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 »

2017 Inky Awards – Get involved!

inkyawards2016All about the annual awards for youth literature – as chosen by teens:

The Inky Awards recognise high-quality young adult literature, with the longlist and shortlist selected by young adults, and the winners voted for online by the teen readers of There are two awards: the Gold Inky Award for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky Award for an international book.

The Awards are named after Inky – the Inside a Dog mascot and all-round wonder-dog.

How to get involved:
* Consider becoming a 2017 Inky Awards Ambassador school. If you’re keen – get in touch with our team.
* Encourage your teens to apply to be a judge! Applications open in March 2017.
* Sign up for our monthly enewsletter to be the first to catch next year’s celebrated YA titles, submit judge applications, and access our free resources.

The 2017 Inky Awards calendar will be announced in the November enewsletter.



Comics 101: reading graphic narratives


Previously: Comics 101: a brief history

Diagram: Key: A (pink) – panel, B (lilac) – borderless panel, purple – gutters, green -tier

Comics are a series of panels that work together on the page. Sometimes they have frames or borders separating them but that’s not always true, it pays to look carefully at the pictures to get a sense of the style – artists may have unique ways of grouping and separating their images. Borders can be suggestive of what’s happening in the text – dream sequences might have wavy borders, while powerful scenes might break through the borders to demonstrate the force of the action.

The space between panels is known as a gutter. Comic experts know the significance of the gutters – those spaces are where the story’s time passes by. That little white space between pictures could be standing for seconds, years, even decades. As a reader you will need to look for clues in the image to be sure. Read the rest of this entry »

Comics 101: a brief history

yellowkidPreviously: The rise of comics and graphic novels

The first comics as we’d know them were published in newspapers in the late nineteenth century. They were normally single panel cartoons about politics and A-Listers of the day. ‘The Yellow Kid’, published in New York World in 1895, has been credited as establishing the forms and conventions of the comic strip as we’d recognise it today. It showed the adventures of a gang of kids growing up in the slums of New York City.

The popularity of comics boomed in the 1920s and 30s, with the market targeting the youth audience and anthologising collections such as The Dandy (UK), Beano (UK), The Adventures of Tintin (Belgium) and of course Superman (US) and other superhero narratives.

Comics were also hugely popular in Japan, where Osamu Tezuka rose to fame as ‘the God of Manga’. Tezuka is, among other things, responsible for the creation of popular characters Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. These popular characters are examples of the intrinsic relationship between manga comics and anime films, with many Japanese artists working simultaneously in both forms. Manga itself demonstrates Japan’s long tradition of illustrative texts, with links to earlier forms such as Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga (a four panel style from the mid-Twelfth Century) and Kamishibai (translated to ‘paper drama’). Kamishibai was popular during the 1920s and looks very similar to comic strips, but stories were put onto cards and shown in sequence on a small wooden stage. The audience came to see and ‘read along’. Read the rest of this entry »

The rise of comics and graphic novels

kapowPreviously: Celebrating graphic novels (1/5)

Using pictures to tell stories is nothing new, but comics and graphic novels are only recently starting to receive the literary recognition they deserve. More than ever readers, teachers and librarians are recognising that comics and graphic novels offer a complex storytelling platform for a range of narratives and topics.

Comics and graphic novels have come a long way since the Thwack! Bam! Kapow! storylines of the early mass marketed superhero stories. In addition to the superhero canon, readers are now able to find a large number of classics and contemporary texts reimagined in graphic form and there are also a number of significant standalone contemporary comics that speak to themes such as diversity, sexuality, displacement and adolescence.

Will Eisner (the ‘father of the Graphic Novel’) described comics as sequential art. He was referring to the way that comics use a series of images to tell a story – words or not, it is the artwork that carries the story forward. Comics and graphic novels are not a genre of literature because they can be about anything, rather they are a form or medium for telling a story.

Whether simple action stories or more complex literary ideas, comics and graphic novels deserve a place in the classroom because of their ability to engage readers (particularly those who struggle with traditional texts) on multiple levels. Comics and graphic novels develop language, attention and understanding, as well as building the critical thinking and sequencing skills necessary for readers to ingest this type of work.


Next: Comics 101 – A Brief History

Celebrating Graphic Novels

It’s been a little while since free comic book day but that’s certainly no reason to stop celebrating comics and graphic novels!

So the Centre for Youth Literature team has put together a series of posts exploring the rise of comics and graphic novels, and outlining some strategies for incorporating these narratives into your classroom or library program. These posts will run twice a week, and you’ll be able to download the collection (along with additional reading, resources and activities) at the end. Also, if you’re one of the first to contact us in response to this post, we’ll send you a copy of ‘Raising a Reader: how comics and graphic novels can help your kids love to read’, a printed resource by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

To get us started, we asked the fantastic staff from Melbourne’s All Star Comics to put together a list of their top 10 comics for teens – Cazz was more than happy to oblige.



This One Summer
 – written by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki Read the rest of this entry »