Upcoming events at the Centre for Youth Literature

We have two major YA events remaining for 2018.

Inky Awards Ceremony

The Inky Awards winners will be announced at the State Library of Victoria on 2 October at State Library Victoria. Voting by teens 12-19 years old is open until September 16.

YA Showcase

Join us on Tuesday 11 December as Australian publishers share their most highly anticipated YA releases for 2019. Each attendee will receive a collated list of next year’s releases and materials straight from the publishers. Save the date and stay tuned for booking details soon.


We also have an update for you on our bi-annual Reading Matters event.

The next conference has been postponed from next year to mid-2020 when we will be able to welcome visitors to the newly renovated State Library Victoria after completion of the Vision 2020 redevelopment project. We look forward to having the opportunity to share our beautiful new spaces with you all.

2018 Inky Awards Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2018 Inky Awards for young adult literature – chosen by a teen judging panel – was announced today at Bendigo Writers Festival schools program, Text Marks the Spot.

The 2018 Inky Awards shortlist, selected by a judging panel of nine teens from across Australia, includes 10 titles across two categories: the Gold Inky for Australian fiction and the Silver Inky for international fiction. The Gold Inky winner takes home a $2000 prize.

The announcement of this year’s shortlist was made by the Centre for Youth Literature at State Library Victoria, in partnership with Bendigo Writers Festival, City of Greater Bendigo and La Trobe University.

Centre for Youth Literature Reading and Literacy Development Manager Rebecca Henson said the longlisted titles that the shortlist was chosen from addressed themes of mental health, racism, LGBTI+ and family dysfunction, without moralising to teen readers.

“With a longlist of such a high calibre it was a difficult challenge for the judges to select a shortlist for the Gold and Silver Inky Awards. The nine teens took the weight of this responsibility very seriously, debating their selection over many hours and showing an admirable dedication to the task,” Ms Henson said.

Teen judge Sylvia said agreeing on a shortlist wasn’t easy, but the decision-making process was a lot of fun.

“Being part of the Inky Awards was one of the craziest yet most rewarding experiences of my life! Not only did I get to read 20 books, which is a book lover’s dream come true, but I made so many friends from all around Australia,” Sylvia said.

Text Marks the Spot Program Coordinator Sarah Mayor Cox said it was exciting to host the Inky Awards shortlist announcement at the festival for the first time.

“We are delighted that the Inky shortlist has been announced during Text Marks the Spot. The Inky Awards are a natural fit for us, and enhance the program’s appeal to budding writers and young readers,” Ms Mayor Cox said.

2018 Inky Awards Shortlist

Gold Inky Award Shortlist

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks (HarperCollins Publishers)

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian (Text Publishing)

Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell & Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan)

Paper Cranes Don’t Fly by Peter Vu (Ford Street Publishing)

In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Silver Inky Award Shortlist 

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King (Text Publishing)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (HarperCollins)

Warcross by Marie Lu (Penguin Random House)

Release by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

Public voting is now open to teen readers at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Inky2018

Voting closes on 16 September at 5.30pm EST and the winners will be announced at State Library Victoria on October 2.

The Inky Awards were established in 2007 as Australia’s first national teen choice awards for young adult literature.

Teens, Social Media and Technology 2018: Pew Research Center

Time to sink our teeth into the latest data thanks to Pew Research Center’s Teens, Social Media and Technology 2018 Report.

Thirteen to seventeen year olds in America were surveyed earlier this year about their use of social media and technology, with the summarised findings released today.

Highlights include a shift away from the Facebook platform, increased ownership of devices (95% have access to a smartphone) and almost 45% reporting they are almost constantly online.

What can we take from this? Teens are, unsurprisingly, spending more time online than ever.

In terms of how we reach this audience to share news of our programs, services and YA literature generally it is worth noting the increase in usage of image-based platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. These applications work best on mobile devices and are skewed to short, sharp bursts of information and visuals.

YouTube also ranks highly. While some evidence suggests YouTube has a positive impact for young people’s self esteem there are also concerns such as how it influences consumerism in this demographic.

Figures for gaming have also increased, up to a whopping 90% of teens regularly playing video games. Some people see games as filled with possibilities or breaking new storytelling ground, while other critics feel mainstream video games are failing to tell good stories.

Before moaning about the demise of the written word, it’s worth looking into how teens use YouTube and other platforms. From popular hashtags on Instagram such as #LoveOzYA and #bookstagram which encourage discovery of what their peers are reading to teens listening to free audiobooks via YouTube, there are plenty of ways to harness these technologies for good.

Reading Matters

We understand many of you will be starting to consider your calendars for 2019 and are keen to hear about our plans for Reading Matters. The last few years it has taken place in the first half of the year but due to significant changes at State Library Victoria we have not set a date for the conference as yet.

Exciting changes are afoot (thanks to our Vision 2020 redevelopment), which means that all programming for 2019 and beyond is up in the air. As soon as we have any indication when the event may take place we will let you know.

In the meantime, if you’d like to keep up to date with any CYL news the best methods to do so are signing up to our newsletter and subscribe to follow the Read Alert blog.

Story Camp 2018

We are pleased to announce that Story Camp will be continuing for the remainder of 2018.

The program is a chance for teens to meet and learn from some of Australia’s most exciting and inspiring storytellers. Artists such as Kirsty Murray, Candy Bowers, Texta Queen, Michael Pryor and Emilie Zoe Baker (EZB) have already participated in the project, with many more exciting storytellers coming up in future events.

This is a free school holiday workshop for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Open to: students from eligible schools
Age: 12–15 years
Cost: free
Dates: 3–5 July 2018; 2–4 October 2018
Time: 10am–2pm
Location: State Library Victoria
More information: call the Library’s Centre for Youth Literature team on 03 8664 7014, or email youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au

The program

During the three-day workshop, Story Campers will:

  • explore story, poetry and performance under the guidance of some of Australia’s finest authors and poets
  • participate in hands-on workshops to build creative skills and confidence
  • find out what a career as a professional writer really looks like.

For more information or to register your interest visit the State Library Victoria website.

Story Camp is presented by the Centre for Youth Literature at State Library Victoria, and supported by the Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer Family Foundation.

Inky Awards Longlist 2018

We are proud to announce the 2018 Inky Awards Longlist.

The longlist of 10 Australian and 10 international YA titles was selected by a panel of past Inky Awards judges, the Dog’s Advisory Board and Inside a Dog alumni, all young readers aged between 12 and 20 years.

And without further ado, the 2018 Inky Awards longlists…..

Gold Inky Award – Australian titles

  • Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks
  • In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black
  • Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell & Fiona Wood
  • Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian
  • Ida by Alison Evans
  • Wreck by Fleur Ferris
  • A Shadow’s Breath by Nicole Hayes
  • Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer
  • Paper Cranes Don’t Fly by Peter Vu
  • Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Silver Inky Award – International titles

  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  • Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  • Release by Patrick Ness
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

If you’re planning any Inky Awards related activities, we have a free downloadable poster featuring the marvelous longlist. We also have packs of Inky Awards bookmarks available for schools, libraries and bookshops – hit the link to order and have them delivered straight to you!

We also have toolkits for classroom teachers and librarians for free download. These toolkits contain activities and ways to engage with the Inky Awards.

Anyone questions you may have can be directed to the Centre for Youth Literature team at inkyawards@slv.vic.gov.au.

Vale Agnes Nieuwenhuizen

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen at the Centre for Youth Literature’s celebration of 21 years of innovative youth literature programming

State Library Victoria and the Centre for Youth Literature community was saddened to hear of the death of Agnes Nieuwenhuizen late last week. We asked Lili Wilkinson – as an author, former colleague and one-time attendee at CYL programs – to write a guest post.


Australia’s YA community was deeply saddened to learn that Agnes Nieuwenhuizen passed away last week at her home in Woodend, Victoria.

Agnes was a tireless advocate for YA literature, and for young readers. She founded what is now known as the Centre for Youth Literature in 1991, established the Melbourne Writers Festival Schools Program, published seven books on young people’s literature, and was much loved and respected (and sometimes feared for her forthright approach) by authors, publishers, young people and those who work for and with them.

I first met Agnes in 1992, attending my first CYL event at age 11 – a Bookgig with Isobelle Carmody. That was the day I knew I wanted to be an author. I joined the CYL team in 2003, and was grateful to work alongside Agnes until her retirement in 2005. She was my friend and mentor – she liked me because I wasn’t scared of her, and we had many a heated debate about books and ideas. She fostered my passion for YA literature, and my commitment to supporting and advocating for young readers. She was a champion for young people and their rights, for their literature, and for diversity, and I’m honoured to be one of the many people continuing that good fight.

I am not alone in my gratitude – there are countless writers and readers who owe so much to Agnes and to her legacy. She was the most fierce, fearless woman I’ve ever known, and Australia’s rich YA landscape wouldn’t be what it is today if it hadn’t be for her.

Our thoughts are with John, Jackie, Max and Agnes’s grandchildren.

Vale, Agnes.


Lili Wilkinson is an award-winning author of YA novels, including Scatterheart, Pink and Green Valentine. She established insideadog.com.au, the Inky Awards and the Inkys Creative Reading Prize at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library Victoria.

Introducing Story Camp


The Centre for Youth Literature is pleased to announce our first-ever Story Camp, a free three-day program of workshops for young storytellers aged 12-15 years. Eligible participants will work with professional creatives on story, poetry and performance, building their creative skills. During lunch, guest speakers will talk about their creative careers and share their knowledge. In addition to experiencing the Library, participants will take away a suite of creative tools and a network of peers and professionals.


Venue: State Library Victoria

Dates: Various, over school holidays. We are currently only accepting registrations for July and September. Camps will run from 10am – 2pm.

Age: Story Camp is for participants aged 12-15 years.

Food: Lunch will be provided. Food allergies and considerations will need to be advised in advance.

Transport: Upon request via our booking form, the Centre for Youth Literature can provide MYKI cards with $25 of preloaded credit to allow students to travel independently to and from the Library. There will be no charge for these MYKIs.


Here’s a look at the teaching talent we’ve got lined up for the July and September holidays:


Amy Gray (non-fiction) is a Melbourne-based writer interested in feminism, popular and digital culture and parenting. Her work has appeared in the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, BBC, ABC and others. She is also an occasional broadcaster.

Ellie Marney (fiction) is a teacher, and the author of the Every series (Every Breath, Every Word, Every Move), a highly-awarded YA crime trilogy. She is an advocate for Australian YA literature and is a Stella Prize Schools Ambassador.

Joel McKerrow (slam poetry) is a writer, speaker, educator and community arts worker. He was the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in the USA (2012).


September ­

Alia Gabres (slam poetry) is a Melbourne based poet, storyteller and creative producer. Her focus is on arts facilitation using storytelling as a tool for knowledge generation and cultural transmission.

Simmone Howell (zines) is the award-winning author of novels Notes from the Teenage Underground, Everything Beautiful and Girl Defective. She is also a screenwriter and small press publisher.

Penni Russon (fiction) is an award-winning children’s and young adult writer. Her novels include Little Bird, Indigo Girls and Only Ever Always. She also blogs at Eglantine’s Cake.


You can find further information about Story Camp on our website.

If you have any questions, please contact the Centre for Youth Literature:
email: youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au
phone: 03 8664 7014

Apply for a Reading Matters scholarship!

rm-authors-imageThe Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library Victoria is pleased to be able to offer 10 early-career scholarships for the 2017 Reading Matters professional conference. The scholarships are intended to support emerging professionals in fields related to youth literature, including librarians, teachers and publishing professionals. Applicants must be in their first three years of a career within the library sector, education or publishing, or be studying towards a degree in these fields.

Each scholarship will cover the cost of a ticket to the Reading Matters professional conference (value $550).

The 2017 Reading Matters conference will be held on 2-3 June at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

For more information about the program see www.slv.vic.gov.au/reading-matters.

To apply: Complete the online form detailing the benefit of this scholarship to your professional development and email your curriculum vitae (CV) to the CYL team at youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au.

Terms and conditions of application:
• Successful applicants will be required to attend both days of the Reading Matters conference – Friday 2 June and Saturday 3 June 2017.
• Tickets are not transferable.
• The ticket value excludes travel costs. Successful applicants will be responsible for their own travel to and from the conference and any other related costs incurred .
• Successful applicants will be required to submit a one-page reflection on their experiences at the Reading Matters 2017, and participate in associated promotional opportunities as requested by the Centre for Youth Literature.

Submissions close: Monday, 10 April 2017 at 9am (AEST)

Applicants advised via email: Friday, 14 April 2017

Apply now!

Some exciting news about Inside a Dog

Inside a Dog is getting a makeover! The website is currently in redevelopment, with a new site scheduled to launch in mid-2017.

At the moment we are consulting with young people around the country to determine what kind of functionality the site will have in the future. As a result, we don’t know exactly what the new site will look like yet.

Please be aware that some features of the current website may be significantly changed as a result of the redevelopment, and may not look the same or function in the same way on the new site. Teachers should be wary of relying too heavily on the availability of the current site functionality in the second half of 2017.

One thing is for sure: Inside a Dog will still be the place for young people to come to post about books, writing and culture, and to connect with likeminded peers Australia-wide.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date with all of the news about the Inside a Dog redevelopment.