Local pupils are inspired by author to follow their dreams

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Down Royal Racecourse was the venue for the first event marking a new project ‘Two Counties One Book’, which will link counties Down and Kildare through a partnership between Libraries NI and Kildare Libraries.

The ‘Two Counties One Book’ project is encouraging teenagers across both counties to read the same equestrian-themed novel Racing Manhattan by Terence Blacker, published by Andersen Press, which is an epic, emotional story of speed, spirit and the power of love.

Over 200 Year 8 and 9 pupils were invited to this event, which was compered by Northern Ireland television presenter and journalist, Paul Clark.

The students, from Assumption Grammar School (Ballynahinch), Ballynahinch High School, Dromore High School, Forthill College, Friends School Lisburn, Lagan College, Lisnagarvey High School and St Colman’s High School (Ballynahinch), met the chosen book’s author Terence Blacker and enjoyed a guided tour of the prestigious Down Royal Racecourse.

Valerie Christie, Senior Children’s Services Manager with Libraries NI said: “Libraries NI is delighted to partner with Kildare Libraries to promote the Two Counties One Book project for young people across County Down, with Year 8 and 9 students from many post-primary schools across the county coming along to meet Terence Blacker, the renowned author of the chosen book Racing Manhattan.

“Events are being held in Newry City and Banbridge libraries, as well as Down Royal Racecourse giving the students the opportunity to meet Terence and find out more about his books and writing career to date, inspiring them to follow their dreams.”