October 14, 2008


Back yesterday from France, I had an amazing time and met some amazing people!

I arrived to the little Village of Books, Montolieu which is in the south of France close to Carasonne. Straight into workshops in the School! I gave my workshops through a mixture of French and the international language of illustration... no words required. It didn't really matter that my french was pretty bad. I did an interesting thing with Penni Cotton the organiser. We asked the children to tell the story in french without anyone reading the words. So it was the children's interpretation of my images. It was hilarious! We 'read' The Ravenous Beast this way and they were pretty close to the mark.

On Saturday I met some great people that were also taking part in the Book Festival. We all gave a talk on our work along with other writers, academics and the Mayor too! Gunter an illustrator from Belgium. And Sabien and her sister Dorine who were last spotted heading off down a hill towards Toulouse 100km away on their fold up bikes!

On Monday I did some more workshops with the really little ones. their teacher Magali was amazing! Bonjour Magali! I drew Hugglewugs with the children for about an hour. Some little ones as young as three did amazing drawings. Once we all starting drawing and looking at the images in my books the language barrier did not exist anymore. There was a lively discussion and lots of questions for me. It was really wonderful. I will post up the photos later...


Susan said...

That sounds fantastic (and not only for being in the south of France!)

I liked hearing about the French children telling the story only from the pictures. When I volunteered as a literacy aid at my daughter's school, we used to do that same game with the little ones, letting them tell their own story, just with the pictures in the story book, after we'd hidden the words behind paper. It was supposed to take the pressure off reading, and make books fun as a first step. I was always impressed by the illustrators who'd made the story clear on their own, and who'd added their own touches beyond what the words told. The kids often saw so many details that I'd missed on my own.

arty said...

Hi, I was passing through and found your blog interesting. I've been flirting with the idea of writing children's books myself and seeing yours..just makes me want to buy one and read it for myself :) They look lovely..

magali said...

thanks for spending time with us, we really enjoyed it. I'll give the children your website adress so they can see themselves and their drawings on the internet! they'll be proud! We intend to work more on the Hugglewug's world, I'll send you the results...

Niamh Sharkey said...

Thanks all!
Susan I agree kids are amazing they are so clued in to the visual...Arty you should write a book and get drawing too.
Magali it was so lovely to meet you I had a great time in Montolieu esp dancing with you and Claire on Saturday night!
I'll email the rest of the photos to you later this week.

sabien said...

:-) Montolieu-c'etait fantastique!!

Yes, It was great spending time in 'the village of books'!
With our bicycles we finely arrived in Toulouse, an stayed 2 days in the 'Manu'-house.
(We met the writer Manu Cause in Montolieu, and he invited us in his house)
Now, back in Belgium--

with a lot of smiling memories.

Niamh Sharkey said...

HI Sabien! It was so great to meet you in Montolieu... Hope to see you in Dublin some time soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Niamh! Santasaurus got me a 'happy hugglewug' and there's a ravenous beast sleeping under my bed; so we're just waiting for spring to come and then we'll sure have a gigantic turnip turn up in our garden.
-taking care of a little pig who comes living with us;
-getting the bikes ready for a bike visit to Ireland!
kind regards,