Best-selling children's book translated into Irish

A Wexford author’s best-selling children’s book, Artemis Fowl, is to be translated into the Irish language, it was confirmed today.

Following hot on the success of the translation of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, Eoin Colfer’s book Artemis Fowl, following the teenage criminal genius, is due to hit the shelves in Irish in the spring.

Translator Maire Nic Mhaolain, who also wrote the translation Harry Potter Agus An Orchloch, said: “I am hoping it will go down well with children.

“I understand sales of the Harry Potter book are going well. I hope Artemis Fowl will be equally as successful.”

Wexford-born Colfer’s Artemis Fowl titles have sold more than half a million copies in the UK and were published in 32 countries since the first one hit the shelves in 2001.

In October 2000, the schoolteacher won one of the largest advances paid to an unknown writer for his children’s book.

Miramax films also bought the rights for the film version of Artemis Fowl, which won the 2002 WH Smith Award in the children’s category.

The books, which are published by Puffin, the children’s print section of Penguin, follow the adventures Artemis Fowl, a young computer-obsessed teenage boy genius from North Dublin who possesses an adult criminal mind.

The tales contain a cast of disgruntled fairies, leprechauns, a killer troll and lots of technology and gadgets.

Michael McLoughlin, managing director of publisher Penguin Ireland, said: “In doing an Artemis Fowl book, they are already a success in the English language and in other countries.

“We know we have something kids really love.”

Mr McLoughlin said the publishers were hoping the translation of the first Artemis Fowl book would be used by teachers and parents to aid children in learning the Irish language.

“It is important for Puffin to bring contemporary books in Irish to people,” he said.

“There have been complaints from teachers that there aren’t enough contemporary children’s books as gaeilge.”

He added: “I think it is good to encourage the Irish language, it is not about money or profits, it is just about bringing Artemis Fowl to a new audience.

“We are hopeful it will be used in schools – teachers always say they don’t have enough modern materials.”

Nic Mhaolain said the translation into Irish of the Harry Potter book had been welcomed by teachers and parents.

She added: “They have read it in English but that doesn’t seem to have stopped them reading it in Irish also.”

Mr McLoughlin said few books were translated into Irish as it was difficult to make the translation economically viable.

“Bookshops are very reluctant to stock a lot of copies of books in Irish,” he said, adding he was hopeful thousands of copies would be printed.

Ms Mhaolain said the translation of the first in the series of Artemis Fowl books took her six months to translate, while JK Rowling’s Harry Potter book took nine months.

“Artemis Fowl is certainly very different, I can tell you that. Harry Potter was very challenging, Artemis Fowl, although about fairies and magic, is a different kettle of fish, very modern hi-tech and slangy language,” she said.

The translator revealed she was hopeful that more books from both the Harry Potter series and the Artemis Fowl saga would also be translated into Irish.

Mr McLoughlin said: “We will see how this one goes where the other Artemis Fowl books are concerned.”

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