Nine year old Jamie Hickey from Belgooly launches his short story ‘The Big Rescue’ which will be presented to all children who check into the Cork International Hotel this summer. The hotel is also asking children who stay with them to submit their short stories and hope to publish more books in the future. Photo: Brian Lougheed

9 year old Jamie pens first book for children

The search is on for the next David Walliams or Enid Blyton.

The Cork International Hotel has launched a search for Ireland’s next budding children’s author. The hotel is giving children all around Ireland the chance to write their own children's book.

The first book in this initiative has just been launched at the hotel. It was written by Jamie Hickey whose mum Sarah has been working at the hotel for the past 14 years.

General Manager at the Cork International Hotel, Carmel Lonergan said: “The idea for the storybook initiative came from a hotel management team's brainstorming session during lockdown. Our accommodation manager at the hotel, Davina Murphy was looking at family bedroom amenities that could enhance a family stay and came up with the idea to add a child’s story to their pillow.”

As Front Office Manager, Edel Kavanagh and Davina started making plans for re-opening, the idea was developed further with the assistance of Sarah Hickey from reception who is part of the Family Concierge team. As a part of the process, Sarah asked her son Jamie to write a story using the characters from the hotel.

“Jamie and his brothers and sisters have grown up with the hotel as their mum Sarah has been part of the team for the last 14 years, so they are very familiar with all things Cork International Hotel. When Jamie completed the story, this was created into a book called ‘The Big Rescue’ that all children will receive on check in,” added Carmel.

The hotel is now inviting children who stay with them to submit their short stories after their stay and they hope to publish more books in the series throughout the year. They hope to have four short stories a year published that are written by children.