Isla McGuckin, a Portsalon-based author, has earned a coveted spot on the shortlist for the esteemed 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards with her publication, ‘April’s Garden.’ This announcement was made by RTÉ’s Rick O’Shea at a celebratory event hosted at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, marking a significant milestone for the 34th iteration of the awards.
Originally from urban Yorkshire, McGuckin now resides in the picturesque rural setting of Donegal. A writer and mother, her work is characterized by vivid storytelling and rich imagination. ‘April’s Garden,’ McGuckin’s first picture book, brings to life the vibrant tale of a mother and daughter on a poignant journey to find a new home. The book stands out for its creative narrative and dynamic illustrations by Catalina Echeverri, published by Graffeg.
The shortlist this year features an inspiring mix of talent, including five first-time authors and three individuals who have held or currently hold the title of Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s laureate for children's literature. The nominees are set to contend for six prestigious awards at the ceremony scheduled for May 22, coinciding with the International Literature Festival Dublin. Among the accolades up for grabs are the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award, awards recognizing excellence in fiction and illustration, and the Junior Juries’ Award, which is uniquely determined by the votes of young readers from across Ireland.