Celebrating Irish Children’s Books | Online School and Family Book Festival. This year we are part of the Dublin Book Festival.

Media pack

Press Release

4 October 2021


Celebrating Irish Children’s Books 2021

In association with Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire
Supported by Children’s Books Ireland, The Arts Council and dlr Libraries 

After the success of last year’s online book festival, WonderFest is back, featuring a wealth of Irish talent, including Oliver Jeffers, Niamh Sharkey, Eoin Colfer, Muireann Ní Chíobháin, Chris Haughton, Judi Curtin, Derek Landy, Ashwin Chacko and Tarsila Kruse.

24 events in total, featuring 64 artists!

Join the innovative live events from the comfort of your own school or home, making it accessible for all.

Run by a crack team of children’s writers, illustrators, festival programmers, designers
and wellness experts, hand in hand with Irish publishers and the dedicated children’s bookshop, Halfway Up the Stairs.

The theme for this year’s festival is the importance of CREATIVITY in children’s lives and many of our writers and illustrators will be exploring this theme. 


Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 17-19th November – WonderFest Schools 

A host of innovative digital events delivered live to schools’ whiteboards – for primary school children. 


Saturday 20th NovemberWonderFest Families  

A fun-filled day for story-loving children aged 0-12 and their families, packed with all kinds of creative events for the whole family to enjoy together from the comfort of their own homes.


Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st November – WonderFest Inspires

Inspirational talks and masterclasses for adults who want to find out more about children’s books, or writing and illustrating for children.

All events are LIVE (with some pre-recorded elements) – giving children and adults all over Ireland (and the world!) the chance to interact with some of their favourite Irish writers and illustrators.

Register interest on www.wonderfest.ie 

Booking opens 4 October via Pavilion Theatre website www.paviliontheatre.ie 

The books accompanying the events can be purchased and posted out to children by our partner bookshop, Halfway Up the Stairs.


With 64 hugely talented children’s authors and illustrators from all over Ireland
taking part in 24 different events you can:

• Watch EOIN COLFER talk to Patricia Forde about his books and his past life as a teacher 

• Have fun at the Creativity Bootcamp with TARSILA KRUSE and JULIETTE SAUMANDE 

  • Hear OLIVER JEFFERS talk about the importance of creativity 

• Hear bestselling author JUDI CURTIN talk to her editor, HELEN CARR about writing

• Draw Amazing Animals with ASKWIN CHACKO and SHEENA DEMPSEY

• Join PETER DONNELLY, ÚNA WOODS AND NICOLA COLTON for a picturebook extravaganza 

• Ask DEREK LANDY all those burning Skulduggery Pleasant questions

• Enjoy animal tales with CHRIS HAUGHTON 

  • Join FLORA DELARGY and fellow Belfast author/illustrator PJ LYNCH for tales of wonder 


• Discover a wealth of new stories at the NEW IRISH BOOKS 2021 SHOWCASES for parents and teachers

• Another one for grown-ups, budding children’s writers and illustrators can find out all about making books for young readers in our PROPERBOOK live webinars with editors and agents and our new MASTERCLASS series

• Dual language IRISH/ENGLISH events

And much, much more!

For more information
visit www.wonderfest.ie from 4th October 

Judi Curtin, WonderFest Speaker 

‘I’m so happy to be part of WonderFest with my editor, Helen Carr. We’re really looking forward to our event together and talking about books and writing. I love the fact that it’s being organised by my fellow writers and illustrators, which makes it very special.’ 

Sarah Webb, WonderFest Events Team 

‘In the last eighteen months many of the major festival were cancelled and both readers and writers miss them terribly. In September 2020 during a virtual coffee morning run by Children’s Books Ireland, twelve children’s writers and illustrators made a decision: we’d band together to create and run a completely digital family book festival – that way it would happen come what may. And from that spark of an idea WonderFest grew. 

It’s been a real pleasure working with the festival team and we can’t wait to share a second year of events with children and families this November. I’m especially looking forward to hearing Eoin Colfer talk about his books and his previous career as a teacher with fellow WonderFest team member and award-winning writer, Patricia Forde, and Oliver Jeffers talk about the importance of creativity, our theme for this year’s WonderFest.’


What is WonderFest?

WonderFest is a unique, online festival which celebrates Irish children’s books published during 2021. It will be delivered via zoom and full details of all the events and how to book will be on the WonderFest website from 4th October: www.wonderfest.ie

Run by an experienced team of Irish writers, illustrators, designers and broadcasters, with the enthusiastic engagement of Irish publishers, WonderFest will entertain children and their families by hosting four days of talks, readings and workshops featuring some of Ireland’s best writers and illustrators.

It is being run in partnership with Pavilion Theatre and with the support of The Arts Council, Children’s Books Ireland and dlr Libraries. 


Children deserve the opportunity to read and engage with the amazing range of books by Irish writers and illustrators. Artist visits to schools are curtailed at present and WonderFest will help to fill this gap.

WonderFest will offer the opportunity for children and parents to engage with the wealth of new books available in a safe and accessible way.

Who Are We?

The WonderFest Team is made up of seasoned festival programmers, writers and illustrators including:

Patricia Forde: award-winning children’s writer, co-founder of Baboró

Sarah Webb: award-winning children’s writer, bookseller and children’s programmer for MoLI

Mary Murphy: award-winning picturebook maker, with over 45 books published internationally 

Muireann Ní Chíobháin: children’s writer and experienced broadcaster

Alan O’Rourke: children’s writer/illustrator and award-winning designer

Eve McDonnell: children’s writer and visual artist 

 Ashwin Chacko: illustrator, designer and motivational speaker 


Many of the WonderFest festival team and speakers are available for interview including Sarah Webb, PJ Lynch, Judi Curtin, Ashwin Chacko, Tarsila Kruse, Julian Gough, Patricia Forde and Peter Donnelly – please contact Jenny Sharif for details and further information: jennysharif@gmail.com | +353 86 087 4508

Find us at @wonderfestire #Wonderfest2021 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram




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