New Northern Ireland writing fellow Paul Howard wants literature to be accessible to children

An award-winning artist who collaborated this year with Joe Wicks on his first children’s book is to become Northern Ireland’s new children’s writing fellow.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 31st December 2021, 9:45 pm
Paul Howard who has been appointed Northern Ireland's new children's writing fellow
Paul Howard who has been appointed Northern Ireland's new children's writing fellow

Paul Howard, who has accepted the position based at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, said he wants to use his experience to make literature accessible to young people across Northern Ireland.

Howard, who lives in Belfast, is best known for illustrating Jill Tomlinson’s classic The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark and, more recently, The Burpee Bears, a new picture book series from fitness guru Joe Wicks.

Howard said: “As an illustrator, primarily, I aim to bring a new dimension to the role through promoting visual literacy as an alternative, accessible gateway for students and children of all literacy levels to engage in, building enough confidence in them to read and create their own stories.”

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Paul Howard who has been appointed Northern Ireland's new children's writing fellow

He commented: “The fellowship will also enable me to use the opportunity to take my story-building workshops to schools, which, for whatever reason, have never experienced an author or illustrator visit before, endeavour to seek creative inspiration outside of the classroom and shine a light on the incredibly rich heritage of children’s literature we have in this corner of the country.”

After gaining a degree in graphic design and illustration in 1989, Howard worked at the Natural History Museum before becoming a full-time illustrator. His work has since won acclaim from the publishing industry and children across the world.

During his 30-year career he has collaborated with some of the best known names in children’s literature, such as Allan Ahlberg, Michael Rosen, Geraldine McCaughrean, Anne Fine, Trish Cooke, Martin Waddell and John Boyne.

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