Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Mia visits O'Brien Press and discovers the world of children's publishing!

On Friday 25th April, Bleach House Library took a road trip.....Seven of us jammed into the car for a day in Dublin.  The special occasion? Mia was off to interview the staff at Irish Publishing House, The O'Brien Press......

Mia is 10 years old and, like her mother, adores the world of books.  She contributes reviews to this blog as well as to Writing.ie and various children's publishers. She has even had one of her reviews quoted on the cover  of a children's book.   Her idea of heaven was to visit a publishing house and see how it all works.  She planned her questions in advance and thought the day would never arrive!

Well it did arrive, and after some heavy traffic and a late arrival ( oooops ), we found the beautiful three storey house of heaven, located on a leafy Rathgar Street.  Greeted by Clare Kelly, we were brought into meet all the lovely staff and got to see where all the magic of publishing happens.  A team of marketing, sales, PR, editors, graphic designers, and many more, are all involved in getting the author's work into book format and making sure it gets on the shelves of book shops, libraries and schools.  We got to meet the lovely Helen Carr, who showed Mia all the ins and outs of editing a book.  There was so much to do before the book wold be ready for publication!  Clare then showed us around the offices and we ended up in the very fancy conference room where all the big meetings take place .... the room had bookshelves all around and they were filled to the brim with all O'Brien Press titles.  An amazing place.  Here are some of the questions that Mia got to ask Clare.  The answers are not direct quotes,  any errors are not intentional and are all mine. ( I forgot to turn on voice recorder. Well, I thought I had it turned on - I'll definitely check next time we are interviewing. )


Tell us about your typical day at The O'Brien Press

Clare says the best part of her job is that no day is ever the same.  There is always new things to be done. She looks after the social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook and updates the blog.  She also co-ordinates book events and launches which means she gets to do fun stuff like getting locations ready and making sure the authors are all happy.  She works with a great team of people and they do everything they can to ensure the book is perfect and ready for all their readers!

When did The O'Brien Press start and what was it's first book published?

Founded in 1974, The O'Brien Press is celebrating 40 years of publishing this year.  The very first book published was : 

What is your bestselling title?

Over the years this has been the most popular children's book and can still be found on the bookshelves of most Irish classrooms :

Do you have any child authors?

The O'Brien Press has all adult authors but think that the author's age doesn't matter - just the story and how the readers react.

Where do you print your books?

The books are printed all over the world; Mostly Asia and UK. It depends on how quickly the publisher needs to get the book printed and what kind of paper/graphics etc are needed.

How long does it take for the book to be ready for the shops?

From the time The O'Brien Press decide to publish the book, it can take about 9 months or more.  Again, it depends on the style of book, whether it is a picture book, and how quickly the editing process is complete. Also, if the book is for a certain season, like Christmas, it needs to be launched at the right time.

Who were your favourite authors, growing up?

Clare adored the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling and as a younger child she loved Enid Blyton, especially The FarAway Tree stories.

What is your bestselling age range?

It seems the blue banded books, typically age 9+ are the bestsellers.  Kids love historical fiction and The O'Brien Press supply lots of these titles to schools, bookshops and via their website.  Kids of this age love to read and if the book is based on real life, it makes it all the better.


Mia and I would like to thank Clare, Helen and all the team at The O'Brien Press for showing us around and answering all our questions.  It looks like such a fun place to work and has definitely inspired Mia to read and review even more regularly.  Clare kindly gave us some signed books and Mia is currently loving this one....

Mia & Clare

You can follow The O'Brien Press on Twitter @OBrienPress on Facebook/TheOBrienPress and they have an amazing website  http://www.obrien.ie/ where you can see all their titles and even order them online.

Check back with us here at BleachHouseLibrary to read Mia's reviews........


  1. Mia looks so happy. Sounds like you had great fun

  2. We had an amazing time! Everyone was so welcoming :)

  3. Very exciting day out. Nicely told.

    1. Thanks Siobhan....was a wonderful opportunity for both of us xxx

  4. Sounds like a brilliant day out. I'm presuming Mia wants to be a writer or publisher when she grows up? or both?
    My kids read 'Under the Hawthorn Tree' in school this year. Both enjoyed it.

    1. She would love to work in publishing. Then again, she also wants to work for Lego, as a designer ;)


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