GGS Library Welcomes Costa Children’s Book Award Winner Brian Conaghan

On Thursday 16th May Grosvenor pupils involved in its Library Junior Book Club were delighted to welcome author Brian Conaghan, whose book ‘The Weight of a Thousand Feathers’ has been shortlisted for the ‘Children’s Books Ireland 2019 Book of the Year’.

Brian Conaghan is a Scottish author who now lives in Dublin. For many years Brian worked as an English teacher in Scotland - in the high school where he studied for his GCSEs – as well as in Italy and Ireland. His second published novel ‘When Mr Dog Bites’ was shortlisted for the ‘CILIP Carnegie Medal’ and the ‘CBI Book of the Year Award’ in 2015, amongst much praise and controversy for its honest and entertaining description of a teenage boy with Tourette’s syndrome. ‘The Bombs that Brought Us Together’, meanwhile, which deals with another challenging topic – immigration - won the Costa Children’s Book Award in 2016 while ‘We Come Apart’, published in 2017, is a verse novel co-authored with Carnegie Medal winner Sarah Crossan. All are currently available to borrow from the Grosvenor Grammar Library!

During his presentation on the challenging journey of becoming a published writer, Brian demonstrated the valuable lesson of learning from mistakes and perseverance in the face of adversity. He faced 214 rejection letters before finally being published and only sold 17 copies of his first book and, yet, he is now a well-recognised teenage author invited to Libraries all around the UK and Ireland. His humour and honesty made for an amusing talk.

Junior Book Club members had prepared stimulating questions about his inspiration, his favourite author and the processes of writing, which were met with equal enthusiasm and a few tips for our budding writers! 

Many thanks to Brian for taking the time to visit our Library and talking honestly about his engagement with difficult issues faced by teenagers. Many thanks also to the CBI team for coordinating his visit in Northern Ireland, as well as Grosvenor’s own Librarian Mme Brown, whose diligence in coordinating the afternoon helped to make it so successful. 

We are hopeful that Brian Conaghan will visit again soon, to share more of his wonderful books with us. In the meantime, pupils are very welcome to come and borrow Brian Conaghan’s novels from the Library at any time that is convenient! 

Author Brian Conaghan with members of Grosvenor's Junior Book Club during his visit to the School on Thursday 16th May.