With his tales of childhood mischief, Eoin Colfer entertained a packed audience of youngsters and parents with an hour that was more a light-hearted comedy stand-up routine than a normal Book Festival session.

One of a large Irish family, Colfer revealed that his brother Donal was the inspiration for teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, his sibling’s ability to get himself and others out of trouble reaching legendary status as they grew up. Then perhaps less flatteringly, Colfer also explained how another of his brothers inspired the character of Mulch Diggums, the flatulent dwarf…

Proving to be a born storyteller on and off the page, Colfer’s humourous anecdotes kept everyone entertained, with many parents in the audience nodding sympathetically as he recounted the exploits of his own children. Midway through the session, he was joined onstage by Artemis Fowl himself; and the two then went on to answer questions from the crowd – everything from the intricacies behind what happened to minor characters in the series, to when we could expect to see a movie version of his best-selling series of books.

The varied format was rounded off with a Fowl-inspired music video, allowing Colfer to escape and prepare himself for the rush of devoted young fans keen to get him to sign copies of the books. And with a boundless imagination and an ability to appeal to his young audience’s senses of wonder and mischief, Colfer seems destined to inspire many more followers as he continues to document the adventures of everyone’s favourite young criminal.

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