DBF Interviews: Máite Lopez

ProfilePhoto Maite Lopez by Design IrelandMaite López uses her love of books, design and illustration to inspire you to go on your own literary adventure and re-discover Irish classics in a fun way. She is the co-founder of AT iT AGAiN! They are currently working on new titles for the Romping through Irish Literature series, and previous titles for this include Romping through Ulysses and Dracula.


We caught up with Maite to talk about the company’s story, self-employment, her most rewarding project to date, the growing trend of fiction tourism and what we can expect from her event this Friday.


Maite will be speaking at The Business Clinic, in association with Local Enterprise Office – Dublin.


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Did you always want to start up your own business? What prompted you to co-found ATiTAGAiN!?  


Growing up, I was not aware that self-employment in the form of running your own business was an option. It was all about graduating and getting a secure job. Coming to Ireland opened my eyes to these possibilities. It is much easier to start your own business here than in Germany and I made full use of that. At it Again! is one of three businesses I have started since coming here. I am definitely turning into a serial entrepreneur!


At it Again! started from the mission to get more people involved in the Bloomsday celebrations. As reading “Ulysses” is the biggest hindrance to that, we decided to make the big book more accessible and fun. “Romping through Ulysses” was born. After the success of this first book, we saw the potential in giving Irish classics the At it Again! treatment by bringing them to life and giving people the opportunity to immerse themselves thanks to our interactive pocket guides. Nobody else was particularly promoting Dublin as a city where some of the most famous authors come from at the time, so we wanted to promote and celebrate the fact that writers such as Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift were Irish. Coming from Germany, which was severely damaged in the war, it is particularly amazing to me that most of the original locations from the authors’ lives and in Joyce’s case, his books, are still standing. A fact that a lot of the rest of the world is still unaware of. This also prompted our “Made in Ireland” Irish Writers card series.


What’s been your most rewarding project so far?


I think the most rewarding project for me personally is the one we are working on right now, which is a series of Irish Women Writers cards. We were unable to do that before because of the financial risk involved. Unfortunately they are not as well-known globally as their male counterparts. But thanks to UNESCO Dublin City of Literature who is supporting this project, we are in the middle of bringing out a series of eight cards, celebrating writers such as Lady Gregory, Dorothy Macardle, Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Binchy and Edna O’Brien. During the research for the cards, I have fallen in love with all these amazing women who were so much more than just writers. And the reaction we have gotten already is fantastic.


Fiction tourism has gotten really popular recently. The Romping through Irish Literature Series was a huge success for you! Do you think this trend will develop and blossom in the next five years? 


It is definitely a growing trend. In 2016, the literary tourism market in Ireland was worth €6.6 billion. And this year’s Bloomsday Festival saw a notable increase in overseas visitors. Together with the trend that people want bite-sized information presented in an entertaining way, I think At it Again!’s “Romping through Irish Literature” series will continue to grow.


 Your Business Clinic event at #DBF2018 will take place at 9AM on Friday 16 November and we are really looking forward to it! Can you give our readers any hints on what to expect?


I will be talking about making it in the book industry without being in the book industry. The question of whether to find a publisher or self-publish will be touched and I will tell the audience about the challenges we faced and how we created a unique product in a competitive market.