So long, and thanks for all the fish

I’m sad to announce I’ll soon be leaving the Centre for Youth Literature, with my last day here being Friday 20 May. It has been an honour to work for an organisation that champions the benefits of reading for pleasure, and supports the voices and views of young adults. I am however, very excited to have the opportunity to shift into supporting and advocating for LGBTIQA young people, working with Geelong’s Adolescent Sexuality Project (GASP).

I have loved working with the Centre for Youth Literature for the last five years, and I will be taking so many great memories with me – most of which involve meeting and working with wonderful people, both in person and online. The youth literature community is beautiful, with so many people passionate about getting great books into the hands of Australian teens. It has also been a privilege to work with, and publish writing by, so many talented young readers – superstars, the lot of them.

Inky Awards judges

L-R: Inky Awards Judges Lauren, Angus, and Vinhara, with Jordi Kerr

In the last 5 years the Centre for Youth Literature has:

  • Run 519 in-person sessions, with over 30,000 total attendances
  • Had three-quarter of a million visits to our digital community
  • Grown our social media community by over 9,000 people
  • Had 129% increase in Inky Awards teen voting
  • And, in the last 3 years, we’ve worked with 176 writers and speakers… a quarter of whom were teens.

It’s an exciting time in the world of youth literature, with powerful grass-roots movements like We Need Diverse Books and LoveOzYA. It’s also an exciting time for the Centre for Youth Literature with the redevelopment of Inside a Dog, and redevelopment at State Library Victoria that will include establishing a dedicated space for young learners.

To celebrate my farewell, and as tomorrow (17 May) is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), here’s my personal favourite LGBTIQA YA reads:

  • The Flywheel by Erin Gough
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Pink by Lili Wilkinson
  • If You Could Be Mine by Sarah Farizan
  • George by Alex Gino (Middle Grade)
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  • Clariel by Garth Nix
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Older Readers)

To find more great reads check out GayYA and Australian LGBTQ YA, and if you’re looking for resources and support, I highly recommend Minus18.

Best wishes, and happy reading,

(soon-to-be-former minion of the one and only Inky).

OzYA Shakespeare’s Way

Today marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. If you’d like to commemorate the bard with a YA twist, here’s a few adaptations and “inspired-by”s from Australian storytellers! (Click images for full size.)


Teaching Notes:

The Tempest: Undine – Penni Russon

Othello: Wildlife – Fiona Wood

Much Ado about Nothing: Faking Sweet – J. C. Burke

How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You – Tara Eglington (no teaching notes available)

Hamlet: Hamlet – Nikki Greenberg (scroll down to download a pdf file)

Hamlet – John Marsden

The Understudy’s Revenge – Sophie Masson  (no teaching notes available)

Macbeth: Macbeth and Son – Jackie French



Position Available: Reading and Literacy Development Manager

For all who are interested:

Reading and Literacy Development Manager

  • Full-time
  • Ongoing
  • VPS 5 – salary circa $86,493 per annum + superannuation

About Us

State Library Victoria is the state’s premier reference and research library, the hub of a state-wide information and communications network, and a gateway to the world’s information.

About the Role

This position manages the Reading and Literacy Development team and ensures the delivery of key programs and services including the Centre for Youth Literature, family reading promotion and literacy development initiatives. It is responsible for developing a coherent strategy for reading, literature and literacy engagement for State Library Victoria, and also for creating and building the relationships and partnerships which support this work.

Applicants should have a strong commitment, experience and understanding of both reader development and literacy promotion, and to the continuous learning of all members of the community.

How to Apply

For a Position Description and to apply, please visit the job vacancy here, on the Victorian Government Careers website.

We promote diversity and practice equity – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged toapply.

Applications close 5pm on Monday 9 May, 2016.

Inky Awards Ambassadors and Resource Kits

Inky Awards


2016 marks a decade of the Inky Awards. The Awards, which recognise high-quality young adult literature, are judged entirely by teen readers.

‘The Inky Awards are a great opportunity to give teenagers books to read that other teenagers have approved of.’ 
-Oliver, 2015 Inky Awards Judge

These are the books teens love, chosen by teens, so we want to make sure that everyone knows about them! Our Inky Awards Ambassador Program is designed to encourage schools to program events around the Inky Awards and to support them as they do so. Ambassador schools will:

  • – act as the local hub for all things Inky
  • – be responsible for uniting their local reading community
  • – work with the Centre for Youth Literature to run key events that tie in with the Awards

But even more importantly the Ambassador Program, like the Awards themselves, has been developed with teens in mind. Ambassador Schools have selected a team of teen ambassadors who will develop, market, and produce their Inky Awards events. These teens will be working closely with the Centre for Youth Literature to deliver a high standard event that showcases their love of books, and create a space that unites their reading community.

Our flagship Ambassador Schools for 2016 are: Read the rest of this entry »

Farewell Anna!

CGO8zt0VIAA9uljIt is with a mixture of sadness and happiness (for her!) that we advise that Anna Burkey has joined the Arts Centre as their new Head of Arts Learning.

Anna has done an outstanding job in her three-and-a-half years at State Library Victoria achieving many career highlights with the Reader Development (Families and CYL) team – Children’s Book Festivals, Reading Matters conferences, the development of children’s and family programs (Baby Bounce and Storytime), the growth of the Inky Awards – to name but a few. She has been a tireless advocate for young/er readers and reading.

This is an exciting time for many of the programs within our children, teens and reading portfolio, including:

Centre for Youth Literature

  • Plans to redevelop Inside a Dog (proving you can teach an old dog new tricks!)
  • Curating an exciting and challenging program for Reading Matters 2017
  • A bigger and better Inky Awards, coupled with a new ambassador schools program
  • A new Shift Alt Story program, supporting professionals to engage with new and emerging forms of storytelling
  • The development of new partnerships
  • The annual Publishers Roundtable and Year Ahead in Youth Literature

Children and families

  • Building on the success of our ever-popular Storytime and Baby Bounce and Play Pod programs
  • Developing a number of new program options.

In addition, State Library Victoria will be creating new dedicated children’s and teen spaces as part of its $83m building redevelopment. We are very excited about this, and particularly the prospect of working with children/families and teens to co-design these spaces. And we are looking forward to the Centre for Youth Literature’s programs having a permanent physical presence in the teen space.

We will be moving to recruit to the position in the near future.

Watch this space.

#LoveOzYA newsletters

e-newsletter1An easy way to keep up with all the latest Australian young adult releases is to subscribe to the publishers’ newsletters. It’s an easy, free way of knowing what is coming out in the world.

Better yet, you can unsubscribe if the newsletters are too frequent.

Below are links (and directions) to Australian publishers and their newsletter offers. Some newsletters are YA focused, some newsletters encompass all releases.

You can also sign up for the Centre for Youth Literature’s newsletter by following this link.

Happy reading!



PLVN: Teens Online

Today we had the pleasure of speaking about the way teens connect and create online to the Public Library Victoria Network (PLVN) Children and Youth Service Group at the State Library Victoria. The group was provided an introduction to fan fiction and vlogging and as such the information is intended as a starting point.



Where to find fanfiction?

Basic Key Terms:

Canon – The original literary piece. Pre-canon and post-canon fan-fictions are stories set before or after the original storyline respectively.
AU – Alternate Universes draw characters out of their traditional (canon) setting and into new worlds with new rules.
OTP – ‘one true pairing’ – the relationship a fan supports the most.
Slash – stories involving pairing two male or female characters together

More definitions can be found here.

Check these fanfics out:

Further reading: Read the rest of this entry »

The Inky Awards Turn 10! Expressions of Interest now open for flagship ambassador schools

IMG_9257In 2016 the Inky Awards turn ten! To celebrate this decade of teen engagement, the Centre for Youth Literature has expanded the scope of the Awards to create more opportunities for teens to participate.  The Inky school ambassador program invites schools to register as ambassadors for their state.

Ambassador schools will elect a student committee to run shadow events and engagement activities that will promote the Inky Awards and foster a love of reading both within their own students and teens in their wider communities.

Successful schools will be expected to;

  • Support their student committee
  • Host three key shadow events to tie in with the announcements of the longlist, shortlist and winner of the Inky Awards
  • Facilitate two engagement activities during the Awards season (such as reading Olympics, displays or online book clubs)
  • Actively promote and support the Inky Awards in their state’s teaching community
  • Report back to the Centre on the success of their events

The Centre for Youth Literature will support ambassador schools by; Read the rest of this entry »

Australian Arts Funding Changes: Impact on Youth Literature

Recent Federal Budget decisions are beginning to have an impact on Australia’s artistic communities, including the literature sector. Alterations and cuts to the national arts funding landscape will affect young readers and youth literature creators; the Centre for Youth Literature is deeply concerned about these changes.

These changes include enormous cuts to the Australia Council, the establishment of a National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA) within the Arts Ministry and the formation of a Book Council.

We have written to Arts Minister Senator George Brandis noting our concerns; we have also made a formal submission to the Senate Inquiry on Arts Funding. Such inquiries usually receive a few hundred submissions – this committee received over 2,000 letters from concerned arts practitioners. You can keep up with the Inquiry on the #Freethearts tag, and their report will be lodged on 25 November 2015.

What Can We Do?

We will continue to push for sustained, strategic support for young readers and youth literature, and for recognition of the amazing work so many of our colleagues and subscribers do to promote youth reading and creative writing.

We’ll be writing to the new Prime Minister to note our concerns, and to highlight the value of the youth literature community in Australia. We’d urge you to so the same, or to let us know in the comments any points you think we should add.

Our Senate Inquiry Submission

You can read our Senate submission below. (It’s pretty long, but contains detail about the changes noted above.) Alternatively, download it from the Parliamentary website – we’re submission 705.

For more information, contact Anna Burkey, Centre for Youth Literature Manager.

“Teenagers need Young Adult (YA) fiction because we want to read about people like us, who act like us, face the same problems as us… We want to see more, learn more, be more: we want to grow up, we want to stay young.”

Lily Stojcevski, Inky Awards teen judge 2013, writing for

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dromkeen Medal: Call for Nominations

The Dromkeen Medal: Call for Nominations

State Library Victoria, home to the Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection, is pleased to be coordinating the national Dromkeen Awards, comprising the Dromkeen Medal and the Dromkeen Librarian’s Award. The Library is currently calling for nominations for the Dromkeen Medal.

The Dromkeen Medal is bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to Australian children’s and youth literature, and was established in 1982.  The Medal was previously awarded by the Courtney Oldmeadow Children’s Literature Foundation, based at the Dromkeen homestead in Victoria. A full list of past recipients can be found here.


Medal Nomination Process 2015

Nominations will be assessed by an independent panel.

Closing Date for Nominations: 18 September 2015

Dromkeen Medal Nomination Form 2015

Nomination forms can returned by post or by email to: Read the rest of this entry »