As part of our continuing Q&A series with our Workshop Directors, we’d like to introduce Siobhán Parkinson, who will be directing the Adult Workshop On Writing Fiction For Teens again this year. We introduced this Workshop in 2013 and it proved to be a great success. Here’s a selection of comments we received from last year’s participants: The Workshop was excellent – Deirdre, Cork; Excellent, immensely pleased with tutor – Marie, Cork; Very happy – Michelle, Sligo; Siobhán ran an excellent, well-structured Workshop – Michelle, Dublin; Very enjoyable. Siobhan was both approachable and helpful – Deirdre, Clare; Exciting and informative – Maura, Dublin; Brilliant – Paul, Kerry.
Siobhán Parkinson was Ireland’s first Laureate for Children’s Literature (2010-12) and has published about 25 books, some for younger children and adults, but mostly for older children and young adults. Her most recent books are Spellbound – Tales of Enchantment from Ancient Ireland and Bruised.
A. Hmm. Hard to say. Nothing external, I suppose I should say. It is writing itself, as a process, that intrigues me.
Q. Were you interested in writing at a young age?
A. Yes, I was writing as soon as I could hold a pencil.
Q. What is it about writing for older children and teens that you most enjoy??
A. The opportunity to poke fun at the adults, I suppose. (Without them noticing.)
Q. Where does your initial idea for a story come from?
A. I rarely have an idea to begin with. I just sit down and start, and the ideas come as I write.
Q. What do you think we can learn from fairy tale and folklore?
A. Absolutely no idea. I love fairy tales, but I have never knowingly learnt anything from one. I suppose they work at a subliminal level. Maybe.
Q. Do you have a favourite writer? Who and why?
A. Jane Austen. Why? Why? She’s Jane Austen, that’s why. I also like Richard Ford, Carol Shields, Anne Tyler, Richard Russo, Julian Barnes, Hilary Mantel, Kevin Barry (oooooh, I LOVE Kevin Barry), Howard Jacoblson, Jonathan Frantzen, Charles Dickens,Hans Christian Andersen.
Q. What, for you, are the highlights of Listowel Writers’ Week?
A. Well, you never know that until you get there. You can only tell retrospectively. So I should say, perhaps, its unpredictability. Also the atmosphere is unusally welcoming.
Q. Briefly, what will you be covering in the Adult Workshop on Writing Fiction for Teens Workshop?
A. Very briefly, words. Also sentences. Paragraphs. Scenes. Dialogue. Point of view. Structure. Character. But it all comes down to words.
For more information and/or to book this workshop please click Adult Writing Fiction for Teens with Siobhán Parkinson