During the Fellowship Myra has made it her mission to get young people excited about reading, and telling their own stories, in their own words. There have been over 100 events all across the country, including the publication of 'Heartlands', a poetry anthology by students from 10 schools, published in partnership with Mid Uster Council.
Myra was one of the writers who invited us into their writing room during the lockdown of Spring/Summer 2020. For more insights, have a look in our Writers' Rooms...
With a house full of musicians, chefs, nerf-blasters, and rocket engineers, our former Children's Writing Fellow Myra Zepf invites us into the sanctuary of her writing room, where genies await (in some form or other).
Where are we?
In my home office. My beloved desk has spent years skulking in the corners of living rooms. Since we moved house recently, it now has a room of its own with a door that closes. The ‘Keep Out’ sign on the door is a vicious rumour.
What are you working on?
I’m working on dogs, genies, magical stonemasons, lighthouses, creepy crawlies and teenage idealism. But not all at once. I’m turning them into a short story, a picture book, and animated film and a verse novel. I hope.
What’s that over there?
I’m glad you asked about that. It’s an Arabian Nights magic lamp I found in Oxfam. I kind of wished for it – not even out loud – and it appeared in the bric-a-brac section and now I’m scared to rub it…
What’s that sound?
Em, it might be an 11 year old playing the fiddle. Or a 12 year old shooting a nerf strike blaster. Or a 14 year old exploding CO2 canister rockets in the back yard. Or a 15 year old cooking something that requires every saucepan in the house. Or a 16 year old learning White Stripes chords on the guitar. There are 5 kids here. I can’t hear a thing la-la-la-
How does isolation help or hinder you?
I would love to try it sometime to find out.
Time for a break…?
A stroll up the Holywood Hills with the ipod. Panoramic views over Belfast Lough, gorse and the Women’s Hour podcast. Pure bliss.
What are you reading/watching/listening to these days?
I’m loving Naomi Novik’s folktale-inspired novels. I’m also slightly obsessed with wordless picture books by Shaun Tan and David Wiesner among others. And I have a weekly date with the Duncairn’s Virtual Cabaret - the perfect mix of artists I already love and new discoveries.
What might you revisit in times of crisis or uncertainty?
Just before lockdown started, we put on a dance show of my book ‘An Féileacán agus an Rí’ – (The Butterfly and the King) choreographed by Clara Kerr. I made a playlist of all the music she had chosen for the show. I keep listening to it at low moments for the beauty of the pieces, for the memories of happy busy days and for the promise that one day we will be back out there in the world putting events on stage, no matter how long that takes.