2 minutes with… Paper Lanterns


For this ‘2 minutes with’, we are delighted to have guest blogger Zack, aged 16, putting some questions to Grace and Amy from Paper Lanterns ahead of their online writing workshop for teenagers as part of the #DBF23 programme.


Paper Lanterns is a teen and young adult literary journal founded in 2020. Grace Kelley, Amy O’Sullivan, and Maggie Masterson co-edit the journal. The journal aims to bring the voices of young writers in Ireland into the spotlight. Grace and Amy were kind enough to answer my questions in the lead up to their workshop with the Dublin Book Festival. 

What inspired you to start Paper Lanterns?

We noticed that Ireland produces many amazing literary journals, but they all publish writers over either over the age of 16 or 18. We were also aware that some very talented Irish YA writers had been published in the past several years too. However, we noticed that there wasn’t a journal that published YA, nor a journal that published young writers. We decided to take a chance and fill that gap in the market. We wanted to create a platform for young voices from Ireland and around the world.

What advice would you give a budding writer like me?

Read, read, read – and not just the genre you want to write. Explore different forms too: poetry, short stories, non-fiction, plays. Think about why you might like a certain writer and their work. Be an active reader – in other words, be aware of their writing style or technique while you read. There’s also no harm in taking a course or two. It doesn’t have to be an M.A. There are so many brilliant short courses available online. Learn about the craft, connect with other emerging writers, and learn to give and accept feedback. (That’s a lot of advice! Don’t feel like you have to take it all on.)

What should people expect from the workshop?

We hope people will be inspired and challenged. While we’re focusing on non-fiction and book reviews, we’ll also make time to talk about the creative writing section in the journal. We’ll look at how to generate ideas for personal essays and opinion pieces, and we’ll spend time writing a book review, as well as learning some tips on how to make your review really stand out.

What YA writers are your inspirations?

Probably every YA writer we’ve interviewed! But we’d need more than two minutes… Deirdre Sullivan is a writer with a back catalogue of YA books we would urge any young writer (or reader) to read. We’re also huge fans of debut novelist Amy Clarkin. Both of these writers’ stories will give you chills! On the other hand, Nikita Gill’s poetry collection These Are the Words has warmed the cockles of our hearts – an uplifting and empowering read.


Book your tickets HERE to join Grace and Amy on Wednesday the 8th of November at 7:00pm for what looks to be an exciting online workshop!