These friendly faces have been working hard behind-the-scenes and will be on-site to welcome you to Dublin Book Festival 2017:
Background: Julianne has been programming the Dublin Book Festival since 2010 and has loved every moment of it. Alongside the festival, she has worked at The Ark, is author of The Time Out Guide to Ireland and Reader-in-Residence for Dublin City Public Libraries and DLR Libraries. She considers herself incredibly lucky to work in the world of books – reading has been her favourite pastime ever since she was a little girl and could hold a book in her hands. She is passing on this love of books to her 18-month old son Jack, whose favourite book is Chris Judge’s The Snow Beast.
What ignited your passion for reading: “I am the youngest of five children, so I assume my mother barely had time to have a sip of coffee, however, she always had time for stories. We would fight over whose room the story would be told in – wanting to be tucked up in our own cosy bed for the next magical tale. We were brought to the library several times a week and would wander through the lines of books choosing the ones we wanted to take home. I can still remember the smell and the sound of the stamp at the back of the book. I confess, I used to dream of being able to stamp books! As I sit writing this, my Mum is with Jack (my son) reading to him and he is squealing with delight at some picture. This is the person who ignited my passion for books and it is a passion I have never lost and one I hope I have passed on to my son.”
Leah Leslie – Marketing and Administration Executive
Background: Leah studied illustration at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, and has a degree in Book Arts and Design from London College of Communication, which merged her love of literature with art. This year, she completed a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and an MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London.
She has worked in editorial, publishing, digital marketing, and in non-profit art galleries and cultural festivals. Her writing has been published by IMAGE Interiors & Living Magazine, The Irish Times, xoJane and more. For five years, she worked for the international blogging platform Tumblr as Top Editor for DIY and Crafts. Her popular book arts blog has over 92,000 followers (read Leah’s interview about her blog with the Centre for the History of the Book here).
What ignited your passion for reading: “In 1740, Dean Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, stayed in our family home. Observing the library, he jokingly wrote in our guestbook: “Here I am in Castle Leslie, with rows and rows of books upon the shelves, written by the Leslies, all about themselves.” Around 200 books have been written by my family since then, so I guess it’s in the blood.
Additionally, as a diplomat’s daughter, I moved around a lot in my childhood. At age 7, we uprooted to Paris and the language barrier caused me to reach out for books as entertainment (and sanctuary) more than ever. One of the teachers in my new school took a shine to me and encouraged me to develop my creative writing skills and penchant for drawing. She gave me a blank hardback book and told me to fill it with the stories in my head. It was the first book I ever wrote and illustrated, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Background: Irene studied photography at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Her love for photography then developed into an interest in facilitating other artists and the accessibility of arts and culture. In 2012 she completed an MA in Cultural Policy & Arts Administration at University College Dublin.
After four years of working in the legal sector, she has enjoyed coming back to her cultural roots and working with a number of festivals throughout this year to include the Dublin Fringe Festival.
In her spare time, Irene enjoys reading, travelling, photography, going to the cinema and dancing.
What ignited your passion for reading: “Being read to constantly as a child I think is probably where it all began. Then my older cousin who is a librarian gave me a copy of The World According to Garp by John Irving in my teenage years. It was one of those books that I looked forward to reading from the moment I woke up in the morning and was one of the first to make me laugh out loud. That book made me fall in love with fiction and left me searching for other characters and stories that I could totally immerse myself in.”
Monika Colon – Marketing and Administration Assistant
Background: Monika completed her undergrad from Pace University in New York City and studied Business Administration with a minor in Latin American Studies. Her fascination for history and language led her to her birthplace of the Dominican Republic where she took classes on Caribbean Identities, Linguistics and Imperialism. A year later she spent some time in Brazil studying Ecotourism and sustainable living. In 2013, she completed her Master’s Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Central Florida which allowed her the opportunity to teach EAP and Pronunciation classes for international students in Orlando, FL.
Monika moved to Ireland in April with her two kids and her husband who hails from Inchicore! DBF has been her first project in Ireland which has left her even more in love with this country and its people. Monika looks forward to future projects in the literary/publishing world and If she’s not barefoot hugging a tree in her yard with her kids, you can find her buried in a book or watching an independent film.
What ignited your passion for reading: “I don’t have a defining moment or one particular book. It was more a sequence of events and interactions that sparked that flame. I think it wasn’t until 9th grade English when we read books like Of Mice and Men, The Outsiders and To Kill a Mockingbird when I began to really appreciate the written word – coupled with Latin American poetry, and a few Danielle Steel books I would swipe from my mother’s bookshelf, I found my voice in books. The more I read, the more I found words for emotions I was unable to articulate.”