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What’s New for Children at WonderFest? by Sarah Webb

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WonderFest is an online children’s book festival that aims to celebrate and promote Irish books. It was set up in 2020 and is run by a team of Irish children’s writers and illustrators. WonderFest 2021 will take place from 17th to 21st November with a range of events for schools, families and a new strand called ‘WonderFest Inspires’ which will feature webinars and masterclasses for new and emerging children’s writers.

Sarah Webb, Programmer and Team Member of WonderFest, tells us about WonderFest Inspires – a new series of writing and illustration Masterclasses for adults . . .

We have added a whole new strand to the festival – WonderFest Inspires. This strand includes inspirational talks and masterclasses for adults who want to find out more about children’s books, or writing and illustrating for children. Lots of interesting events for new, emerging and established children’s writers or illustrators.

We have four writing and illustration Masterclasses for adults with four incredible teachers, all on Sunday 21st November. They are live, interactive online events with only 15 participants – so book early to avoid disappointment. One is already sold out!

Masterclass – Writing Novels for Children and Teens with Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (SOLD OUT)

A blend of practical writing tips along with creative strategies for developing and sustaining work on a novel for children/teens over the long haul. It will include guidelines caveats and explore principles for writing for these age groups and a discussion on how the different age bands of your target readership can affect key creative decisions including structure, pacing, theme and word count.

Sarah will share some of the proven techniques she has used to help her to get started with her own writing, as well as strategies for building momentum and for bringing a novel for younger readers to completion. We’ll talk about that tricky balance that needs to be struck by those writing for children and teens, i.e. the importance (or otherwise) of being in touch with your own childhood/teen experiences, and the fact that children and teens of today will have very different reference points and life contexts.

Throughout the workshop, you will engage with writing prompts, ideas and exercises that can help you to access the emotional and communicative approaches to writing with younger readerships in mind.

Masterclass – Illustrating Children’s Books – Margaret Anne Suggs (Tickets still available)

https://www.wonderfest.ie/events/12pm-masterclass-illustrating-childrens-books-margaret-anne-suggs/

Illustrating for a children’s book (or for a children’s comic or graphic novel) is not just drawing pictures to go with the words. Pictures can speak louder than words! Join experienced teacher Margaret Anne (Mags) Suggs, and get handy pointers for your illustration career.

You will learn about the art of storyboarding, creative page turns, continuity in character design, stylistic pacing, and about how to create another visual level to your story. Mags will talk about how to plan and create a ‘dummy book’ for your own story and how to approach illustrating someone else’s text. During the workshop the group will discuss what – and how much – to include in your portfolio, and Mags will suggest some good projects to set yourself that may attract the right agents and publishers.

Masterclass – Writing and Illustrating Picturebooks with Mary Murphy (Tickets still available)

https://www.wonderfest.ie/events/2pm-masterclass-writing-and-illustrating-picturebooks-with-mary-murphy/

You have a yen to be involved in picturebooks? You want to write them? Illustrate them? Maybe do both? Step this way…

In this masterclass, Mary Murphy will share her picturebooks experiences, and show some work. To make the event as relevant as possible, Mary especially wants to answer your questions – e.g., What makes a strong picturebook character? How do I know my picture book is ‘ready’? How can I make my work stand out? Is it okay to rhyme? What makes a publisher look twice?

Sign up, and send your burning question to info@wonderfest.ie  by 5th November. Ask about something that has really been niggling at you, or that you have never heard answered, or that you just want to have clarified, once and for all.

Masterclass – Writing Fantasy and Time-Travel Novels for Children and Teens with Eve McDonnell (A few tickets still available)

https://www.wonderfest.ie/events/2pm-masterclass-writing-fantasy-and-time-travel-novels-for-children-and-teens-with-eve-mcdonnell/

Does your story idea have a thimble-full of fantasy or does it bring readers to wild and curious worlds? Join Eve as she explores the challenges and joys of writing otherworldly tales for readers aged 8+. This is an interactive workshop so have pen, paper and your unique imagination to hand. There will be time for Q&A too, and you will have the opportunity to discuss any issues you are currently having with your own fantasy/time-travel work-in-progress. This masterclass is ideal for writers in the early stages of their writing journey.

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND – WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE A PROPERBOOK?

We have two ProperBook webinars during the festival, one for new and emerging children’s writers and another for new and emerging illustrators. Both held in association with the wonderful Children’s Books Ireland

This year we are joined by top UK agent, Clare Wallace

(writing) and Emma Byrne from The O’Brien Press (illustration).

A must for anyone who wants to create brilliant children’s books.

https://www.wonderfest.ie/events/6pm-properbook-webinar-so-you-want-to-be-a-childrens-writer-chair-patricia-forde-rob-grant-clare-wallace-shane-hegarty/

https://www.wonderfest.ie/events/6pm-properbook-webinar-so-you-want-to-be-a-childrens-illustrator-chair-margaret-anne-suggs-ashwin-chacko-tarsila-kruse-emma-byrne/

See you at WonderFest!

WonderFest is presented in partnership with Pavilion Theatre and is supported by Children’s Books Ireland and dlr Libraries and funded by The Arts Council.

https://www.wonderfest.ie/

(c) Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb’s new novel for children, The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street (age 9+) is available now in all good bookshops.

Order your copy online here.

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