When I was a kid, my mum (hi Mum! Pet the dog for me) helped me pull a sickie to get off school to I could go see Eoin Colfer talk at a local theatre. I still remember sitting there, hiding out deep in the stands, listening to him spin these long, involved yarns – scary, funny, utterly unique, delivered in a soft Irish brogue that could snap into various characters at will – about growing up in Ireland, about his stories, about what drove him to write. He was meant to be signing books afterwards – once the queue of people who actually had copies of his latest release had dissipated, my mum approached with a page torn out of the back of her crossword puzzle book. Even though he was only meant to be signing his books, he happily scrawled down a signature on the paper, chatting with my mother about something that I was too awestruck to take in. Because this was the man who’d written the coolest books I’d ever read in my life.