A witch from the Spirits of Meath Halloween festival. Photograph: Barry Cronin

With Halloween around the corner, it’s time to start making planning the weekend. Here is a quick selection of events that will entertain the whole fa(...)

The Macnas parade in Galway.

‘There are real live ghosts in there,” my five-year-old self screamed, running at full pelt from the basement of an historic Co Mayo house to the s(...)

A Quentin Blake illustration in Roald Dahl’s The Twits

A is for Ahlberg Husband-and-wife team Allan and Janet Ahlberg are responsible for some of the best British picture books of the late 20th cent(...)

Read hot: summer reading at Bull Wall, Dollymount. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

1 Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (Vintage, £11.99) We tend to think children will resemble(...)

Brilliant: Roddy Doyle originally wrote his new book as a story for the 2011 Dublin St Patrick’s Festival. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Our economic recession and its impact on individual and nation alike may not seem a likely subject for a children’s novel, particularly one intended p(...)

Busy year: Roddy Doyle. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

It has been a busy year for Roddy Doyle. Not content with scripting the stage version of The Commitments, which is currently at the Palace Theatre in (...)

Illustration: sarahjunefox.com

1 Find an authentic voice In his Offset presentation, Jeff Greenspan speaks movingly and wittily about how crucial it is to find an authentic vo(...)

Oliver Jeffers work (above) ‘combines wit, intelligence and extraordinary originality’

SARAH CROSSAN is the author of The Weight of Water and dystopian young adult series Breathe . When you were younger, was there a book that change(...)

Book of beastly delights

Life can be a little lonesome when you’re a beast, so it was a relief to see the eponymous character in The Lonely(...)