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TOFFEE – Online event with Sarah Crossan

Riverbank Arts Centre and Kildare Library Service are collaborating on an online event with Sarah Crossan, Laureate Na nÓg, in celebration of Poetry Day Ireland on Thursday 30th April at 2pm. Readers from across the county (and country!) are invited to read Toffee, Sarah’s acclaimed book for young adults, and join in. 

Originally planned as a ‘One Book’ schools event, Sarah Crossan was due to visit Riverbank Arts Centre in April to meet with 175 Transition Year readers from six participating schools. This was one of numerous events at the venue that needed to be rescheduled in the light of Covid-19 safety measures.  Riverbank Arts Centre is delighted that Sarah Crossan has saved the day by hosting an online event instead – which will be broadcast on the Laureate na nÓg instagram account – and better still, this event is now open to all who want to participate.   

During this online event, Sarah Crossan will talk about her YA novel Toffee, her life as a writer,  and also her Laureate Na nÓg programme WeAreThePoets. 

‘This One Book project is an important part of our school engagement programme, and one which we were very much looking forward to hosting at Riverbank.’ states Linda Geraghty, Venue Director of Riverbank Arts Centre.  ‘During her laureateship, we developed a strong connection with Sarah Crossan through her #wearethepoets initiative. We are thrilled that we can still deliver this event not only to Kildare students, but now, to a wider audience, in celebration of both National Poetry Day and Sarah’s successful tenure as Laureate na nOg.’  

Sarah Crossan is an internationally acclaimed verse novelist, best known for her books for young adults, including One, Moonrise, and Toffee. Her books have won many awards, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal. In May 2018, she was named as Ireland’s fifth Laureate na nÓg by President Michael D. Higgins. Her theme as Laureate is #WeAreThePoets, a two-year project inspiring young people to express themselves through poetry and verse. Under the #WeAreThePoets banner she has collaborated with a team of writers to deliver workshops and events – including a programme in 2019 initiated by Riverbank Arts Centre called The Song of Pollardstown Fen, where 12 local children captured the rich natural history of the Fen in their own poems and illustrations.    

This will be Sarah’s final public engagement as Laureate Na nÓg and she is delighted that it can go ahead online:
‘These are very difficult times and it is important that we stay connected. That’s why I am determined my final scheduled event as Laureate will go ahead, albeit online. The #WeAreThePoets project at Pollardstown Fen in 2019 was one of the highlights of my term as Laureate and I was really looking forward to going back to Kildare to meet the young people who have been reading my book Toffee. We are ALL in this situation together so please join in my Instagram live event @laureatenanog on 30 April at 2pm. Everyone is welcome. Let’s celebrate Poetry Day Ireland together!’

Readers from six Kildare schools who are taking part in the One Book programme will be joining this online event. 175 Transition Year students received copies of TOFFEE supplied by Kildare Library Service through this partnership project and the Right to Read programme.

‘Kildare Library Service are proud to support this exciting event as part of their Right to Read programme for County Kildare.’ states Anne Myler, Executive Librarian at Kildare Library Service.  ‘We look forward to celebrating National Poetry Day with Sarah and young readers from around the county.’

Toffee, the critically acclaimed new novel for young adults, follows the friendship of teenage runaway Allison and Marla, an elderly woman suffering from dementia.  Written in free verse, Toffee is a thought-provoking, witty and an incredibly moving account of the search for safety, connection and identity in the world. Described by the Guardian as “A book that changes its reader for the better”, it’s a novel that can be read in a day and is an enjoyable read for adults as well as its target audience of 15-17 year olds

Toffee is a powerful novel, a touching human story which will resonate with all readers, young and old.’ according to Linda Geraghty.  ‘Particularly poignant for the times we find ourselves now, Toffee highlights the strength of relationships and the ability to overcome personal struggle through hope, compassion and empathy. A beautiful read and a book that stays with you.’

The theme of this year’s Poetry Day Ireland is ‘there will be time’ – and in this unprecedented time we find ourselves in, there is perhaps, more time to read a good book!

To take part in TOFFEE – One Book Programme with Riverbank Arts Centre and Laureate na nÓg, Sarah Crossan 

Read the book – Toffee (published by Bloomsbury) is available in paperback, e-book or audiobook. Copies available from Kildare Library Service or all good bookshops.  (you can read a 30 page extract here

To join the live event, log in to @laureatenanog on Instagram at 2pm on Thursday, 30th April!