Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Introducing some of our new supporters

Preparing for our next online literary festival - starting on May 1, has been wonderful.  Once again, I am awed by the talent and generosity of Australia's best (and busiest) children's and young adult authors who will write guest posts for Reading for Australia during May.

Andy Griffiths with some of his writing journals

It is important to remember that writers make their living from writing - they license their creative efforts to publishers who sell books to readers around the world. Contributing guest author posts is an extraordinarily generous gift of their time and creativity.

Why do they do it?

I think it's because they know and value readers and reading. I've never heard of a writer who was not a reader first. Trevor Darwin of the Kids' Lit Quiz UK says of his experience of the ability of the Kids' Lit Quiz to inspire and involve adults who care about literacy:
Authors too, once introduced to the Quiz, see its enormous potential as a way of generating and nurturing a love of literature and an appreciation of the power of language to imagine, enquire, educate and entertain. In the UK, the Quiz is supported by many of the country’s leading children’s authors who are constantly astounded by the breadth and depth of the knowledge displayed by the kids taking part.
I've already received a number of the guest posts and am looking forward to introducing them to you next month. In the meanwhile, here's an introduction to just a few of our new supporters.  You can see the complete updated list of supporters on the right sidebar and I encourage you to check them all out.

A huge welcome to all our new authors and enormous thanks to all of our supporters, both old and new.

Welcome to Andy Griffiths who, as one of Australia's best loved authors, actually needs no introduction to most of us.

My favourite Andy Griffiths book is Just Macbeth, especially in audio book form, read by Stig Wemyss, especially the marshmallow bit, especially driving up to the snow in winter, especially in the dark, especially (not) when the driver nearly drives off the road because he's laughing so much.

Who knew Shakespearean tragedy could be so much fun? I'm sure the Bell Shakespeare Company had lots of fun with the theatrical adaptation of Andy's book in its successful seasons in Sydney and Melbourne in 2008 and 2010.  

And then there's the Zombie Bums from Uranus, a book I've not read but which has been a long-time favourite book of a certain 12 year old, known to me, who is part of the team representing Australia at the 2014 Kids' Lit Quiz world final.  Click on the link at Andy's name (above) to connect to his website and see the full range of books for hours and hours of reading pleasure.

Fog a Dox (published by Magabala Books, 2012), Dark Emu (published by Magabala Books, 2014)

Bruce Pascoe's Fog a Dox won The Prime Minister's Literary Award for young adult fiction in 2013.  The Prime Minister's Literary Award is Australia's richest book awards, recognising and rewarding excellence in Australian literature since 2008.

Bruce’s new book, Dark Emu looks at the Aboriginal agricultural economy as seen and described by the first European explorers and settlers. Launched on 8 March 2014, the first print run sold out in just three weeks.  You can see Bruce at these events on his Dark Emu tour:

Airey’s Inlet Lighthouse Literary Festival, 24 - 26 April
Melbourne Museum, Bunjilaka, 2 May
Burrinja Cultural Centre, 4 May
Sydney Writers Festival, 23 - 25 May
Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature, London UK, 27 May - 4 June
Mildura Writers Festival, 17-20 July

Light Horse Boy (published by Fremantle Press, 2013), Granny Grommet and Me (published by Walker Books Australia, 2013)

Congratulations to Barry Jonsberg and Dianne Wolfer for their recent nominations for the Children's Book Council of Australia's 2014 book of the year awards.  My Life as an Alphabet and Light Horse Boy have been short-listed in the Book of the Year: Younger Readers category while Granny Grommet and Me has been nominated in the Book of the Year: Early Childhood category.

In 2013, My Life as an Alphabet also won the Children's Peace Prize,  the Gold Inky and the Victorian Premier's Award for YA fiction. It is soon to be published in Germany, France and the United States.

(Published by Allen and Unwin, 2013)

Pamela Rushby's most recent book, The Ratcatcher's Daughter was published earlier this month, in April 2014.  Pamela has written around 20 children's books, a number of which have won or been nominated for literary awards.

(Published by HarperCollins Australia, 2014)

Miriam Margolyes and Tania McCartney became supporters of Reading for Australia late last year.

Tania is a contributor to our May festival, is the founder of Kids' Book Review, was a guest at the 2014 ACT Kids' Lit Quiz heat (at which KBR donated book prizes) and, in conjunction with KBR and children's author, Anna Branford (whose book, Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend, is short-listed for CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers), organised a fantastic children's book and art sale to aid the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre last month. Phew! Tania is also a children's author (where does she find the time to write?!)

Miriam Margolyes, better known as Professor Sprout from the Harry Potter films to most children in this age group, has voiced a huge number of great books many of which would appeal to children aged between 10 and 13 years. While Miriam is not contributing a guest post in May, it is worth having a look at this list of Miriam's audio books.  There are some brilliant titles. Particularly for the classics - which many kids find hard to get into - or for kids who don't like to read, audio books, read by a professional actor, can provide easy access to good stories that might otherwise be neglected.

Finally, welcome to First Nations Australian Writers Network (FNAWN), the peak body for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers, poets and storytellers. FNAWN works to foster writing from around the continent and supports the ongoing development of opportunities to sustain and enhance writing and storytelling by First Nations writers and their communities.

There's lots to look forward to in May, here, at Reading for Australia. Have a look at the previous guest authors' posts, here and here, for more good writing from our wonderful supporters.


  1. April 23, Shakespeare's birthday, is also World Book Night in the UK and Ireland. You can read more about it here;
    and in this article from The Guardian newspaper:

    What a great idea!

  2. They're celebrating Shakespeare's birthday in Canada too!


  3. And in the US!