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Review 5.25: The Dragon Hunter, with author: Patricia Forde

Held at the Critic Bookshop, The Place.
Author: Patricia Forde
Book: The Dragon Hunter
Time: 13:00 – 14:00pm
Date: 25-05-2019
What better way to spend a hot afternoon in May in Beijing than under the same roof with award-winning story writing and storytelling of renowned Irish author, Patricia Forde who stunned participants, both parents and children with her reading of her novels at the 4th EU-CHINA INTERNATIONAL LITERARY FESTIVAL. A bilingual author who has brilliant experience in story telling not only for children but for all ages thrilled readers and participants with her exquisite story-telling abilities. Patricia’s reading brought together expectant parents and excited children who were going to enjoy her work.
Patricia began the reading by introducing herself to the children. She said she lived in Ireland, which is very far away and said Ireland was not as China, it had lots of rain and not lots of sun. Patricia said Ireland was a land with many stories and fables. These stories trace back to many years of history and rich culture. Some of the stories featured monsters, giants and magic. It had always been her passion and desire to also come out with her own stories. She had already surrounded herself with many books from Ireland.
Patricia’s first story The Dragon Hunter about a little bear who has this humungous ambition of hunting a dragon. In its mind, it possesses the expertise and tools necessary to embark on this conquest. The bear was confident that his conquest was going to be successful but for two conditions; there should be no terrifying dark forests and smoke from the dragon’s fire. Without these, the little bear would move without an aorta of doubt that he could finish this mission. As the little bear begins this interesting journey, along his way, he is met with an inner strength that transcends his expectations. He realizes that his fears only exist in his mind and he can conquer them when he wants to.
Patricia engages the children and asks them what their fears are. Her story teaches children to look beyond the tiny little fears they hold, which to them seem gargantuan but have no power to limit their potential to dream big and achieve anything they put their mind to. Patricia is an author who creates the most relevant lessons through writing books and stories that children can relate with. This story is even more relevant and influential in the current dispensation where there is heavy competition for children academically, financially and intellectually. These challenges are only surmounted by children who are resilient and ready to conquer their fears and Patricia does that exceptionally in her book.
The second story narrates a journey of a young girl who gets locked in the bathroom. The story tells a complex tale of how this young girl creates her own world by making several encounters in the bathroom while she is locked up. In her world, where she is locked, she encounters a dragon, a witch and her world is turned around. The story presents various themes to ponder on. The involvement of parents as their little child goes through this very adventurous and interesting journey of hers. The story in its simplicity also educates the children on the power of knowing what role each profession entails. The story includes the presence of a fire chief who helps Lola get out of her ordeal with little progress. The story captures this experience to admirable detail using various themes to arouse the interest of readers.
Patricia spent time interacting with the parents and children after the book was read. She was as much delighted with the feedback from the audience as much as they were with her narration. In her delivery, she spread out the pages of the book and flipped each page so that at every point in time the children could follow the narration and enjoy the story to its most intricate detail.
Speaking to a parent after the event, Bo Guo said this was his first time attending the event. He could not stop re-emphasizing how magical this experience had been as it was very different being in the presence of the author who had written the piece. He said it was an incredible experience for both him and his daughter and he would be willing to attend such more events.
The event was a complete success. The author created a very open space for the children to enjoy their time listening to her reading. She was more interested in speaking directly to the children and hearing their stories and experiences after the reading. She indeed is an exceptional writer with a heart of warmth that welcomes her audience even beyond her writing but to a more intense space of interaction, knowledge sharing and entertainment through writing.

Report by
Robert Chireboah-Ansah