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 »

Meet the Author: Live Webcasts with ABC Splash

The Centre for Youth Literautre has teamed up with ABC Splash to let you chat with some of Australia’s finest authors for young people!

The Meet the Author online broadcasts allows schools, libraries and young people across the country to tune in – and to send in questions live! Each broadcast starts at 2pm (AEST) on the ABC Splash website.

You can send in question in advance, ask a question while you watch live, or screen the program on demand for writing tips at a later date.

Thurs 10 Sept           Meet Rebecca Lim        Ask Rebecca a question >

Thurs 17 Sept           Meet Sally Rippin          Ask Sally a question >

These special Q&A sessions are hosted by Centre for Youth Literature manager Anna Burkey, and are freely accessible across Australia. #LoveOzYA.

Meet the Author - Rebecca Lim

Meet writer and illustrator Rebecca Lim! Join us for a live chat with the creator of 15 books for children and young adults to ask where she gets her ideas, how she creates and illustrates a story, getting published and anything else you’d like to know about her creative process.


Previous Episodes: Meet Morris Gleitzman

The first episode in the series featured Morris Gleitzman, and was broadcast on 3 Sept 2015. Didn’t have time to watch live? You can watch the video for Morris’s top writing tips.

Meet the Author - Morris Gleitzman

Camaraderie, Diversity, Books, Teenagers – Ellie Marney on #YAmatters

Ellie Marney, author of the Every series for Young Adults, reflects on the 11th biennial Reading Matters


I’m still a newbie. My first book was only published in 2013, which was the year of the previous Reading Matters, and at that stage I think I’d only just started to call myself a writer. But this year I finally made it to Reading Matters 2015 (aka #YAmatters). I was promised wonderful guest speakers, inspiring professional panels, books for sale, and basically something that sounded like Wordsmith’s Heaven.

I was given that, and so much more.



This is it – Reading Matters is the event where all the people involved in the YA book industry come together to celebrate what they’ve achieved, listen to what people think about where the industry is heading, and generally catch up.

Some of my best moments? Just saying hi to friends, including one fairly memorable picnic on the carpet with everyone balancing their plates on their laps, talking about writing and books and showing each other pictures of our respective kids. Everyone was so rapt to see each other! We keep contact on social media, or chance upon each other at events or festivals, but this is a time when everybody gets to sit down and chew the fat.

Amie Kaufman, Ellie Marnie and Vikki Wakefield picnic on the floor with chocolate.
L-R: Amie Kaufman, Ellie Marney, Vikki Wakefield



Each Reading Matters concentrates on an area where we could focus more of our attention – this year’s focus was on diversity, with particular interest in presses that publish indigenous authors locally, and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that has taken off internationally. In the panels and sessions, we all received a glimpse of new ways of thinking, or new ideas, or even just got a healthy reminder of what we’d been meaning to do more about.

Reading Matters 2015 conference


Awe-inspiring Speakers

Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak), Sara Farizan (If You Could Be Mine), Sally Gardner (Maggot Moon) and Priya Kuriyan (illustrator for Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean) were the overseas guests who blew me away. I’d love to list all the locals, who were incredible too, but there isn’t enough space!

Laurie Halse Anderson at Reading Matters 2015
Laurie Halse Anderson


New Books!

Readings had their own bookstore onsite at the Arts Centre, which was dangerous, of course, but I managed to hold myself back to…five books? Maybe six? Maybe I shouldn’t tell you, because it’s embarrassing how little self-control I have when it comes to buying new books?

The other exciting thing is hearing about new books under construction, as well as snippets about books that are about to be published…

Bookstore at Reading Matters



Tom Taylor drew a silhouette of Batman in the copy of Injustice I bought for my sons. Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Matters 2015 is hitting the road!

For the very first time, Reading Matters  will be travelling to four states as part of our celebration of young adult fiction. We have been working with fantastic partners to ensure that teens in regional and metropolitan schools around the country have the opportunity to meet YA writers.  Over four days, eight writers will speak to teens at sixteen schools in regional South Australia and Victoria, Alice Springs and Brisbane.

We also have a number of public events for YA readers of the ‘old teen’ persuasion to join in the festivities.

But where to find these free, public events?



Where:    Shepparton Library, 41 Marungi St, Shepparton

When:     1 June, 6pm

NY Times best selling and award winning author Laurie Halse Anderson and CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers shortlisted, debut author Clare Atkins in conversation.

More information.



Where: Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building, Cnr Kintore Ave and North Terrace, Adelaide

When: 1 June, 6pm

In conversation: Carnegie Medal winning  Sally Gardner , black&write winner Jared Thomas, and the Director of the State Library of South Australia, Alan Smith.

More information.



Where: Alice Springs Public Library, Cnr Gregory and Leichhardt Tce, Alice Springs

When: 2 June, 6pm

Get ready to get your science fiction on with NY Times bestselling YA writers, Sean Williams and Amie Kaufman.

More information.


Be part of the conversation #YAmatters!

Remembering Mal Peet


The death of Mal Peet has taken from us not only an exceptional writer, but also someone who truly loved life and was loved. Mal Peet was a late starter to publishing: he was 53 when Keeper appeared in 2003. Mal had a strong following in Australia and his books made an immediate impact. At the time of this interview, Keeper and Tamar had been published. Tamar won the prestigious Carnegie Medal and his later book, Life: An Exploded Diagram (2011) was a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book.

Writing questions for this interview was quite a challenge. Although I had responded strongly to his books, I didn’t really know very much about Mal himself. But his detailed, nuanced and often very funny answers told us a great deal about him – what pleased him and what didn’t. It also helped set the seen for his first visit to Australia, for Reading Matters (he was to have come in 2007) in 2009, where he appeared along with John Green, MT Anderson and Isobelle Carmody. On news on Mal’s death, John Green called him ‘One of the greatest YA writers…’.

Mal Peet died at home on 2 March, 2015.

-Mike Shuttleworth

* * *

Mal: First off, let me say these are really good questions; I’ve scratched a small pink helipad on the top of my head thinking about them. So here we go:

Mike: Your books tell some unusual stories. What draws you to write about these things that are outside your own world?

I’ve always, from a very early age, liked books that take you elsewhere. That may be because I didn’t like where I was. Or it might just be that I somehow realized, when I was kid, that words are a form of transportation. Through time, as well as space. I don’t think I was ever very interested in books that told me about what I was already familiar with. In other words, ‘realism’ never appealed to me very much. My early loves were for books like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Treasure Island, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Time Machine. I was also very into comics, like The Wizard, The Hotspur, The Victor, and these had strips about ‘ordinary’ boys whose lives were transformed by strange meetings, or magical events, or the discovery of peculiar powers. Keeper comes from there, I think; from way back when I was maybe eight or nine or thereabouts. And anyway, the best books are those that persuade you that the impossible is possible.

You seem to be in some ways a very un-English writer…Where in England do you live and where did you grow up?

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Matters – Program Launch

It’s LIVE!

The 2015 Reading Matters is out in the world and ready for your eyes.

We’re incredible proud of this program which includes;

  • student program
  • professional program
  • the first ever public program

New additions to the program include Stella Prize winner, Clare Wright (The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka), and Indian illustrator and animator, Priya Kuiryan (Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean.)  We also have the Nowhere Boys team presenting an exclusive panel on the show, the transmedia elements and the teen audience.

You can learn more about the events in the program and book via the  State Library Victoria website. The full line up of speakers and book list are available here.


Reading Matters – Conference

Dates: 29 – 30 May 2015

Venue:  ANZ Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne

Book now. Read the rest of this entry »

American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards 2015

In the early hours of this morning, the American Library Association announced their Youth Media Awards recipients. It was a  banner year for the awards as the winners exemplified the diversity of American youth literature with titles featuring cultural diversity, disability, LGBT themes and multiple formats.

Congratulations to the selection panels for each of these awards!

The Michael L. Printz Award

Acknowledging excellence in literature for young adults, the Printz is ‘The Big One’.

The winner is Jandy Nelson for critical darling, I’ll Give You The Sun (released in June by Walker Books.)


Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

This year, four titles were selected as Honor Books:

  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard,
  • The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley,
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith and
  • This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (graphic novel) Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Matters 2015: The Conference

RM enews banner (3)

Reading Matters is Australia’s leading youth literature conference for professionals and youth literature enthusiasts.

Gather to discuss big issues, YA trends, and celebrate new and established young adult writers. Share ideas with colleagues from across the country, find inspiration in outstanding talent, mull over the big issues and celebrate the strength of our industry at Reading Matters.

Dates: 29 – 30 May 2015

Venue:  ANZ Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne


  • Tickets : $540

Book now.

The Centre for Youth Literature is excited to announce its 2015 roster of incredible talent:

*Program is subject to change.

Join the conversation!

Position Available: Events Officer – Centre for Youth Literature

The Centre for Youth Literature is looking for a new team member – might that be you?

Events Officer – Centre for Youth Literature

  • Fixed term to 30 June 2015
  • Part-time – 3 days per week, with additional hours as required
  • VPS 3.1 – $58,630 per annum (pro rata)

About Us

The Centre for Youth Literature connects Australia’s young people with literature, inspiring young adults to engage with books, stories and writing. The Centre sits within Reader Development unit of the State Library of Victoria’s Learning Services Division, and develops an array of reading, writing and literacy programs for children and young people.

About the Role

Supporting the Centre for Youth Literature’s 2015 events program, the role is focused on managing production of the international Reading Matters conference and events series, in Melbourne and interstate. Reading Matters is a major celebration of youth literature, and comprises:

  • A two-day professional conference in Melbourne.
  • A schools program for up to 1,000 students in Melbourne.
  • A new public Festival day for teenagers and YA enthusiasts.
  • Four touring schools and library programs, to regional areas of Victoria and other states.

The Events Officer will be responsible for:

  • Coordinating the delivery of the Reading Matters conference and events.
  • Supporting the development and implementation of the Reading Matters programming.
  • Coordinating the delivery of the regional and interstate schools program.
  • Providing operational assistance to the Centre for Youth Literature in areas including marketing, risk management, finance and administration.

How to Apply

For a Position Description and to apply, please visit our website –

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

Applications close Thursday, 13 November 2014.