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, 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:
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

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

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.


SLAV Presentation – US YA Observations

Resources shared by Program Coordinator, Adele Walsh, at the School Library Association of Victoria conference. Her visit to the US to observe young adult programming was supported by the Melbourne City of Literature. Any questions can be directed here.

Adele’s Big Four

  1. Reading Matters conference – early bird closes 30 November information here
  2. LoveOzYA website and free downloadable posters
  3. The Centre for Youth Literature’s enewsletter
  4. 2017 Inky Awards dates:
  • Longlist- 23 February at Perth Writers Festival
  • Judge call out – 23 February to 22 March at (will be relaunched in 2017)
  • Shortlist – 15 August
  • Winner announcement – 3 October.

Free downloadable Inky Awards resources for schools and libraries.

Texas Library Association Conference

All conference powerpoints can be found via this directory.


Program ideas:

  • HungerFest (8 hour Hunger Games party)
  • Hola! Bonjour! Hello! A Foreign Language Study group
  • Exam Peer Study Groups
  • Teen Job Skills fairs

RT Booklovers Convention

Program ideas:

  • Cinema Craptastique – live commentary over truly awful movie
  • Social media book fair
  • New Adult – more information on this podcast (NSFW)
  • Teen Day Party

Free and cheap tools online:

  • graphic design – Pic Monkey, Canva and Stencil
  • live blogging – Periscope and Snapchat
  • Organisational helpers – open live writers for writing online content, Evernote, Desk, Blogos, Kompozer and Pxlr
  • Free images and good image deals via Shuttlestock subscription, Flickr (change settings to Creative Commons), Deposit Photo, Getty Images (blogger program) and PhotoPin. Also, Death to Stock Photos and Gratisography.

The Future of YA recommendations for big blockbusters:

  • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout
  • Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell
  • The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
  • The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Email management tips

  • action require email stays in the inbox, everything else should be filed or deleted
  • filing: keep to 5-10 folders and no sub-folders
  • use colour coding and flagging
  • be responsive – respond to every email by end of the day (whether expectation setting or full response)
  • 2 minute rules – if it can be done in 2 minutes, do it! If you focus, get all two mminte emails completed in under 15 mins.
  • Set aside 15 mins at the end of the day to clean up your inbox and reset for the morning

People and organisations to get familiar with:

Events mentioned:

Authors mentioned:

  • Kwame Alexander – Crossover and Booked verse novels and Surf’s Up PB
  • Matt de la Pena
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Veronica Roth
  • Victoria Aveyard
  • AS King
  • Siobhan Vivian’s The Last Boy and Girl in the World
  • Drag Queen by Jeffrey Self
  • Tru and Nell by G. Neri – fictionalised MG novel regarding Truman Capote and Harper Lee
  • George by Alex Gino
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

The Hunger Games Exhibition

  • Darling Harbour from 20 December to 4 February 2017

Adele’s Powerpoint can be accessed here.

* I was able to negotiate an international rate.

Reading Matters 2017 – Conference


In June 2017, the 12th biennial Reading Matters will bring together a sparkling array of guest YA authors, illustrators and publishers to discuss, debate and celebrate books for young adults. The program will feature a two-day conference and one-day student program.

Date: Friday 2 June and Saturday 3 June 2017
Venue: ANZ Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road
Price: $500 (early bird price – 30 Nov), $550 (or $520 per ticket for organisation booking over 2)

Book here

The conference offers a well-structured and informative program with stimulating content and thought-provoking themes, delivered by international and local high profile authors and emerging talents.


Our speakers include: A.S. King (USA), Rick Yancey (USA), Mariko Tamaki (Canada), Lili Wilkinson, Rachael Craw (NZ), Randa Abdel-Fattah, Alison Goodman, Nevo Zisin, and Lance Balchin. We also have Jennifer Niven (USA), Jay Kristoff, Jane Harrison, and Dougal MacPherson (our artist in residence) joining us. More information on the speakers can be found here.

Delve into topics including:

  • the rise and future of YA
  • YA’s expanding readership and appeal to readers, writers and publishers
  • best practices in teen engagement
  • the direction that YA fiction is headed.

Secure your spot at the Reading Matters 2017 conference and boost your expertise in the sector! The escalating popularity of the genre ensures that YA literature can only grow stronger. At the conference, you will:

  • discover emerging authors and inspiring books to recommend to libraries, schools, readers and book clubs
  • unearth and forecast trends and issues in YA
  • network with experts and colleagues in the sector
  • meet YA authors, readers and publishers from across Australia.

The conference is recommended for librarians, teachers, book sellers, publishers, YA authors and YA fans.



Book your Early Bird tickets now for this two-day professional conference, available exclusively until Wednesday 30 November 2016.

Reading Matters 2017 – Student Day

rm_authors1Reading Matters’ student day is one of the most anticipated events of the year by teen readers and YA fans. Committed to a fun and diverse schedule that looks deeply at how young people engage with the world, the student program offers two concurrent sessions featuring six Australian and international writers and illustrators. Championing young voices as well as established names in YA literature, the student day will host Jay Kristoff, Rick Yancey, Jennifer Niven, AS King, Dougal MacPherson and Mariko Tamaki as they share their insights, knowledge and experiences.

Choose one of two jam-packed programs over two hours, for students aged between 12 and 16 years old. Participants will have the chance to partake in a live illustration demonstration, enjoy a slam poet performance and learn from a range of talents presenting on illuminating topics including inclusive storytelling, authentic writing, world building and graphic novels.

Book now by downloading and completing the student booking form at the bottom of this page. Don’t miss this chance to engage your students with writers, creators, enthusiastic peers and all that YA literature offers.

Date: Thursday 1 June 2017 10am – 2pm
Venue: State Library Victoria

  • $375 for 25 students (2 teachers) + $11 per student/teacher thereafter (inc GST).
  • For groups of 25 people or fewer, cost is $15 per student/teacher (inc GST).

Book online

Downloadble booking formpurchase order number can be indicated if paying by invoice.

Program A

10.00am – Jay Kristoff: Space out (presentation)
10.20am – Slam Poets
10.30am – Mariko Tamaki: The whole picture (presentation)
10.50am – Dougal MacPherson: Draw attention (live demo)
11.10am – A.S. King: Reality check (presentation)
11.30am – Rick Yancey and Jennifer Niven: State of mind (panel)
12.00pm – Book signing

Program B

10.00am – Rick Yancey:  Never fear (presentation)
10.20am – Dougal MacPherson: Draw attention (live demo)
10.40am – A.S. King: Reality check (presentation)
11.00am – Jennifer Niven: Think twice (presentation)
11.20am – Jay Kristoff and Mariko Tamaki: Worlds apart (panel)
11.50am – Slam Poets
12.00pm – Book signing

Sally Gardner on her childhood, dyslexia and imagination

The UK’s Sally Gardner (The Door That Led to Where) presented a raw insight into her childhood at Reading Matters 2015. In this segment from that keynote she shares the impact dyslexia and the education system had on her formative years.

Registration for the 2017 Reading Matters conference is now open. Discover information on the amazing writers who will be speaking and the incredible early bird offer (closes 30 November.)

Laurie Halse Anderson on ‘The Hard Stuff’

The Reading Matters conference is Australia’s leading youth literature conference. We host a multitude of youth literature writers and experts to share their knowledge and insight with our professionals. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing a range of content from the previous conference but first, here’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s fantastic keynote on The Hard Stuff: Courage and Real Conversations:

Registration for the 2017 Reading Matters conference is now open. Discover information on the amazing writers who will be speaking and the incredible early bird offer (closes 30 November.)

2016 Inky Awards Winners

bookmarksThe Centre for Youth Literature at State Library Victoria is proud to announce the winners the 2016 Inky Awards for young adult literature today, celebrating a decade of the national teen choice prize.

The Inky Awards were established in 2007 as Australia’s first, and still only, national teen choice awards for young adult literature. The Inky Awards have recognised the best and brightest in global youth literature from Melbourne’s own Simmone Howell, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Will Kostakis, to the international talents of John Green, Maggie Steifvater and Jenny Downham.

This year has seen many achievements;
• 50 % increase in applicants for the teen judge positions
• The launch of the Ambassador program in four schools across the country – Somerset College (Qld), Wilderness School (SA), Taylors Lakes Secondary College (VIC) and The King’s School (NSW).
• The distribution of 40k longlist bookmarks in over 150 bookstores, libraries and high schools nationally.
• Thousands of downloads of the resource toolkits
• Awards judges, past and present, presenting on stage at the Sydney and Melbourne Writers Festivals.
• The most number of votes in the Awards history –  an 18% growth on 2015.

But we know what you’re here for….. Read the rest of this entry »