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Alan Corbett’s Ghost of Shandon made it into the short list for Cork’s favourite book.
Ghost of Shandon is a graphic novel and children’s book based mainly in 18th Century Cork City, Ireland. This is a fascinating period of Cork’s history in which French Huguenots, Dutch merchants, British land owners and the local Irish made Cork the second largest port in the world.
The city serves as a backdrop for the tale of two children, Ronan and Aisling. Ronan lived in a lighthouse in modern day Castletownbere, West Cork but moves to the city when his father loses his job. Bullied in his new home, he comes in contact with Aisling, who works as a maid for a Dutch merchant family on Tuckey Street in 18th century Cork and their adventure begins.
Alan Corbett graduated with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art in 2010 following a BA in Graphic Design at Cork IT. Taking inspiration from classical Irish illustrators such as Harry Clarke, Richard Doyle and Daniel Maclise, he has exhibited in Ireland and the UK.
Born close to St Catherine’s graveyard in Kilcully, County Cork, Alan’s imagination was fired by playing there. While friends looked forward to Christmas, he found Halloween much more fascinating. His first book, The Ghost of Shandon, is his dream come true. “Creating an adventure, a fairytale based in my home city of Cork brings many of my interests together. I can recall as a child noting that New York had Spiderman, London had Sherlock Holmes, Paris had the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Cork had nobody! Illustration and writing have always been a huge passion in my life and my ambition was to re-create historical Cork City as this magical place, full of unique characters.” Extensive research in libraries and archives revealed that Cork had narrow laneways, canal systems and European architecture which made Cork look more like Amsterdam that an Irish city back then, with locals living alongside French Huguenots, Dutch merchants and British landlords. He wrote his story around this rich heritage in language easily understood by the children of ages he has taught in schools over the years.
The book is available in bookshops and at http://www.onstream.ie