American writer George Saunders, famed for his unique short stories, is currently making waves in connection to his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, which was just published. To give our readers a taste of Saunders’ earlier work we started using his stories in the Reading Rooms with young adults and have had some tremendous responses to his pared down, mesmerising style. Our readers connected especially with the authenticity of the stream of consciousness writing, for instance the voice of the young boy in ‘The End of FIRPO in the World‘, a particularly breathtaking story from Saunders’ second collection Pastoralia (1998).
Saunders is also a committed mentor of young writers and an insightful interviewee which is proven in this recent conversation on lithub.com.
Two stories from Bernie McGill‘s collection Sleepwalkers (Whittrick Press, 2013) have also been read in the Reading Rooms to great acclaim: ‘No Angel’ and ‘The Importance of Being Rhonda’. Susanne Stich from Reading Rooms recently interviewed McGill for the Honest Ulsterman, and spoke about the collection.
At Hillcrest Trust, the children explored the London Underground with Paddington Bear in Michael Bond’s classic Paddington Goes Underground.
At Little Legends in Easons Foyleside with our younger readers, we read all about Albert Einstein and his wonderful world with On A Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne (Chronicle, 2013). We looked at magnets and how they can move things without us even touching them. We had a little fishing trip with our magnetic fish! So much chat, so many questions and wondering about all the strange things that can happen in our everyday lives.
The Little Legends also held their own tea party with games and dancing and biscuits after having reading The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi. And the new Little Legends mascot, Amelia (pictured right with our LL leader, Claire Harkin), was revealed as the children read That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown (Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton, Hodder, 2015). The Queen wanted to have him but we all agreed that our favourite toys deserved to stay at home where they belong with their best friends!