Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Shortlist Announcement
Chair of the Children’s Book Council of Australia National Board, Professor Margo Hillel; President of the Queensland Branch, Ms Trisha Buckley; Distinguished Authors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land upon which we are gathered, and expressing my respect to elders.
I am delighted to join you today for this marvellous annual celebration of the very best in Australian children’s literature.
For six months every year, Australia’s authors and illustrators live in a state of keen anticipation between the release of the list of Notables in late February and the announcement of the coveted Book of the Year award in mid-August.
In between, we have today’s much-awaited announcement of the short list – and it has been an absolute delight to meet so many of the creative women and men who are making such an outstanding contribution to Australian literature for young people.
As many of you know, my wife Kaye is a qualified librarian and a great advocate for the power and importance of books, language, literature and art.
I, too, have voraciously devoured books from a very young age, following the example of my siblings and our school-teacher parents, and my long career in the law certainly taught me the supreme importance of words.
Indeed I doubt that there is an author in this room who would not agree with the American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, when he famously said “Easy reading is damn hard writing”.
Together, Kaye and I have encouraged our children and grandchildren to explore the immense trove of treasure to be found in that “damn hard writing” between the covers of books.
For this reason, we were both delighted to see that the theme for Children’s Book Week this year is Find Your Treasure and equally pleased that we have so many of our most cherished living treasures of children’s literature with us today.
Like you, I am looking forward immensely to hearing their stories and to seeing the creative work of young Queensland film-makers, but now, it is a pleasure and honour for me to officially open this important event – and to wish you every success in these awards and for your future endeavours.