The Quest for Great Graphic Novels

We love comics and graphic novels. They have a bilingual strength, using both visual and textual literacy. It lends them a unique advantage in the search for a gateway to other forms of reading, but it is also worthy of celebration and enjoyment in its own right.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant cover imageJust like novels, graphic novels are vast and varying in type, tone, and themes, and trying to find a story or character that best suits you can be a daunting task. To help you in your quest for great graphic novels, we heartily recommend YALSA’s annual list, and 2014 has just been released!

If you attended or followed along at our Year Ahead in Youth Literature event you may already be familiar with some of the titles, like Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, Adventure Time, or, well, anything by Faith Erin Hicks. (Our complete list of comics and graphic novels from the event is available here.) Read the rest of this entry »

2014 and Beyond: A Snapshot of the Centre for Youth Literature

A bright year beckons for youth literature, with 2014′s proof copies beginning to flood in to the office. So what lies ahead for us at the Centre for Youth Literature, and the partners we’re working with?

Centre for Youth Literature 2014-16 Strategic Plan

We’ve got four very clear goals that guide all our projects, events and networks.

We aim to be:

  • The leading source of information, expertise and opportunities about youth literature.
  • A dynamic champion for the voice and views of young adults.
  • Showcasing and developing innovative youth literature engagement models.
  • Advocates for the very best of Australian youth literature.

Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Last night the recipients of this year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were announced.

The Prize for Writing  for Young Adults – judged by our own Anna Burkey, Hilary Harper and Alice Pung – was narrowed down to a list of outstanding finalists:

And the winner was….

resized_9781743310977_224_297_FitSquareBarry Jonsberg’s My Life as an Alphabet!

This isn’t just about me. It’s also about the other people in my life – my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.

Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little … odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to ‘fix’ all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Barry has had a phenomenal run of late winning the 2013 Gold Inky Award and the Older readers category of the 2013 Children’s Peace Literature Awards.

Congratulations to Barry and his fellow finalists on a cracking display of Australian young adult literature!

The Youthful Arts Revolution

Last week there was a tremendous amount of discussion about our youth, the arts and their lack of appreciation for quality.  Many opinions were freely shared on social media but we were particularly struck by Craig Hildebrand-Burke’s ‘Toss Bricks at Gen Y and you miss the bigger picture‘ comment on the importance of being open to change and the value in all art.

What do we think?

Let’s hear from the Centre for Youth Literature’s manager, Anna Burkey.


writing-first-blog-paragraphThe arts allow us to look at ourselves. They delight us, transport us, surprise us.”

So said UK artist David Shrigley, in a video made in support of the arts during dire financial times. His animated short is a powerful summary of the necessary roles the arts play in society in any age, and for any age.

Today’s young people are expressing themselves across boundaries, confidently defining their own social structures. Book clubs conducted via photography, music made across Skype, politics examined through YouTube comedy sketches – these new expressions may last or fade but each experiment is a chance to catch the eye of those around them and think ‘yes – this is who we are. We understand each other.’ Read the rest of this entry »

2013 Inky Award Winners

The Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria announced the winners of the 2013 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 2013 Gold Inky winner is My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin).

My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg

Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little … odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to ‘fix’ all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

The Silver Inky is awarded to an international author. The 2013 Silver Inky winner is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic).

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble.

The Inky Awards are teen choice literary prizes. A panel of young adults judges from across Australia select the shortlist, which is then opened to a public vote for readers aged 12-20. The books with the most votes win. Read the rest of this entry »

2014: The Year Ahead in Youth Literature (formerly Publishers’ Showcase)

CYL logo2

2014: The Year Ahead In Youth Literature
Tuesday 10 December, 6pm – 8:30pm
Experimedia, State Library of Victoria
Cost: $18 per person
Bookings: Book online or (03) 8664 7099

Is dystopian going the way of the dodo? Is crime fiction still a thrill?

The world of youth literature is such a wondrous place, with exciting stories ahead.  Join an array of publishers, literary organisations, and teen fiction fans for a fast-paced, sneak peek at the year ahead. We’ll highlight upcoming trends and interests for youth readers, projects, programs, and opportunities for young adult writers.

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.

The Centre for Youth Literature welcomes Cory Doctorow

corydoctorowWe here at the Centre for Youth Literature are very excited to announce that Cory Doctorow will be visiting Melbourne’s fair shores next month.  An internationally renowned science fiction author, journalist, activist and co-editor of Boing Boing, Cory will be appearing exclusively at the State Library of Victoria.

We are very happy to introduce the Future Fictions with Cory Doctorow event series!

The Science of Fiction

Friday 22 November 2013, 6.30–8pm

If science fiction writers try to imagine the future, what do they see for the publishing industry and storytelling in a digital age? Hear from science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger Cory Doctorow as he discusses publishing, digital content and the future of narrative.

Venue: Experimedia, State Library of Victoria
Cost: $18 ($15 concession)

Creative versus Commons
Saturday 23 November 2013, 6.30–8pm

As technology evolves so do the ways people share stories. Hear from author, activist and blogger Cory Doctorow and fellow industry experts as they discuss the current issues facing online communities and the future storytelling, sharing and remixing in the digital age.

Venue: Experimedia, State Library of Victoria
Cost: $18 ($15 concession)

Digital fiction masterclass with Cory Doctorow
Sunday 24 November 2013, 2-4pm

Join our exclusive masterclass with renowned blogger and science fiction writer, Cory Doctorow. Explore the changing relationship between authors and readers, the evolution of digital content and how to make an impact in an increasingly online world.

Venue: Queen’s Hall, State Library of Victoria
Cost: $55 (including afternoon tea)

Future fictions with teens
Monday 25 November 2013, 10am–12pm

In this special event just for teens, international author and blogging sensation Cory Doctorow talks about the future of fiction and how to be an active participant in today’s world. Join in a workshop that will unleash your creativity and hear about others who are helping to shape our world.

Venue: Queen’s Hall, State Library of Victoria
Cost: Free
Bookings necessary

Inky Awards Celebration

InkyAwards event header

Each year the Centre for Youth Literature hosts an Inky Awards event to celebrate great books, and the authors and teenagers who have been a part of this year’s awards.

This year we have some exciting surprises for our Inky Awards event.

Surprise 1: the event is free.

Surprise 2: student workshops will be held with the 2013 Australian shortlisted authors.

Surprise 3: the workshops will be followed by a ceremony, featuring our teen judges, awards announcement and opportunity to mingle with the authors.

Surprise 4: the celebration is open to the general public (and all ages). You do not have to attend the workshops to be able to attend the celebration!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday the 26th of November 2013
  • Location: State Library of Victoria
  • Time: workshops 10:00am-11:00am,  ceremony 11:00am-12:30pm.
  • Free event
  • Morning tea provided


  • Schools wishing to book into the workshop (10am-11am) + ceremony (11am-12.30pm) need to email, and include the following information: your name, contact details, number of students to attend, name of school, year level/s of students, and number of supervising adults.
  • Public/Schools wishing to attend the ceremony ONLY (11am-12.30pm) may book via event arc (here).

Please note: workshop availability is limited (spaces limited to 25 per school).

This event is supported by Australia Council for the Arts.

Reading Matters: ‘Gatekeepers – the good, the bad and my mother’ – Keith Gray

UK author Keith Gray was a highlight of the first day of Reading Matters 2013 with his thought provoking keynote, ‘Gatekeepers – the good, the bad and my mother’.

kg_rm1 kg_rm2 kg_rm3 kg_rm4 kg_rm5 kg_rmatters

Keith Gray is a full-time writer living and working in Edinburgh, a sister City of Literature. His first novel, Creepers, was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He has since released a number of critically-acclaimed YA novels which have won, or been shortlisted for, several major awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Children’s Book Award.

Inky Awards: The Audience Prize

Award StickersHow will you celebrate the Inky Awards shortlist? Have fun, get creative and go in the draw to win the Audience Prize – a complete set of all 20 longlisted books!

Make a display, upload a vlog, host an Inky Awards party, or anything else your imagination desires!

What do you need to do? Just be as creative as you can! Then send us a photo/link/video/etc to by 31 October 2013, and include:

  • a short description of what your entry is;
  • your full name/s (if it’s a group entry);
  • your email address;
  • and your daytime phone number.

Inky Award images can be found here, for your use in this competition.


 The Prize

All 20 longlisted titles is a pretty tempting prize – over on our Inside a Dog website, we’ve got a full list of these Inky Awards books that you could win.

Given that this is a competition with a top prize at stake, there are a few T&Cs we have to follow.

Read the rest of this entry »