Centre for Research
Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
DCU’s Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English, (formerly know as the Centre for Children’s Literature and Culture) was established in 2006 by members of the former Department of English, St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.
The centre plays a significant role in the promotion of children’s and young adult literature in Ireland. The centre welcomes collaboration with national and international academics, educationalists, writers, illustrators, publishers, in fact anyone, with an interest in children’s and young adult literature.
In the past, the centre has attracted international scholars, such as Prof Jack Zipes and Prof Jerry Griswold from the United States, and Prof Peter Hunt and Dr Lucy Pearson from the United Kingdom, as well as leading writers for children and young adults, such as Ireland’s first Laureate na nÓg, Siobhán Parkinson, and English writer Melvin Burgess.
Why collaborate with us?
DCU’s Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English:
- is Ireland’s foremost research centre for children’s and young adult literature
- supports Ireland’s first master’s programme in children’s and young adult literature
- engages in the publication of seminal works of literary criticism in the discipline
- participates in, and leads, major nationally and internationally funded research projects
- collaborates with national organisations (such as Children’s Books Ireland) and international centres for research (such as the Children’s Literature Unit, Newcastle University and the Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University)
- hosts DCU’s multi-disciplinary Network for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture (which links members of staff across the university’s faculties engaged with children’s and young adult literature in their work)
- encourages public debate about children’s and young adult literature
For further information on the Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English, please contact the director of the centre, Dr Keith O’Sullivan by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone, at +353 (0)1 700 6097.
The Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English, supports the school’s master’s degree in children’s and young adult literature programme.
The study of children’s literature at the School of English has its origins in a long tradition of scholarship in the discipline associated with two of the university’s incorporating colleges: the former Church of Ireland College of Education offered the first postgraduate qualification (a diploma) in children’s literature, in Ireland, in 1992; the former Department of English, at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, offered the first taught master’s programme in the discipline, in Ireland, in 1997.
Since September 2017, students at the School of English have been able to study for a master’s degree or graduate diploma in children’s and young adult literature programmes, which marks an exciting departure for both the discipline and the new school.
For further information on the school’s master’s degree or graduate diploma, please contact the chair of the MA programme, Dr Keith O’Sullivan by e-mail, at email@example.com, or by telephone, at +353 (0)1 700 6097. Alternatively, you can find a prospectus at https://www.dcu.ie/courses/Postgraduate/english/MA-Childrens-and-Young-Adult-Literature.shtml.
MA/GradDip Teaching Staff 2019-2021
School of English
Prof Derek Hand, Dr Kit Fryatt, Dr Michael Hinds, Dr Paula Murphy, Dr Sharon Murphy, Dr Keith O’Sullivan, Dr Jim Shanahan and Dr Julie Anne Stevens
School of Applied Languages and Linguistics
Dr Áine Mcguillicuddy and Dr Ryoko Sasamoto
Dr Valerie Coghlan, Dr Jane Dillion, Dr Ciara Gallagher, Prof Peter Hunt, Dr Brian McManus and Jennifer Mooney
Bhattacharya, Anindita: “Bid him bring the knife of the magic blade | At whose lightning flash the charm will fade”: Re-interpreting the Supernatural in Irish and Bengali Chridren's Literature. PhD thesis, Dublin City University (Supervisor: Dr Keith O’Sullivan)
Hudson, Allison: Beautiful Things: Material Culture and Chidlren's Literature. (Supervisors: Dr Áine Mcgillicuddy and Dr Sharon Murphy)
Mooney, Jennifer: Representing Girls: Feminism, Power and Sexuality in the works of Louise O’Neill. (Supervisor: Dr Keith O’Sullivan)
Baker, Audrey (2015) The Portrayal of Disability in Young Adult Fiction: A Critical Examination. PhD thesis, Dublin City University. (Supervisors: Dr Derek Hand, Dr Noreen Doody and Celia Keenan)
Herron, Anne Marie (2011) The Tyranny of the Past? Revolution, Retrospection and Remembrance in the work of Irish writer, Eilis Dillon, Volumes I & II. PhD thesis, Dublin City University. (Supervisors: Dr Mary Shine Thompson, Celia Keenan and Dr Julie Anne Stevens)
Keyes, Marian Thérèse (2010) “Taken from the Life” Mimetic Truth and Ekphrastic Eloquence in the Writings of Anna Maria Fielding Hall (1800-1881). PhD thesis, Dublin City University. (Supervisors: Dr Mary Shine Thompson and Celia Keenan)
O’Sullivan, Keith (2010) In a Tradition of Republican Revolution: Romanticism and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. PhD thesis, Dublin City University. (Supervisors: Dr Derek Hand, Dr Mary Shine Thompson and Celia Keenan)
Gender Identity: Child Readers and Library Collections (2017-2019)
- DCU PI: Dr Keith O’Sullivan, School of English
- DCU Project Assistant: Sue Miller, Education Librarian, Cregan Library
The Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English, partnered University of Bologna — and project partners University of Vigo, University of Paris 13, Regional Library of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria) and City Library of Sarajevo — on the Creative Europe project ‘Gender Identity: Child Readers and Library Collections’.
Th €310,000 project, which was co-funded with a European Union grant, brought together specialists working in children's literature, gender studies, translation studies, library science and education, with the aim of discovering, exploring and promoting literature that enables young readers (from the age of 3 to 10) to reflect on their identities and, in their own time, question stereotypes, bias and perceived norms around gender.
The project partners created a select, multilingual bibliography of children’s books concerned with gender identity that is accessible through a purpose-built website. For further information, please go to http://www.g-book.eu.
To supplement the online bibliography, project partners also created dedicated sections in a number of libraries throughout Europe to promote books in the bibliography. Running alongside the creation of the bibliography and dedicated library sections were a range of educational activities to support the aim of the project, including lectures; public readings; workshops for children, parents and educators; and, events in collaboration with national organisations, such as Children's Books Ireland.
'Louder than words', The iBbY Ireland Annual Lecture and Symposium. This talk was co-sponsored by the Centre for Research in Children's and Young Adult Literature, School of English
David Wiesner is an American illustrator and writer of children’s books, known best for his 'silent books’. As an illustrator, he was awarded three Caldecott medals, which recognise a year's ‘most distinguished American picture book for children’. He was one of five finalists in 2008 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Anderson Award, the highest recognition available for creators of children’s books. In, this is his first speaking engagement in Ireland, David explored the art of wordless picturebooks.
"'Another Fine Mess You’ve Got us into, Gandalf.’ The Private Faces of Children’s Literature Studies", Professor Peter Hunt (Professor Emeritus in English and Children's Literature Cardiff University, UK). This talk was presented as part of the MA in Childen's and Young Adult degree programme, School of English
Forty years ago there were a handful of books about children’s literature. Now there are thousands. How do (especially, young) scholars cope? What strategies have been used to deal with this amazing and amorphous subject, as cultures have changed, childhoods have changed, and media have changed – and perhaps the texts themselves. Children’s Literature as a discipline has (broadly speaking) bounced from being a tool of conservative education, to high theory, to academic conventionality, and now to being a tool of cultural intervention - but what has been, and is, constant? Struggles with gender, status, non-peer interpretation and cognition, the idea of the child, and, most of all, power imbalance and are part of the essential nature and challenge of the discipline. In this talk, Prof Hunt, with many wonderful and weird examples, showed how generations of ingenious scholars have cut their ways through this deeply tangled literary and cultural forest, while asking more questions about how such cutting might be done in the future.
"‘'What Shall We Tell the Grown Ups?’ The Public Face of Children’s Literature Studies", Professor Peter Hunt (Professor Emeritus in English and Children's Literature Cardiff University, UK). This talk was presented as part of the School of English Research Seminar Series
Children’s Literature is one of the most exciting of subjects, but – especially in a world when the Humanities is under siege – its virtues (indeed, its purpose) may not always be obvious to the outside world. This talk looked at popular misconceptions about children’s literature (such as what it’s like, and what it can or should do) and what academics can or should do to deal with them. Examing new books about the making of Carroll’s ‘Alice’ books, and The Wind in the Willows, Prof Hunt explored whether we can bridge the gap between what specialist scholars know and what the reading public knows – or wants to know.
‘Reweaving Middle Earth: Diana Wynne Jones, the archive, and the shadow of Tolkien’, Dr Lucy Pearson (Newcastle University, UK)
Dr Lucy Pearson, head of the Children’s Literature Unit at Newcastle University, presented a wonderful talk on what the archive can tell us about the development of women’s literary voices. Dr Pearson argued that, writing in a genre which sprang largely from the work of her former teacher Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones produced some of the most distinctive works of modern children’s fantasy. Reading The Spellcoats from the perspective of the archive – both literal and literary – Dr Pearson illustrated how Jones negotiated questions of influence and gender.
‘Conversations in the Classroom’
Under the direction of Dr Julie Anne Stevens, the centre created a public forum for debate about children’s literature and culture by initiating a series of provocative talks about books and other resources in the classroom. Drawn from both the humanities and education, these informal conversations were presented by both national and international and national speakers to raise awareness about developments across the disciplines.
Bailiúchán Uí Dhochartaigh Collection
The Library of St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra acquired this collection of teenage fiction as Gaeilge in 2012. It includes some 53 titles by Cathal Ó Sándair, and 32 by other authors including Eoghan Ó Grádaigh and P. D. Linn. Cathal Ó Sándair was born in 1922 in Weston-Super-Mare and he became a prolific writer of fiction in the Irish language. Central to his four main series works are characters: detective Réics Carlo, cowboy Réamonn Óg, seafarer Captaen Toirneach, and astronaut Captaen Spéirling. Ó Sándair's books were hugely popular and he died in 1966.
Bartlett Puffin Collection
Jan Bartlett collected some 778 titles in Penguin's Puffin series and the Church of Ireland College of Education continued this work with the result that the library now holds an almost complete run from PS1 to PS1199 (NCCB, 2015). For an overview of this collection, see the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project at https://nccb.tcd.ie/libraries-collections.
- ‘The development of Puffin Books’ (login req.) by Kate Wright. In Bookbird (2009), 47(1).
- ‘The Puffin Story Book Phenomenon: Popularization, Canonization and Fantasy, 1941–1979’ by Keith O’Sullivan. In Children’s Literature Collections: Approaches to Research (2017).
- ‘Puffin power: the Jan Bartlett Collection of Puffin Books’ by Valerie Coghlan. In Inis (2003), no. 6, autumn.
Centre for Children's Literature and Culture Legacy Library Collection
The Centre for Children's Literature and Culture (now the Centre for Research in Children’s and Young adult Literature, School of English) was established by the former Department of English, St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, in 2006, to support its master’s degree in children’s literature, first offered in 1997. The centre drew upon the department’s expertise and that of the wider college community (as well as external experts) to advance the study of children’s literature in a multi-disciplinary context. In June 2016 (in light of the incorporation of the college into DCU), the then director of the centre, Dr. Julie Anne Stevens, placed its library into the care of DCU Library. A snapshot of the collection can be found at https://dcu.libguides.com/CCL.
Junior Special Collection
The Junior Special Collection favours books of Irish interest, rare items, items of value, and items at risk. It provides an important insight into children's literature in twentieth-century Ireland. The oldest book in the collection is Maria Edgeworth's The parent's assistant or Stories for children (in three volumes), published in Dublin by John Cumming in 1829. More generally the collection includes works by Eilís Dillon; Meta Mayne Reid; Eileen O'Faoláin; Sinéad De Valera; Madeleine Pollard; Walter Macken; Charles Kingsley, as well as a fine copy of An tÁilleán, the first children's picture book published in Irish, dated 1902. For an overview of this collection, see the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project at https://nccb.tcd.ie/libraries-collections.
Kildare Place Society Collection
In 1969 the training college of the Kildare Place Society moved to Rathmines and became the Church of Ireland Training College, and later again the Church of Ireland College of Education. This collection contains some 185 records and publications of the Kildare Place Society. For an overview of this collection, see the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project at https://nccb.tcd.ie/libraries-collections.
‘The Kildare Place Society: an influential force in 19th-century Irish education’ by Valerie Coghlan and Geraldine O’Connor. In Acts of reading: teachers, text and childhood (2009).
Padraic Colum Collection
Poet, playwright, writer, folklorist, and children's author Padraic Colum was born in a workhouse in Longford in 1881. He emigrated with his wife to the USA in 1914 and began writing a series of stories for children for the New York Sunday Tribune. His works for children include versions of epic tales and well-known stories. The Library holds a number of books by and about Padraic Colum. For an overview of this collection, see the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project at https://nccb.tcd.ie/libraries-collections.
Patricia Lynch Collection
Children's author, Patricia Lynch, was born in Cork in 1898. The library holds 70 of her titles and an almost complete set of her first editions. One particular gem is a first-edition copy of Asal Fhéar na Mónadh (The turf-cutter's donkey), translated by Maighréad Nic Mhaicín and illustrated by Jack B. Yeats. For an overview of this collectionsee the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project at https://nccb.tcd.ie/libraries-collections.
The library holds approximately 500 items published with the Ladybird trademark since 1940. There has been little formal scoping of this collection and it presents significant research opportunities for scholars.
The Schoolbook Collection comprises more than 10,000 items published to support the national school curricula. This collection reflects what was taught in Irish schools. There has been little formal scoping of this collection and it presents significant research opportunities for scholars. The majority of titles are from the twentieth century, but the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are also represented. The earliest title is a sermon by Edward Pelling dated 1679. Elements of this collection are the Maguire Collection purchased in the 1980s, and a significant donation by Dr. Vanessa Rutherford, of UCC. It is noteworthy that opportunities to fill in any 'gaps' in this collection are rapidly diminishing. For an overview of this collection, see the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project at https://nccb.tcd.ie/libraries-collections.
The Centre is delighted to host the DCU Network for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture, a university-wide community of librarians, lecturers and researchers that promotes children’s and young adult literature and culture in teaching and research across faculties and schools.
The network meets once a semester to share members’ current teaching and research and to discuss possibilities for collaboration.
Below is a list of current members of the network, with their roles and affiliations, teaching and research interests, and contact details. Please feel free to contact members to discuss possible collaborations in the area of children’s and young adult literature and culture.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
McGillicuddy, Áine: assistant professor in German and children’s literature studies, School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Áine’s research interests are in the following areas: Holocaust, war and exile narratives (ranging from Kindertransport accounts to current contexts) in children’s and YA literature; national/ethnic stereotypes in children’s /YA literature (in particular using the comparative literary studies methodology of Imagology); multimodal texts (particularly wordless picturebooks).
Further information on Áine’s current teaching and research profile is available here: https://www.dcu.ie/salis/people/aine-mcgillicuddy.shtml.
Murphy, Sharon: assistant professor and former chair of the MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature degree, School of English
Sharon welcomes opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in the following areas: representations/constructions of the child/childhood in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century children's (and adult) literature; the adventure story (between the early nineteenth and early twentieth centuries); the child and colonial India; children's literature and its audiences.
For further information on current teaching, publications and research, please see http://www.dcu.ie/english/people/sharon.murphy.shtml.
O’Sullivan, Keith: associate professor, chair of the MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature degree, director of the Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English
Keith welcomes opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in the following areas: children's and young adult literature (particularly in relation to theory, special collections, and literature of the city); contemporary YA fantasy; multimodal texts (particularly postmodern picturebooks); and Romanticism (particularly in relation to children’s and young adult poetry and literary constructions of childhood).
For further information on current teaching, publications and research, please see http://www.dcu.ie/english/people/keith-osullivan.shtml.
Institute of Education
Lehane, Orla: education director, Fighting Words/Fighting Words Research Fellow, Institute of Education
Orla welcomes opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in the following areas: the use of children's and young adult literature in the classroom (at all levels of education and across disciplines); the child's/young adult's voice within literature; children and young adults as writers/creators of stories/storytellers; children's and young adult literature and international relations/human rights.
Oberman, Rowan: assistant professor of global citizenship education and co-director of the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education. Institute of Education
Rowan welcomes opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in the following areas: the use of children's and young adult literature in the classroom (at all levels of education and across disciplines), the role of creative writing in education (across disciplines); picturebook theory; reader response theory and creative pedagogy for teaching and learning in climate change and global citizenship education.
The DCU Centre for Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, School of English, is a designated nominating body for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA). The decision was made by the Swedish award jury at its meeting in December 2019.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council. At SEK 5 million, it is the world's largest award for children's and young adult literature. The award is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible for the award, which is designed to promote interest in children's and young adult literature. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by designated institutions and organisations worldwide.
DCU nominating meetings are held every February and are open to everyone with a teaching, research or purely personal interest in children’s and young adult literature.