About Little Island


Ahoy, bookworms young and old! Drop anchor there for a minute and listen till we tell you about Ireland’s smallest and coolest book island.

Little Island Books is an award-winning independent Irish publishing company. We publish only great books for children and young adults (otherwise known as teenagers).

Yes, we did start life as an imprint of New Island Books, and yes, that’s where the ‘Island’ bit comes from. But then we grew up and left home and now we are a fully independent and totally separate company.

Little Island publishes about eight to ten books a year for children and young adults. Most of our readers are between 4 and 16, but we don’t discriminate: anyone can read our books, and lots of adults do. We publish only fiction – novels for older readers (kids from about 9 to 12 and teenagers from 13 all the way up) as well as illustrated books for younger children.

We publish funny books (many funny books, even the spooky books are funny) and sad books and adventures stories and fantasy and realistic books about growing up and books about what it’s like to be a kid, today or in the past, in Ireland or elsewhere. Our books are mostly by emerging Irish authors (though some of our authors have emerged by this stage), but we also like to publish some books in translation – from languages as different as Brazilian Portuguese and Finnish. (Check out our International Books page on this website for more on our translated books for children and teenagers.)

We think our books are absolutely brilliant – but it’s not just us. Several of our books have won or been nominated for awards, including

• The Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year award and the Children’s books Ireland Children’s Choice award – Grounded by Sheena Wilkinson • The Children’s Books Ireland Honour for Fiction and the Children’s Books Ireland Children’s Choice award – Taking Flight by Sheena Wilkinson • Children’s Books Ireland/Bisto Merit awards – White Lies by Mark O’Sullivan; The Lantern Moon by Maeve Friel; Snobs, Dogs and Scobies (under its original Irish title of Hurlamaboc) by Elizabeth OHara • International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honours – Over the Wall by Renate Ahrens, translated by Siobhán Parkinson; Snobs, Dogs and Scobies (under its original Irish title of Hurlamaboc) by Elizabeth O’Hara), Taking Flight by Sheena Wilkinson • White Ravens listings (by the International Youth Library in Munich) – The Broomstick Bike by Veronica Bennett; Valentina by Kevin Mc Dermott; The Keeper by Darragh Martin • Shortlisted for the Children’s books Ireland Book of the Year award – Prim Improper by Deirdre Sullivan • Shortlisted for the Reading Association of Ireland award – Sheena Wilkinson’s Grounded and Geraldine Meade’s Flick • Shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2013 – The Keeper by Darragh Martin • UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read 2013 – The Nightmare Club series by Annie Graves • UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read 2014 – The Powers by Kevin Stevens

And Little Island itself won the Reading Association of Ireland award in 2011.

We are enthusiastic members of the Irish and international children’s books community, and you will meet us at Children’s Books Ireland conferences and seminars, at IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) congresses around the world and IBBY Ireland events at home, at events organised by the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature and the International Research Society on Children’s Literature. We and our authors attend and often participate in arts festivals, writers’ festivals and book festivals such as the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, the Dublin Writers’ Festival and the Dublin Book Festival. Watch out for details on our website and social media outlets.

Several of our writers who live in Ireland are members of the Writers-in-Schools scheme organised by Poetry Ireland and most of them are available for school and library visits. If you’d like to get in touch with any of them, just give us a ring -- even if it seems like a long shot. (Our Brazilian writer Ana Maria Machado has visited Ireland and will be here again soon, so you never know your luck until you ask.)

Little Island is a limited company with a voluntary board of four members and a small number of shareholders. Our publishing programme is generously supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. We also get support for our books in translation from the countries of origin, and we are grateful to Culture Ireland for supporting our attendance at the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair.

The Little Island Team

About Siobhán Parkinson

Publisher and Commissioning Editor

Siobhán Parkinson studied at Trinity College Dublin (BA 1976, PhD 1982) and has worked all her life as an editor and a writer. She has written more than twenty-five books – two of which are for adults and the rest for children and young people. Several of her books have received awards and her work has been translated into twenty languages. She is also a translator (from German). She was Ireland’s first Children’s Laureate 2010–12.

About Gráinne Clear

Publishing Manager and Art Director

Gráinne started off interning at Little Island during her MPhil in Children’s Literature, when she was also founding the children’s radio programmes, ‘Little Pages’ and ‘The Word’. Now she’s Publishing Manager and Art Director, centrally involved with editorial, PR, design, marketing and everything it takes to turn a submission into a real live book. Gráinne is also a storyteller of Irish tales for adults and children; she does this in libraries, schools, festivals and over dinner if you’re lucky.

About Conor Hackett

Sales Agent

Conor is our Sales Agent and is responsible for representing Little Island titles to all Irish bookshops. He’s also the Irish Sales Agent for lots of other publishers including Walker Books, Barefoot Books, Evans Publishing Group and QED. We’re not jealous. It’s fine.Conor is the owner of Hackett|Flynn Publishers’ Agents and can be contacted at mail@hackettflynn.com

Board Members

About Valerie Coghlan

Librarian, lecturer and independent researcher – Valerie is an all-around children’s book expert. She has published widely on Irish children’s literature and lectures on a number of university courses and is the current Chair of Children’s Books Ireland and President of the board of Bookbird, the journal of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

About Jane O’Hanlon

A teacher by profession, Jane heads up the education desk at Poetry Ireland and is responsible for developing the excellent Writers in Schools scheme. She has master’s degrees in both women’s studies and children’s literature, and she is currently working on her doctorate in arts-in-education from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra/DCU. She served for several years as Chair of Children’s Books Ireland, and was awarded the 2014 CBI Award to celebrate her contribution to children’s literature.

Our Partners

*Note: for information on submissions, please click here.