Northern Ireland news

NI's new Children's Writing Fellow on a mission to get kids 'passionate about books'

Rosetta Primary School pupils Lucia, Christelle, Jack and Jack are pictured with Children’s Writing Fellow Paul Howard, who recently hosted illustration workshops in the school

NORTHERN Ireland's new Children’s Writing Fellow says he is on a mission to get kids "passionate about books".

Over the next two years, Paul Howard said he wants to promote visual literacy, which he believes is key for breaking down barriers to reading.

Mr Howard is offering schools the opportunity to invite him into the classroom where he can share his skills first-hand with pupils, through free illustration and writing workshops.

The celebrated writer and artist, best known for his stunning illustrations in Jill Tomlinson’s The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark and Joe Wick’s The Burpee Bears, was recently announced as Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland.

The post was created as part of Queen’s University Belfast and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's joint 10-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.

During his two-year fellowship, Mr Howard will be based at the Seamus Heaney Centre where he will work with students and engage in outreach activities which promote literacy and learning.

"I am very much looking forward to engaging with lots of young people over the next two years, particularly those in schools who have never had the opportunity to experience an author/illustrator visit before, for whatever reason,"he said.

"As an illustrator, primarily, I want to use my fellowship to promote visual literacy as an alternative, fun and accessible gateway into literature and help children, of all literacy levels, feel confident enough to engage with reading and use drawing as a springboard to create their own stories."

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