INTERNATIONAL literary sensation Darren Shan is helping pupils at a Limerick school create their own horror stories.
The Limerick author inspired the Darren Shan zombie writing competition in St Nessan’s community college, where over 80 students put pen to paper to have a stab at writing their own spine-chilling tales.
Their brief was to write an essay beginning with the words from Darren Shan’s latest novel, Zom-B.
It begins: “It was the darkest, most wretched hour of the night when the dead came back to life and spread like a plague of monstrous locusts through the village of Pallaskenry...”
After much deliberation, the seven winners were announced: Grace Rogan, Shane Leahy, Christopher O’Brien, Conor Hannan, Cian Guerin, Kim Kiely, and Gary Dillon.
All of the students got to meet the world famous author and each student received a signed copy of his latest book in the Georgian House, Pery Square.
At the meet-and-greet, he congratulated all the students on their essays and encouraged them to write more, especially in this digital age.
All schools who took part received a selection of Darren Shan’s books for their students to enjoy.
“There was a fantastic response to this competition here in the school and we plan to display all entries in the school library later in the week for all our students and parents to see,” explained Marie Toomey, Junior Cert Schools Programme [JCSP], St Nessan’s Community College, Moylish Park.
Ms Toomey said this is one of the many literacy projects running in the school to encourage all their students to read and write more.
“Events like this act as an incentive for students to put pen to paper and get writing. The JCSP programme is designed to ensure that these young people can benefit from their time in school and enjoy the experience of improvement and success,” she said.
Fine Gael deputy Kieran O’Donnell also stressed the importance of reading and developing one’s vocabulary and writing, while deputy mayor, Councillor Joe Leddin emphasised the creativity of writing, and the power of a book to transport you into another world.
Darren O’Shaughnessy, or Darren Shan as he goes by in the publishing world, has had his books sold in 31 countries and translated into 39 languages to date.