogs is a blog all about writing for children. It's run by Olivia Hope and Niamh Garvey. Olivia Hope is a children’s writer from Killarney, Co. Kerry. She was once a hammer thrower, Sometimes a teacher of all subjects; from English to ice-cream making, And has worked in a variety scenarios, from nurseries (plants and children, although not at the same time, unless you count the daffodil incident) to nursing homes. She is unreasonably fond of cheese, French Fancies and is prone to cartwheels. She writes for all ages, and her picturebook “Be Wild” will be published by Bloomsbury. Follow her on Twitter @OliviaMHope Niamh Garvey loves everything to do with children’s books; from reading them, to writing them, and even to smelling them. Except for really boring books… she doesn’t even smell those. She writes stories for children and young adults, plus poetry for adults. She wrote the storyboard for the childrens storybook app “A Raindrop’s Tale” published by Gramercy Consultants on iTunes. She is working towards her dream of getting a novel published. Niamh is a full-time mum and a part-time nurse, living in Cork. She thinks stories are the best way to discover the world, and possibly the only place children should be encouraged to get lost in. Follow Niamh on twitter @msniamhgarvey or on her blog niamhgarvey.com

You can follow online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Kelly McCaughrain interview – three times a winner. PART 2

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 3 June 2019.

The second part of an interview with Belfast writer Kelly McCaughrain, fresh from her unprecedented triple win at the Children’s Books Ireland’s book awards  for her book Flying Tips for Flightless Birds (Walker Books).  Since its publication, her debut that has been nominated for more than seven awards, including the prestigious Carnegie Prize and since the original interview has also won the Northern Irish Book award 2019, as voted for by pupils across Northern Ireland.   As a debut,...

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Kelly McCaughrain interview – three times a winner. PART 1.

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 27 May 2019.

  This week on Flourish and Blogs we have Belfast writer Kelly McCaughrain, fresh from her unprecedented triple win at the Children’s Books Ireland’s book awards. I first heard Kelly reading from her young adult book ‘Flying Tips for Flightless Birds’ (Walker Books) as a New Voice at the CBI’s annual conference, last September, and was struck by how witty and fresh the story was. Since its publication, her debut that has been nominated for more...

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Judith Kerr – picture book royalty.

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 24 May 2019.

When I was little we used to go to the library every Saturday morning. In the early 80s, I lived on a healthy diet of the Milly Molly Mandy, Dr Doolittle and Mary Poppins series. More often than not, my sisters and I had different tastes, but there was one book that came home again and again ‘Mog – the forgetful cat’. We always had tabby cats and I guess the artwork of a cat...

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LISTOWEL WRITERS’ WEEK – for Children’s Writers too!

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 11 May 2019.

 It’s a new look for the children’s blog Down the Rabbit Hole on Writing.ie, now renamed ‘Flourish and Blogs’ as a nod to one of the most famous bookshops in children’s literary fiction. As a Kerry person I’ve always felt I had part ownership of Listowel Writers’ Week. In fact, ask any Kerry person – this is our festival, founded by Kerry greats, attended by publishing giants and neatly set in a local town square. It...

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A year in the life of a debut author – Cethan Leahy.

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 16 January 2019.

Continuing a series of interviews with Irish children’s authors, Olivia Hope from the Down the Rabbit Hole blog talks to Corkman, Cethan Leahy about his first year as a published author.         So, an easy question first – what was your most significant moment in the past year of being a debut author? Having the actual final physical thing in my hand. I’ll remember the moment not least because in my excitement, I...

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Uncomfortable Children’s Books

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 11 November 2018.

I was recently re-discovering one of my favourite childhood books, Good Mister Tom, when I was struck by how disturbing the story was. I remember reading it as a nine or ten year old, and, despite crying and finding it deeply upsetting, I was also well able to cope with the story, and was hugely relieved by the happy ending. I wondered, at what age would I deem my own daughters old enough to deal...

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A little news on a new Little Miss character.

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 19 April 2018.

Olivia Hope interviews writer and illustrator of the Mr Men and Little Miss series, Adam Hargreaves. It is often the innocuous or the unexpected that can spark story idea. Who knew that when a young Adam Hargreaves asked his father what a tickle looked like that it would inspire one of the most recognisable and fondly regarded book series for young readers – The Mr Men and Little Miss characters. Now in its forty-seventh year,...

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Children’s writers: Why not to follow trends

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 21 March 2018.

Following trends leads to cramped writing. When I first started writing for children, I went into Waterstones and studied the shelves. I thought that if I got to know the type of books that were doing well, then I’d be able to join in. But when I tried to write a story along the lines of the best sellers, my story came out forced, and frankly awful. The story wasn’t true to me. Had I...

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A year of children’s writing events

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 10 January 2018.

Want to understand more about the world of writing for children? Here’s a calendar of events that just might make you a better writer. January is a time where resolutions pepper the air, and good intentions are often spoken, but not acted on. Well, here’s where you can ACT and DO something that will improve your writing skills, introduce you to the Irish kidlit community, and give an insight into what the public side of...

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Magic isn’t just for Christmas; it’s in books all year round.

Posted by Flourish & Blogs on 20 December 2017.

What is it about Christmas that gets children so excited? Their excitement bypasses normal levels and reaches new snow-covered peaks. But what triggers it? Is it looking forward to the feast dinner? The time off school? Meeting their extended families, and feeling that increased sense of belonging? There is so much to look forward to, from presents to the hope of snow. But I’ve been watching my own children’s eyes, and there’s no doubt about...

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