Children’s Books Ireland presents

Belonging: Children’s Books Ireland International Conference 2019

Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd September, Light House Cinema, Smithfield

Having established itself as the most significant event for adults interested in children’s books in the country, the 29th Children’s Books Ireland international conference once again promises a packed two-day programme of discussion and debate.

The weekend long celebration of the very best in children’s books both at home and internationally, sees a whole array of speakers invited to discuss the numerous and innovative ways in which books and reading can be part of young people’s lives.

This year’s line-up showcases both famous names and new talents, featuring authors and illustrators from Ireland, France, the UK and the USA. Belonging examines what is essential to being human – being part of a community or tribe. For children and young adults, books are a powerful tool for exploring the lives and experiences of others and discovering our common humanity. At a time when the world is building walls to keep us apart and defining who does and doesn’t belong, the adults who connect children with books have an opportunity to encourage empathy, understanding and love via the words and images on the page. We have asked our speakers to reflect on how ‘belonging’ plays into their own work and how this one little word can change the world.

Tickets, from €75 are now available from and follow us on social media @KidsBooksIrel for updates.

Full programme is available here.

The Children’s Books Ireland International Conference lineup includes:

  • Kwame Alexander a poet, educator, author of thirty-two books and winner of the 2015 Newbery Medal for The Crossover.
  • Daisy Hirst (Alphonse, There’s Mud on the Ceiling) talks about using art to speak directly to the youngest readers, their lives and their concerns.
  • Celia Rees’ latest novel Glass Town Wars was inspired by the early work of the Brontë sisters. Celia joins fellow historical fiction novelist Anna Carey to talk about mixing old and new worlds to excite and inspire teenage readers.
  • ‘Witcherature’ experts Deirdre Sullivan (Perfectly Preventable Deaths), Sarah Maria Griffin (Other Words for Smoke) and Moïra Fowley-Doyle (All the Bad Apples) are joined by Mairi Kidd (Warriors & Witches & Damn Rebel Bitches: Scottish Women to Live Your Life By).
  • Jarvis (Alan’s Big Scary Teeth) joins us to talk about his use of mixed media and his continuing quest to tell stories via pictures.
  • Award winning author Frances Hardinge joins Julia Eccleshare, Children’s Director at Hay Festival to talk about the power of worldbuilding to instruct and inspire.
  • Join poets Dean Atta (The Black Flamingo), Brian Conaghan (The M Word) and Meg Grehan (The Deepest Breath), to discuss poetry’s transformative power on and off the page. Máire Zepf (Nóinín) chairs this panel.
  • We welcome fresh new voices to the CBI conference stage for rapid fire five-minute presentations on their work.
  • Clémentine Beauvais joins us to talk about bilingualism and writing for different age groups and cultures.
  • Mary Murphy has enjoyed a stellar career creating picturebooks, with her distinctive artwork found in the home of many small children.