The Secret Bookshelf in Carrickfergus to host top authors as part of Young Adult Books Showcase

Book lovers will be able to meet some of Ireland’s top Young Adult authors at a special event in Carrickfergus this weekend.
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Independent book store The Secret Bookshelf will be hosting a Young Adult Books Showcase on Saturday, August 12 from 11am-4pm.

It follows a successful showcase for science fiction and fantasy writers held last year in the shop, which is based at The Courtyard retail outlet in Scotch Quarter.

Visitors will be able to join authors Peadar Ó Guilín, Sue Divin, Jenny Ireland, Shirley-Anne McMillan and The Secret Bookshelf's own Jo Zebedee, along with the Society of Children's Books, Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Regional Adviser and author Morna Sullivan, for a day of talks, panels, readings, and signings.

The Secret Bookshelf's Jo Zebedee (right) in discussion at the shop.  Photo: Nina CouserThe Secret Bookshelf's Jo Zebedee (right) in discussion at the shop.  Photo: Nina Couser
The Secret Bookshelf's Jo Zebedee (right) in discussion at the shop. Photo: Nina Couser

The Secret Bookshelf’s Jo Zebedee is the author of a number of novels, including the sci-fi space opera ‘Abendau’ series, Inish Carraig, Waters and the Wild, and The Wildest Hunt. “This year, we decided to showcase the young adult writers because we find the genre so exciting in Northern Ireland, with some great writers capturing fresh themes and takes on NI,” Jo said.

"With some established favourites in Peadar Ó Guilín and Sue Divin's works, and two new novels from Shirley-Anne McMillan and Jenny Ireland, the time seemed right to go for it. It also fits in with the shop well, with our thriving young adult and Book-Tok section, as well as the busy children's room."

The Secret Bookshelf also runs a number of writing classes, with some further events in the pipeline for the autumn.

Further details will be shared on the shop’s social media page in the coming weeks.

Young visitors to the shop enjoy a tale being spun in the children's room.  Photo: The Secret BookshelfYoung visitors to the shop enjoy a tale being spun in the children's room.  Photo: The Secret Bookshelf
Young visitors to the shop enjoy a tale being spun in the children's room. Photo: The Secret Bookshelf
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The showcase is being supported by community group Positive Carrickfergus, who are also based at The Courtyard. “Positive Carrickfergus were able to offer us space in their unit for the panels and discussions, leaving the shop free to chat to the authors, get books signed, and spill out to the garden between the two units to chat and share some book love,” Jo added.

"We have a lot of up and coming writers in Carrick, including some young people, so having Morna Sullivan from the SCBWI come along is just fantastic and will be really informative."

There will be three panels/discussions on the day, beginning at 11am with ‘Where is Young Adult writing in NI now?’

This panel will see Jenny Ireland, Sue Divin and Shirley-Anne McMillan chatting about their own works and themes, along with the wider Young Adult writing scene in Northern Ireland, and the way current writers address NI themes.

At 12:30pm, Morna Sullivan will be on hand to talk about writing communities and their role in supporting writers.

Finally, at 2pm, Jo will be in conversation with Peadar, talking about writing darker themes, about where the lines lie – if there are any - and general discussion on genre writing.

There will be short readings after the panels, and a chance to meet the authors and chat or have books signed.

The Young Adult Books Showcase is a free event, but space will be allocated on first come, first seat basis.