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.

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 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 mostly 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.

Our books are mostly by emerging Irish authors (though some of our authors have emerged by this stage), but we also 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

• YA Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2017 – Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan (Winner) • YA Book of the Year at the Literacy Association of Ireland Awards 2017 – A Lonely Note by Kevin Stevens (Winner) • Fiction Award at the Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2017 – Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan (Winner) • Eilís Dillon Award at the Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2017 – The Ministry of SUITs by Paul Gamble (Winner) • Beautiful Book Award at the Books Are My Bag Award – Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan (Shortlisted) • Children’s Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2017 – Star by Star by Sheena Wilkinson and A Dangerous Crossing by Jane Mitchell (Shortlisted) • Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year award and Children’s Choice award – Grounded by Sheena Wilkinson (Winner) • Children’s Books Ireland Honour for Fiction and Children’s Choice award – Taking Flight by Sheena Wilkinson (Winner) • Children’s Books Ireland/Bisto Merit awards – White Lies by Mark O’Sullivan; The Lantern Moon by Maeve Friel; Snobs, Dogs and Scobies by Elizabeth OHara (Winners) • International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honours – Over the Wall by Renate Ahrens, translated by Siobhán Parkinson; Snobs, Dogs and Scobies by Elizabeth O’Hara, Taking Flight by Sheena Wilkinson • White Ravens listings (by the International Youth Library in Munich) – Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan; The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde, The Ministry of SUITs by Paul Gamble; The Broomstick Bike by Veronica Bennett; Valentina by Kevin Mc Dermott; The Keeper by Darragh Martin

And Little Island itself won the Irish Small Press of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2019 as well as 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 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.

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, do send us an email on the Contact Us form.

Little Island is a limited company with a voluntary board of six 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

Consulting Publisher

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 Matthew Parkinson-Bennett


Matthew Parkinson-Bennett began working at Little Island in July 2017. In previous lives he studied at UCD, the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and the University of Oxford, taught English in Spain, and worked at Oxford University Press, editing children’s “readers” for the international education market. He has a son, pictured torturing his father. He writes about books for the likes of the Dublin Review of Books and Times Literary Supplement.

Board Members

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.

About Kevin McDermott

Kevin is a novelist and short story writer and is the current Writer-in-residence for the City of Dublin ETB. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Education at UCD. For many years Kevin worked as a teacher of English and a teacher educator. Kevin has compiled and edited anthologies and text books for post-primary English.

About Marian Keyes

Marian is a Senior Executive Librarian in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Public Libraries with responsibility for branch management and library events/exhibitions at dlr LexIcon. She also co-produced the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival from 2012-2017. She has previously worked in the Victoria and Albert Museum and Limerick School of Art and Design. A former President of the ISSCL (2011-2013), and Secretary of iBbY Ireland (2007-2010), Marian was reviews editor of Inis magazine from 2009-2010.

Our Partners

About Conor Hackett

Sales Agent – Ireland

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