Properbook 2023: The Business of Children’s Books

In Partnership with Children's Books Ireland / dlr Libraries

  • Thursday 09th November @ 6:30 pm
  • dlr LexIcon Studio
  • 20/15

Programmed by Sarah Webb.

Speakers for this event include Award-winning Children’s Authors Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Mary Murphy and Sarah Webb; Aoife Murray from Children’s Books Ireland; Publishers Ivan O’Brien from The O’Brien Press, Matthew Parkinson-Bennett from Little Island Books and Róisín Adams from Futa Fata.

What kind of children’s books are publishers looking for at the moment? How much do children’s authors and illustrators get paid? Do you need an agent? How can you sustain a viable career as a children’s writer or illustrator living and working in Ireland? And how important is it to look after your mental and physical health as an artist? Discover why you don’t need illustrations to submit a picture book, how long a middle grade novel (age 9+) should ideally be, what the current trends in children’s books are and so much more! If you have a question about writing or illustrating for children of all ages and getting published, Properbook is the event for you! Come with questions and leave with answers.

Note: If you are unwaged or a student, we have a limited number of tickets set aside at no fee. Please do get in touch at In addition, event partner Children’s Books Ireland can also provide some financial support for anyone who requires it towards travel, accommodation and child care costs, please let us know about your needs and what level of financial support would allow you to attend this event. Again, please do get in touch at All information shared is strictly confidential.



6.30pm Opening by Aoife Murray from CBI

6.35pm – 7.20pm Marie-Louise and Mary Murphy speak about The Whole Business of Children’s Books – from Getting Published to Getting Paid with Sarah Webb

They will cover writing and the market, getting published, finding an agent, sustaining a long-term career, how much children’s writers and illustrators earn, plus minding your health and wellbeing as a children’s writer.

Questions from the floor

7.20pm – 7.25pm Comfort break

7.25pm – 8.00pm Ivan O’Brien, Matthew Parkinson-Bennett and Róisín Adams talk to Aoife Murray about submission, publishing, what their publishing houses are looking for, how much a children’s writer or illustrator can expect to get paid and what their publishing houses try to do to sustain Irish children’s writers’ careers.

8pm Questions from the floor

8.15pm Close Aoife Murray from CBI


Róisín Adams is an editor with Futa Fata, a Galway-based publishing house that specialises in Irish-language books for children. She has a PhD in the history of Irish-language publishing for children and is an accredited translator. Before joining the Futa Fata team she spent many years teaching Irish to adults with Gaelchultúr and Maynooth University.


Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick is a multi-award-winning children’s author and illustrator. As an author she is something of a shape-shifter, creating children’s books across various genres and age groups. She has won four Children’s Book Ireland Book of the Year Awards. Her latest picture book is ‘Don’t’.




Mary Murphy’s first book, ‘I Like it When…’ was published with Egmont in 1997. Since then, she has written and illustrated more than 45 bright, strong books, mainly for preschoolers. Many of her books have been chosen for national baby book schemes, most recently ‘Mouse is Small’; for both Scottish Book Trust and Welsh Book Trust, and ‘Good Night Like This’; for Bookseed in Limerick. Next year (2024) sees the publication of her first middle-grade novel (with Pushkin Press), and her first theatre piece for children with Branar.



Aoife Murray is Programme and Events Manager for Children’s Books Ireland. She holds an MPhil in Popular Literature from Trinity College. She has worked at Children’s Books Ireland since 2011, working in public relations previously. Aoife lives in Dublin with her husband and son.




© Bryan Meade

Ivan O’Brien is the Managing Director, The O’Brien Press. He is an experienced book professional with an Irish and international outlook. He is in awe of people who actually writes books, and feels privileged to help their share their stories with the world.





Matthew Parkinson-Bennett is Publisher with Little Island Books, a Dublin-based independent publisher of books for young readers. He has spent most of his career working in editorial roles, across trade, academic, educational and legal publishing. In previous lives he taught English in Ireland, England and Spain, and written for outlets including the Times Literary Supplement, Irish Times and Dublin Review of Books.



© Ger Holland

Sarah Webb is an award-winning children’s writer of over 40 books, a children’s bookseller and creative writing teacher. She also reviews children’s books for the Irish Independent and programmes children’s book events for various festivals and organisations. She is Events Manager for children’s bookshop, Halfway up the Stairs in Greystones, Co. Wicklow. She has recently been working on the Discover Irish Children’s Books campaign.




Children’s Books Ireland is the national books organisation of Ireland. Through their many activities and events they aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of books for young people and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland. One of their missions is to champion every child’s right to excellent books and live literature events and support the artists who make that goal possible across the island of Ireland.