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.

2014 Inky Awards – The Winners

The First ThirdThe Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria today announced the winners of 2014 Inky Awards – Australia’s only national teen choice literary prize.

The Gold Inky is awarded to an Australian author and includes $2,000 prize money. The 2014 Gold Inky winner is: The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin).

Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

The Silver Inky is awarded to an international author. The 2014 Silver Inky winner is: All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (HarperCollins)

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years later, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by her friends and family.

The Inky Awards are reader-lead literary prizes. Readers between the ages of 12-20 vote for their favourite books from a shortlist selected by a panel of teen judges from around Australia. Five Australian and five international books of young adult fiction are shortlisted and the books that attract the most reader votes online win. Read the rest of this entry »

2015: The Year Ahead in Youth Literature

2015: The Year Ahead In Youth Literature
Tuesday 2 December, 6pm – 8:30pm
The Courtyard, State Library of Victoria
Cost: $18 per person
Bookings: Book online or (03) 8664 7099

Are teen memoirs really the next big thing?  Will old favourites shock us with something terrifically new?

The world of youth literature is an ever evolution place with many stories to be told.  Join a fabulous roster of publishers, literary organisations, and teen fiction fans for a fast-paced, sneak peek at the year ahead. Upcoming trends and interests for youth readers, projects, and programs will be shared from the people in the know!

This is a community space that will enable you to build relationships between publishers, librarians, teachers, event programmers and literary festivals.

Presented by the Centre for Youth Literature, this program is a revitalised Publishers’ Showcase– connect about news, projects and forthcoming titles.

Light snacks and refreshment provided.

2014 Inky Awards Celebration


Tuesday 21 October 2014, 10:00am - 12:30pm


(teachers with a group of 10 students will receive one complimentary ticket)

Book online
03 8664 7099

The Courtyard - Main entry, Swanston St


Australia’s top teen-choice book awards – the Inky Awards – are back!

Join the celebration of great new books and young adult voices at the 2014 Inky Awards winners’ announcement ceremony. The Inky Awards are an annual literary prize for the best new Young Adult literature as chosen by teen readers, in two categories: the Gold Inky Award for an Australian book and the Silver Inky Award for an international book.

Meet Inky Awards authors*, take part in literary quizzes, go behind-the-scenes with teen judges and be amongst the first to applaud the 2014 Inky Awards winners.

Refreshments provided. Suitable for ages 12+.


* We will be joined by all FIVE of the Gold Inky shortlisted authors: Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis, Allyse Near, Ellie Marney & Claire Zorn!

The 2014 Inky Awards Shortlist

The Inky Awards are for the best new young adult books, as voted for by teen readers.

The Centre for Youth Literature is extremely proud to announce the 2014 Inky Awards shortlist. We had a fantastic team of teen panelists (to find out more about them, visit our judges page on Inside A Dog), who spent hours warring over their favourite Inky Awards longlisted books. Our judges took their responsibilities very seriously, and it was great to see such a considered and diverse discussion about books. Their dedication, passion, and enthusiasm resulted in a smashing selection.

Drum roll please…..the 2014 Inky Awards shortlist is…

Award Stickers
Gold Inky Award:
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Allen and Unwin)
The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin)
Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Allen and Unwin)
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Random House )
The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn (University of Queensland Press)

Award Stickers

Silver Inky Award:
All the Truth That’s in Me – Julie Berry (HarperCollins Publishers)
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman (Random House )
ACID - Emma Pass (Random House )
Mad Made Boy – Jon Skovron (Allen and Unwin)
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud (Random House)


The wining books will be announced at an interactive, fun, and author populated event at the State Library on the 21st of October. More information can be found here.

Follow on twitter with the hashtag #InkyAwards.

Announcing Reading Matters 2015

It’s that time again on the youth literature calendar – Reading Matters 2015 is in production!

Reading Matters is a national celebration of youth literature taking the audience on a journey into fiction, graphic novels, poetry, gaming and prose.

Dates:   28 May – 2 June 2015 in Melbourne; then touring. 

There are six key components to Reading Matters 2015:

  • National conference for youth literature professionals and advocates.
  • Publishing Expo, pop-up bookshop and author signings.
  • Schools program in Melbourne.
  • Public events program in Melbourne.
  • Victorian tour: regional public, schools and professional events.
  • National tour: regional QLD, TAS & SA (tbc).

Reading Matters is a unique opportunity for youth literature fans and professionals to gather to discuss big issues, trends, and celebrate new and established young adult writers. Our audience is the most important element of the program and we want to hear from you.

Pitch us your Reading Matters ideas! What would you like to see?  What is youth literature to you? Read the rest of this entry »