Once upon a Place

By , . Category: . ISBN: 9781910411377


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A collection of 11 new short stories and 6 new poems by Ireland’s top children’s writers, edited by Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer and illustrated by world-renowned artist P.J. Lynch. Each of the stories and poems is based around the theme of place, being set in or inspired by a particular location within Ireland. Hardback cover with a dustjacket.

Product Description

Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer, author of the bestselling Artemis Fowl series, has compiled a new anthology of stories and poems for children that focuses on the special link between story and place in Ireland. Lavish black-and-white charcoal illustrations by award-winning artist and picturebook illustrator P.J. Lynch will make this unique anthology a very beautiful object.

Once upon a Place features six new poems by Irish poets alongside stories from many of Ireland’s leading children’s writers including Roddy Doyle, Derek Landy and former Laureate na nÓg Siobhán Parkinson, as well as the first ever story for children by Academy Award nominee Jim Sheridan, director of My Left Foot, The Field and In America. It will also feature new work by Eoin Colfer himself, along with Pat Boran, Seamus Cashman, John Connolly, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Mark Granier, Paula Leyden, Oisín McGann, Geraldine Mills, Jane Mitchell, Kate Newmann, Sarah Webb and Enda Wyley.

The anthology enhances this project by bringing stories of Irish places to children all over the country and further afield.

‘This is my laureate project with a general aim of connecting today’s screen-centric youngsters to the magic of the country they live in and its rich artistic heritage,’ says Eoin Colfer.

Any royalties from the book will go towards the Laureate na nÓg project, which aims to raise the profile of children’s literature in Ireland and internationally and to introduce high quality children’s books to new audiences.

For more information about the project, see our press release on Once upon a Place and the Laureate storytelling project.


‘Places from various corners of our island serve as settings for writing which is evocative, atmospheric and invariably engaging. In every single case, Lynch in his striking black-and-white charcoal drawings has moved beneath the writer’s words to enhance and sharpen our insights … the stories and poems in their themes move easily between real and fantasy worlds, blending seriousness of tone with more lighthearted moments. The most pensive notes are to be found in the poems, many of which focus on childhood and adolescent memories … Once Upon a Place is a significant publication, affording ample evidence of the high quality of the best of our current children’s literature. It is a pleasure to add that the quality of the content is matched in this instance by the extremely attractive standards of the book’s production values, including its design by Fidelma Slattery.’ – The Irish Times

‘This book is a gift that could be given to any child of any age, the younger kids could be read to. But it’s also a gift we should buy for ourselves. Rarely does one find such a rainbow of outstanding talent in one little book, one truly exceptional anthology. In his poem Advent, Kavanagh wrote “Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder”. Reading Once Upon A Place might just fill up some of that chink so it shrinks to a very tiny crack, and your wonder might be restored. This book really is that good.’ – The Sunday Independent

Chosen as a CLPE Book of the Year 2015

‘A diverse and imaginative collection of short stories and poems takes readers on a journey around Ireland conducted by some of the country’s best modern children’s authors. There is a great range of subject matter and style: childhood memories, humour, horror and, in several stories, a convincing mix of fantasy and reality. The book is beautifully produced and PJ Lynch’s charcoal drawings play no small part in its overall appeal.’ – CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education)

Chosen as one of the best traditional children’s story anthologies by Julia Eccleshare in The Guardian

‘The stories in the collection are certainly very varied; adventure stories, mysteries, stories of wonder are all included. All are linked by their referencing of Ireland which is evoked by descriptions of landscape, creatures, local magic and mischief and, most of all, weather! In John Connolly’s memorable and beautifully written The Bear, the magic lies in the imagination of a child who needs to see something that may not really be there. All readers will know more about Ireland when they have read the stories than they knew at the beginning but they would also see that stories such as these are universal.’ – Julia Eccleshare, The Guardian

‘The high quality of Lynch’s artwork and the variety of the stories and poems makes this a praiseworthy volume, one that has much to offer to readers young and old.’ – The Looking Glass Magazine

‘It’s an absolute must. It’s like the Fleetwood Mac album, Rumour – every house must have a copy’ – Sarah Webb on RTE Radio 1, children’s author and reviewer

‘Once upon a Place is one of those books that every child from 8 to 80 should read’ – Des Kenny, Kennys Bookshop

Download the book guide here

About Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer is one of Ireland’s best-known writers for children. His Artemis Fowl series is world-famous and is soon to be filmed. His other books include Benny and Omar and the historical adventure Airman. He has also written And Another Thing, a sequel to Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Eoin is currently Laureate na nÓg.

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