An tSnáthaid Mhór's Andrew Whitson
An tSnáthaid Mhór’s Andrew Whitson

Comhghairdeas le Andy agus le Caitríona.

Belfast’s Irish language community will know of the stunning work that the publishing company An tSnáthaid Mhór does but today Andy Whitson and Caitríona Hastings are in Brussels to present their work as part of what is called the Brussels Platform.

The Platform is the result of a collaboration between the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels. Launched in September 2011 and running until June 2012, it will give the north’s musicians, writers, dancers, theatre practitioners and visual artists the opportunity to showcase their talents at a series of ten monthly events at the prestigious headquarters of the NI Executive.

Fans of An tSnáthaid Mhór
Fans of An tSnáthaid Mhór

Today, Andrew and author Caitríona will launch an exhibition of their work which will include extracts and imagery from their book Balor, which won the Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge Book of the Year for Young People in 2009, and from Mac Rí Éireann which won the Bisto Award for illustration in 2011.

Whilst launching the exhibition the two artists will also discuss their work in front of an international audience, including MEPs and the opinion formers amongst EU representatives in Brussels.

Caitríona Hastings from County Tyrone has written a number of books for children, including, Dea-Scéala (1998), Balor (2009), An Gréasaí Bróg agus na Síoga (2010), Mac Rí Éireann (2011), Ó Chrann go Crann (2011) and is thrilled to be bringing her strories to a wider audience in Brussels.

“It was a great honour and a great surprise for us to be invited – that is such an encouragement,’ she said.

“I see it as an acknowledgement of the quality of what we have achieved so far. I am very grateful for that and excited to see the audience’s reaction. Many traditional tales and the motifs within them came to us from mainland Europe. There was always an inflow and outflow of creativity from these shores. It is so nice to participate in that in the modern context.”

Pictured above are: Maeve and Rionach McElhatton with award winning children’s book illustrator, Andrew Whitson and author Caitríona Hastings while the girls are left to their own devices with some of Andy’s illustrations.

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