Last Saturday’s Sunday Times Magazine cover story, ‘Bono the shades come off’ (21 June 2009) by Chrissy Iley, mentions that Bono always has a few books on the go, we think that one of them in particular is an excellent choice:
“There are books everywhere. He likes to read about three at once. Currently there’s one about a tribe of pirates from the Barbary coast who took 130 Irish people from a town in County Cork and sold them as slaves in Algeria. And he’s reading Richard Dawkins’s A Devil’s Chaplain. An edition of Seamus Heaney is never far away, and beside it is the Koran given to him by Tony Blair.”
The book about ‘a tribe of pirates’ is Des Ekin’s The Stolen Village. I’m not surprised Bono is enjoying it – it’s an amazing book, the true story of the only pirate raid ever recorded on Irish soil. In 1631, pirates from Algiers descended on the little harbour town of Baltimore, west Cork, captured almost all the villagers and carried them away to a life of slavery in North Africa. Only two of them ever returned. It’s a really great read and Des brings the sights and sounds of seventeenth century Algiers, and the fate of the Irish villagers in their unfamiliar surroundings, vividly to life.
I’m just in the process of getting two of our autumn 2009 children’s books ready to go to print. Both of them are ‘series’ books, which I love working on as the characters have time to grow and develop over several books.
Féile Fever by Joe O’Brien is a follow-up to last year’s Little Croker, about GAA-mad Danny Wilde and his Gaelic football team. I really enjoyed working on this second book about the kids from Littlestown, and just like when I finished Little Croker this time last year, I feel I know WAY more about GAA moves and match tactics than I did before I started! There’s a great story as well as the football action – new boy Todd Bailey is an Aussie Rules sensation, but does he have a secret? And has he caught the eye of Trinity, the girl Danny has a soft spot for? It’s a really good read and I can’t wait to see the finished book.
Another of my titles nearing completion is Alice to the Rescue by Judi Curtin, the seventh book in the ‘Alice & Megan’ series. This is the longest series I’ve ever edited, and I’ve really, really enjoyed keeping up with Alice and Megan over the last four years. The text is edited now, all the final artwork (by Woody Fox, who has illustrated all the books in the series) is in and the cover is finalised … there’s only a few tiny tweaks left and then it will be off to the printers. Fans of Alice and Megan can get their hands on it in early September 2009.
Helen Carr, Editor
I’m very excited and pleased that we’re going to be publishing a seventh book in the popular ‘Alice & Megan’ series by Judi Curtin this autumn. I’ve been Judi’s editor since 2005, and it’s really, really enjoyable to work on a series like this where the characters (best friends Alice and Megan, plus their families, friends, teachers, etc.) develop from book to book and deal with new things as they make the transition from primary to secondary school.
I’m just beginning work on the as-yet-unnamed seventh book, and it’s a great read. I’m really looking forward to taking it towards publication and working with Judi on it, and to commissioning more illustrations from the brilliant Woody Fox!