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1. Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2014

CBCA  Logo Hi ResThis morning the Children’s Book Council of Australia announced the 2014 shortlists and notables in each of the categories.

  • Early Childhood
  • Eve Pownall
  • Younger Reader
  • Older Reader
  • Picture Book

Titles from the 2013 calendar year are nominated by their publishing houses and each of the state judges are whisked away for days until they decide each of the winners, honours, shortlists and notable lists.

The Older Reader category (aka Young adult) notable list features thirteen Australian authors of YA fiction.

Congratulations to the six talented authors gracing the 2014 CBCA Book of the Year Award (Older Readers):

  • The Incredible Here and Now  – Felicity Castagna (Giramondo)
  • Life in Outer Space  – Melissa Keil (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • The First Third  – Will Kostakis (Penguin)
  • Fairytales for Wilde Girls - Allyse Near (Random House)
  • Wildlife - Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan)
  • The Sky so Heavy -  Claire Zorn (UQP)

The winner will be announced during Book Week, 16 – 22 August 2014.

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2. 2014 Inky Awards longlist

Ladies and Gents, the Centre for Youth Literature interrupts your regular programming to bring you the 2014 Inky Awards longlist, fresh from the Somerset Celebration of Literature in Queensland!

Drum roll, please…


Gold Inky Award longlist (Australian books):

Zac and Mia by AJ Betts
All This Could End by Steph Bowe
Steal My Sunshine by Emily Gale
The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
The First Third by Will Kostakis
Every Breath by Ellie Marney
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
Run by Tim Sinclair
The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

Award Stickers

Silver Inky Award longlist (international books):

All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
When We Wake by Karen Healey
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
ACID by Emma Pass
Man Mad Boy by Jon Skovron
Winger by Andrew Smith
Wild Awake by Hilary T Smith
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud


This year is a transition period for the awards, as it moves from a financial to calendar year for eligibility titles.  As such, last year’s longlisted titles were discounted from proceedings.

Please see our 2014 longlist on insideadog.com.au for more details about the books.  Applications will open from 20th March to be one of our six teen judges – you have until 14th of April to get your submission in.

A reminder that the shortlist will be announced at the Melbourne Writers Festival in August, at which time voting will open. The winners will be announced at an Inky Awards Ceremony on 21st of October at the State Library of Victoria. Please sign up for our enewsletter to be advised when bookings are open.


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3. CBCA 2014 Book of the Year Prediction Events

CBCA  Logo Hi ResThe Children’s Book Council of Australia (Victorian branch) held their 2014 Claytons Dinner on Tuesday evening at Trinity College, Kew.  For those unaware, the Claytons are the predictions from local experts on the CBCA Book of the Year Award Categories.  The event takes its name from a non-alcoholic beverage and advertising campaign (1970s-80s)  as it is not quite the real thing.

The Older Readers category (Young Adult Fiction), as predicted by our very own Anna Burkey, were as follows:

  • Wildlife by Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan)
  • Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Random House)
  • The Sultan’s Eyes by Kelly Gardiner (Harper Collins)
  • The Tribe: The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
  • The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes (Random House)
  • Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts (UQP)

Honorable mentions:

  • The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin)
  • Run by Tim Sinclair (Penguin)
  • Jump by Sean Williams (Allen and Unwin)

You can find the picks for Younger Readers (Middle Grade), Picture Books and Early Childhood on this Storify of the event.

Upcoming Events:

There are many more of these events across Australia should you like to hear about other knowledgeable bookish types on the best titles of 2013.

  • Shortlist Showcase in Canberra took place on 12 March.
  • Claytons Evening: Ballarat 19 March
  • The Night of the Four Judges in Brisbane: 26 March
  • Anticipate, Appreciate, Applaud in Sydney:  8 April
  • And the Winner is… in Adelaide: 7 April
  • There are no equivalent events we could identify in Tasmania, Western Australia or Northern Territory.

Make sure you check out these events!

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4. Welcome to the 2014 Inky Awards!

Yes, your teen choice book awards are back, and better than ever with a brand new timeline. The Awards are all about showcasing the best and brightest young adult titles, as deemed by Australia’s teens, so following feedback we’ve revised the awards calendar:



How can you engage with the Inky Awards?

  • Encourage students to submit an application for the teen judging panel.
  • Review the longlist on InsideaDog.com.au as an armchair judge!
  • Promote your students’ choices as for the Inky Awards in the classroom or library.
  • Go on a blind date!  Cover books in brown paper and provide a snappy elevator pitch.
  • Organise a shortlist announcement celebration to coincide with our own.
  • Create a piece of art (poetry, craft, photography, a cake, etc) in response to a favourite title from the longlist.
  • Join us at the State Library of Victoria for the Inky Awards Ceremony in person or online.


Eligible books

To facilitate these dates, the publication period for books eligible for this year’s Inky Awards has changed from financial to calendar year. This means that all 2013 young adult releases (barring the 2013 longlisted titles) are eligible for the 2014 Gold and Silver Inky Awards.

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5. Young Adult Voices at the Digital Writers’ Festival

dwf-logo-w-dates-2According to adults, teenagers are digital natives. Often depicted as a generation glued to their smart phones, snapchatting their selfies, stuck to their Facebook walls with their memes, and their lolcats, and their blatant disregard for spelling and grammar…
But what do young adults really think about the online environment?

As ever, we’re keen to provide a space where the voices and views of young people can be heard, and we’re very proud to be working with the Digital Writers’ Festival to deliver that in an exciting, new way.

Inside a Blog: the teen perspective will be a live-streamed panel celebrating young adult voices, as part of the entirely-online Digital Writers’ Festival. You can take part from anywhere in the world (with a decent internet connection).

Inside a Blog goes live at 11am AEDT on Saturday, 22 February at digitalwritersfestival.com, and features three teenagers who have written blog posts for InsideaDog.com.au in conversation with YA author Myke Bartlett. You can also ask the panellists your own questions, by joining the discussion on Twitter (#DWF14).

If you’re not free at the event time, you can always catch-up later with the recorded version.

inky_with website vector (can be resized to A2)

Teens and adults alike may also be interested in the Festival’s writing showcase, Mapping the Words. Until 24 February you can submit your entry on where you write, and what about that place inspires you. Bonus incentive: if you live outside of Melbourne, you could win tickets to and accommodation for the Emerging Writers’ Festival (May 27 – June 6 2014). Please see their website for more details.


About the Digital Writers’ Festival (13 – 24 February)

With 30 events across twelve days, all of them live-streamed online, free of charge, the Digital Writers’ Festival is definitely an ‘online carnival’. It aims to explore and celebrate how digital spaces are changing the world of writing, and to connect readers and writers from around Australia and across the world. Join the conversation at #DWF14.

The Festival is presented by the Emerging Writers’ Festival, and is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.


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6. 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.)The Adventures of Superhero Girl cover image

We’re excited to now be adding YALSA-recommended titles like Rust, MIND MGMT, and Dogs of War to our
to-read piles.

Another graphic novel title we’re very excited about, but will be waiting some time for, is the recently-announced collaboration between Rainbow Rowell (the amazing author Dogs of War cover imagewho both won AND came runner-up in the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards for Young Adult fiction) and Faith Erin Hicks. Happy new year, indeed!

Which comics and graphic novels are on your 2014 reading list?

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7. 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.

These are big aims, and we’ll be working closely with partner associations and festivals to achieve them. We are delighted to have been named a Key Literature Organisation for the Australia Council, working with our fine literary friends across the country to promote and develop youth literature networks.

Our Strategic Plan for the next three years goes into greater detail: it looks at the Australian youth literature landscape, has an overview of our past programs and looks ahead at the projects we’ll be working on.

Artistic Program

In practice, these aims mean we’ll have an annual artistic program that focuses on young people, professional development and advocacy for our writers and readers. We’ll be increasing our digital content, linking with many more partners and putting time, energy and heart into the programs you love: the Inky Awards, development of InsideaDog.com.au and preparing a cracking 2015 Reading Matters program.

Bring it on, 2014. It’s going to be a great year.


Want to get your team involved, or learn more about our programs? Leave us a comment below, or drop us a line at youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au.

Centre for Youth Literature Strategic Plan 2014-16

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8. 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!

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9. 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.’

When the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) noted that the upcoming generation of HSC drama students had no recent monologues to read, they took action, commissioning the Fresh Ink series. The resultant pieces, by young writers and for young actors, are astonishing in the beauty and depth they reflect. The fresh voices sing strongly and our young actors now have the choice to reflect a past society, or portray their own contemporary Australian context.

Actively entering the traditional world of the cultural establishment is a trickier task. With each social shift what was permissible can become taboo; what was unthinkable becomes mainstream. Shakespeare’s ribald jokes lose the easy laughter they had for the one-penny playhouse; Austen’s 18th century family scandals no longer shock. We must prepare for the fact that our accepted treasures will be questioned and that the social and institutional structures that have grown around them are barriers to new audiences. The formal etiquette of the concert hall can be forbidding or confusing, and even libraries can be frightening to enter. We need to ensure that our young audiences, their opinions and the methods they use to express themselves, are welcome and respected in these spaces. Australian Arts organisations such as the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, and Express Media, faciliate and champions the voices of young people, through their programmes, events, and online spaces such as insideadog.com.au.

The digital tools available to the so-called Generation Y are freely accessed, easy to use and simple to distribute. It is these trends, rather than the tools, that we must respond to – the desire to create and share a point of view without an authorising structure. If we can accept this need, and enter into conversation with our young audiences, then we can share art and stories that relate to each of us. The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, an Emmy-winning adaptation of Pride & Prejudice told via weekly web episodes, has connected tens of thousands of new teenage fans with a classic author. Many of them had never heard of the book, but the excellent translation to the recognisable world of 21st century America bridged the divide, while giving fans of the original new dimensions and subtleties to consider. Just as the daily newspaper gave Dickens a regular outlet for his social satires, so has the internet enabled the popular return of the serial story.

As we remix our culture, we remove barriers. We play, connect with others, come across stories and perspectives new to us. We shine. We are not alone.

The arts – high, low, populist, niche, contemporary or classic – should represent the freedom to explore, regardless of age, ethnicity, economic-background, gender, sexuality or century. In restricting access and defining what is worthy, we weaken ourselves at a time when we must be vocal in tackling inequality and illiteracy. Over one third of Australian teenagers face literacy challenges, and 14% of Australian students do not have the reading skills required to participate in the 21st century workforce . The Centre for Youth Literature acknowledges the importance of teens being taught the skills for reading, and being inspired to read. If we do not recognise the needs and the disparity before us, and provide the next generation with access, support and validation, we will all be diminished. Today’s young people deserve better from us.



Recommended reading:

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10. 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.

The Centre for Youth Literature’s Manager, Anna Burkey, says the Inky Awards encourage young people to read for pleasure and share the stories they enjoy.

‘The Inky Awards are distinctive, providing a space for young people to champion the year’s very best YA fiction. The winners of the Inky Awards are chosen by the audience the authors have written for – teens. That’s a great way to get young adults excited about reading and it is fantastic for the authors to get that recognition.’

The Inky Awards were founded by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria in 2007 as Australia’s first national teen choice awards for young adult literature.

For those who could not attend – hear direct from our Gold Inky winner, Barry Jonsberg.

Maggie Stiefvater was unable to attend but sent this acceptance video in here place.

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11. 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.

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12. 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

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13. 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 youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au, 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.

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14. 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.

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15. 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 youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au 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.


Terms and Conditions

  • The competition is an initiative of the State Library of Victoria – Centre for Youth Literature (“Competition Organisers“).
  • Entry into the competition is deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  • Entry is open to people of all ages and is FREE.
  • Entrants under 16 years of age at the time of submitting their entry must have permission from a parent or legal guardian to enter the competition. The Competition Organisers may, at their discretion, verify that parental permission has been obtained, prior to awarding a prize to a winner under 16 years of age.
  • Entry is open to Australian residents only.
  • Entrants may enter as many times as they like; each entry will be judged as a single entry.
  • Staff from the State Library of Victoria and its affiliates [State Library of Victoria Foundation members and Readings at the State Library of Victoria employees] are excluded from entry.
    Staff from the publishing houses of shortlisted titles are excluded from entry.
  • Entries must be submitted by 31 October 2013 to youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au, and include a short description of the submission. Late entries will not be accepted. Entrants should ensure that correct personal and contact details are entered, including full name, age (if less than 16 years), email address, and daytime phone number. If incorrect contact details are provided, the Competition Organisers are not responsible for obtaining correct contact details for that entrant
  • Entries will be judged by a panel of Centre for Youth Literature staff (“Panel”). The selection of the winners is at the sole discretion of the Panel.
  • Winners will be contacted by the 11 November and announced at the Inky Awards celebration in November 2013.
  • If the Panel is unable to contact a winning entrant due to the provision of incorrect contact details by that entrant, the Panel may select an alternate winner.
  • Each winner will receive a complete set of the 2013 Inky Awards longlisted titles (20 books in total). The prizes are not redeemable for cash or otherwise transferrable.
  • By entering this competition each entrant gives permission for their entry (at the discretion of the Competition Organisers) to be published and reproduced in a range of online and print media. This includes, but not limited to, our websites (www.insideadog.com.au, www.slv.vic.gov.au), blogs, e-newsletters, press releases, and social media networks such as twitter and facebook.
  • Entries must be an original work created solely by the entrant/s and not infringing the rights of any third parties.
  • The Competition Organisers reserve the right to disqualify any entry that is not in accordance with these terms and conditions.
  • Privacy Statement. Entrants’ personal information is collected by the Competition Organisers to conduct, administer and publicise this competition.  Entrants consent to the Competition Organisers using their name or anything else that identifies them, together with their entry for the purposes specified above. All information will be managed in accordance with the State Library of Victoria’s Privacy Policy.


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16. The 2013 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 this year’s 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 discussing, begging, and sometimes bribing Inky, for 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 enthusiasm was infectious.

Without further adieu, 2013 Inky Awards Shortlist is…

Award Stickers

Girl Defective – Simmone Howell (Pan Macmillan)

My Life as an Alphabet – Barry Jonsberg (Allen and Unwin)

Cry Blue Murder – Kim Kane and Marion Roberts (UQP)

Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Friday Brown – Vikki Wakefield (Text Publishing)

Award Stickers

The Diviners – Libba Bray (Allen and Unwin)

See You At Harry’s – Jo Knowles (Walker Books)

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)

This Is Not a Test – Courtney Summers (Pan Macmillan)

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Voting is now open for ages 12-20.

The wining books will be announced at the State Library in November.

Stay tuned for our Inky Awards: The Audience Prize announcement tomorrow.


Follow on twitter with the hashtag #InkyAwards.

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17. Reading Matters: Everyone’s A Critic

The Conversation

Myke Bartlett, Alison Croggon and Morris Gleitzman sat down with Annabel Astbury (Head of Digital Education at the ABC) to discuss the theme ‘Everyone’s a Critic’.


The conversation began with a question regarding creative versus emotional ownership. Is your readership audience entitled to an equal share in your character? One the one hand the author wrote the character. Every action and word they utter is a product of the author’s imagination. The character wouldn’t exist without the author. However in terms of having a character ‘live on’ past the books last page… well that’s all the reader. That’s their imagination and creativity. It’s an interesting, symbiotic relationship. Myke Bartlett spoke of an experience early on in his writing career. He was writing a chapter a week, podcasting the chapter to his audience and asking for feedback and comments that would then feed in to next week’s chapter. It changed the traditional solitary novel writing experience to a community project. The novel was shaped by his creative interpretation of the readers ideas. p2 Fan Fiction feeds in to this idea of ‘attraction’ and brings up an interesting conundrum in the creative versus emotional ownership debate. The audience is taking an established character and extending the story in which they live in. Moving on from ownership debate was a question about the representation of YA in mainstream media. Sadly we were all unanimous in our agreement that YA doesn’t get much mainstream media play. What about an online presence? Does this make up for the lack of mainstream media? While blogs have allowed readers a forum to interact with books, authors and other readers like never before, it has had a detrimental effect on professional literary criticism. There’s a trend of making the professional literary critic an undervalued commodity when up against the vast and endless online reviewing sphere. p3 Alison Croggon strongly believes professional literary criticism has contributed to the ‘cultural conversation’ in Australia. p4 Morris Gleitzman would rather read a well thought out critical review of his book, rather than a polite generic sentence in the mainstream press. There was overall an agreement that criticism is necessary, but that the self-critic is the strongest and best voice to listen to.


Reading Lists

Fan Fiction Origins

  • Cassandra Clare: used to write Harry Potter fan fiction
  • Amanda Hocking: began writing Star Wards fan fiction, before moving to self-publishing and, finally, a publishing contract.
  •  R.J. Anderson: began with Harry Potter, X-Files, Alias, Doctor Who… you name it and she wrote it.
  • Meg Cabot: yes, you read that right. She started out in Star Wars fan fiction (what is it with Star Wars?!)
  • S.E. Hinton: another yes, you’re reading this right moment. She openly writes Supernatural Fan Fiction (she focuses on what fans have called ‘wincest’)
  • E.L. James: her famous trilogy originated as Twilight Fan Fiction.
  • Neil Gaiman: Chronicles of Narnia and Sherlock Holmes Fan Fiction.


Myke Bartlett

Alison Croggon

  • The Books of Pellinor series
  1. The Gift
  2. The Riddle
  3. The Crow
  4. The Singing

Morris Gleitzman

  • Once Series
  1. Once
  2. Then
  3. Now
  4. After

Morris has an extensive backlist, which can be found on the penguin website.


Join the Conversation

This winter, we’ll be revisiting the conversations that began at Reading Matters. Add your thoughts below, or join the chat on Twitter – use the tag #YAmatters.


Reading Matters is presented biennially by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria – roll on 2015!

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18. CBCA Announcement 2013

Exciting news was afoot today – the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announced the winners of their prestigious annual awards. In partnership with the Centre for Youth Literature, the Victorian chapter held an announcement event for their members, coordinating with CBCA branches around the nation to unveil the winning books.

And the winners are…


Early Childhood


  • Winner: The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen (Illustrations by Freya Blackwood), Scholastic
  • Honour Book: With Nan by Tania Cox (Illustrations by Karen Blair), Windy Hollow Books
  • Honour Book: Too Many Elephants in this House by Ursula Dubosarsky (Illustrations by Andrew Joyner), Penguin Group


Younger Readers


  • Winner: Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett, Penguin Group
  • Honour Book: Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French, HarperCollins
  • Honour Book: The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk by Glenda Millard (Illustrations by Stephen Michael King), HarperCollins



Older Readers


  • Winner: Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan, Allen and Unwin
  • Honour Book: The Inky Bridge by Neil Grant, Allen and Unwin
  • Honour Book: Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield, Text Publishing




Picture Book

Hunt J Coat

  • Winner: The Coat by Ron Brooks and Julie Hunt, Allen and Unwin
  • Honour Book: Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon, Penguin Group
  • Honour Book: Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester, Penguin



Eve Pownall Award for Information Books


  • Winner: Tom the Outback Mailman by Kristin Weidenbach (Illustrations by Timothy Ide), Hachette
  • Honour Book: Lyrebird! A True Story by Jackie Kerin (Illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe), Museum Victoria
  • Honour Book: Topsy- Turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers by Kirsty Murray, National Library of Australia



Crichton Award for Emerging Illustrators


  • Winner: A Forest by Marc Martin, Penguin Group


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19. Interview: Claire Craig, Children’s Publisher (Pan Macmillan)

The Centre for Youth Literature has picked the brains of Australia’s YA publishers to gain insight into their work, and their titles. For the next few weeks we will be featuring interviews with a number of individuals on their work in YA publishing.

 Now to introduce….Claire.

I’m the children’s publisher at Pan Macmillan Australia, based in Sydney and responsible for commissioning, developing and producing a boutique list of titles, from junior fiction through to young adult.

What is the first book you worked on and in what capacity?
I was living in Cambridge, UK, and working for the literary magazine GRANTA. The first issue I ever worked on was GRANTA No. 19 – ‘More Dirt’. It was a who’s who of extraordinary American writers such as Richard Ford, Jayne Anne Phillips and John Updike.

Officially, I was the subscription manager but we were a very small team so everyone did a little of everything, such as proofing and actually pasting up the magazine (this was in the old days). I wasn’t very good at the pasting-up part and still remember the panic of searching for a paragraph I had accidentally chucked in the rubbish bin.*

What is the most anticipated release of this year?
This is an impossible question to answer in the singular so my most anticipated releases this year are GIRL DEFECTIVE by Simmone Howell in March, WILDLIFE by Fiona Wood in June, THE HOWLING BOY by Cath Crowley in September and the sequel to A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty in October.

Pan Macmillan has a year of magical YAs.

What are the popular themes in YA right now?
YA is such an elastic category but ‘voice’ and ‘heart’ are still as important as ever, regardless of the theme. As a reaction to the recent paranormal and dystopian deluge, ‘real teen’ fiction is possibly gaining more traction and GIRL DEFECTIVE, WILDLIFE and THE HOWLING BOY are all superlative examples of this.

Which fictional character would you like to be?
Oh no! Another singular question. Well, Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. (I read this when I was sixteen and it was my first real experience of ‘voice’.) Or maybe Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma, or …

*I found it.

YA is magical, as has been your time on Read Alert.  Thank you Claire for sharing :)

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20. Reading Matters: Recommended Reads 1

Books were verbally flying through the air at this year’s Reading Matters events, with suggestions for great reads pouring in from authors and audience alike.

We’ve rounded up some of the top titles and inspirational authors mentioned by our Reading Matters panellists: first up, Raina Telgemeier, Gayle Forman and Tim Sinclair treat us to a range of action-inspired contemporary fiction, graphic novels and verse.

Raina Telgemeier Recommends…

Raina Telgemeier

  • Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
  • Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima  by Keiji NakazawaArt Spiegelman
  • Calvin and Hobbes, any volume, by Bill Watterson
  • For Better or For Worse, any volume, by Lynn Johnston
  • Bone, any volume, by Jeff Smith



Gayle Forman Recommends…

Gayle Forman

  • Melina Marchetta (Saving Francesca)
  • Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door)
  • Sarah Dessen (The Moon and More, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever)
  • Jennifer Smith (You Are Here, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
  • Adele Griffin (Loud Awake and Lost)
  • Nova Ren Suma (Dani Noir, Imaginary Girls)
  • Paul Griffin (Ten Mile River, Stay With Me)
  • Holly Black (The Curse Workers series)
  • Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl)



Tim Sinclair Recommends…

Tim Sinclair

  • Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
  • Jar of Fools –  graphic novel by Jason Lutes
  • V for Vendetta –  graphic novel by Alan Moore
  • Ruby Moonlight –  verse novel by Ali Cobby Eckermann





These recommendations were put forward by the panellists during their Reading Matters event, Action! Read a summary of the discussion >


Catch up with all of our Reading Matters blog posts >


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21. Reading Matters: Action!

Young adult literature continually stretches the boundaries of genre but what about medium?  In bringing a writer, a poet and a graphic novelist together, the notion of stories for young adults can be explored across mediums to the heart of the matter – the truth.

Panellists:   Gayle Forman (If I Stay, Just One Day); Tim Sinclair (Run); Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama)

Moderated:  Adele Walsh, Centre for Youth Literature


Is young adult literature a genre or readership?

Sinclair: “It’s just awesome.”

Truth and daring were two phrases that arose time and again during the Action! panel.  Whether prose, poetry or picture form, the authors felt that their stories needed to be believable and true to their core audience.  In the end, their responsibility is to write true stories about the teen experience.

PT Action Tim Sinclair

Action Brendon

The wants and needs of the adults that impact teens’ reading weren’t the goal.  This was further tackled with the discussion on use of objectionable language – Sinclair responded to objections from adults about his use of swearing“…poetry is about playing with language, and if swearing isn’t language then I don’t know what is.”  Forman summarised what she and her peers do in exacting terms: “I write for young people, but not young stories.”  What was clear – it’s not about the age of the reader, it’s about the story.

The inclusion of characters who are from the LGBTQI community, sometimes viewed as problematic by some gatekeepers, was addressed. Telgemeier stated her belief that gay characters depicted in pictures seems to be more confronting for people than just in writing. Adults need to remember “…kids are the same, not matter where they are from. They worry about the same things across any boundaries.”

Action Danielle

Courage in the face of adolescence was a strong theme with the panel’s protagonists but when has this transposed to real life?  Sinclair dismissed the idea of bravery but concentrating on writing what the book needs.  Forman initially believed ‘If I Stay’ to be unpublishable and pushed on regardless.  Telgemeier was told that comics for young girls would never sell.  Each of the panel, like their characters, demonstrated perseverance and a strong belief in themselves to achieve success.

There was a constant theme of belief.  We need to hold strong to stories about all kinds of teens, not what we want for them.  Find the books that speak to them, not you.  “… getting new books in about more recent issues we’re faced with now.  Because the things we’re dealing with now aren’t the things people were dealing with 50, 20 years ago.” 




Recommended Reads

Catch up with the top titles our panellists recommended during this event >



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22. Reading Matters 2013

“I didn’t realise what a book could do for you – it’s an amazing piece of technology”

UK author Keith Gray

Every second year, Reading Matters comes to Melbourne: a joyful, exciting and buzzy celebration of literature for young people. We also take Reading Matters on the road: in 2013, the Centre for Youth Literature presented events with partners in Geelong and Brisbane.

This June, our Reading Matters program brought together 17 authors and artists from Australia and around the world, with well-loved writers on stage alongside blazing new talents. From the art of writing and the industry of publishing, to debates on portrayals of sex, sexism, death and religion, Reading Matters proved a focal point for debate and discussion about the issues and trends that affect young people.

Keith Gray quote #YAmatters

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be looking in detail at those conversations, throwing the spotlight on some heated topics and introducing you to the authors that tackled the tough themes.

Talking with Teenagers

This year’s Reading Matters youth program saw authors appear at events for over 1,000 teenagers, answering questions about how stories are constructed, where ideas come from and why exactly it was that Garth Nix had chosen to kill off a particular beloved character. An unofficial Morris Gleitzman fan club threatened to raise the roof off the building with their cheers while queues for John Flanagan to sign copies of his Ranger’s Apprentice series wound around the building.


Reading Matters 2013: In Summary

At the heart of Reading Matters sits the two-day Conference, designed for youth literature professionals and enthusiasts and featuring a mix of debates, keynote talks and performances. Visiting from Edinburgh, Melbourne’s sister City of Literature, Carnegie-nominated author Keith Gray provoked gales of laughter and serious contemplation in equal measure with his keynote address Gatekeepers: the Good, the Bad and My Mother.

Brooklyn-based graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier and Melbourne’s own Sarah Howell gave us illuminating glimpses into the processes of writing and illustration, creating comics live on stage, while games writer and former Freeplay director Paul Callaghan talked about how the narrative structures in digital games can tackle difficult subjects like depression.

Paul Callaghan quote

New York Times bestseller Libba Bray, along with Fiona Wood and Myke Bartlett, stirred the audience and spread the revolution-in-process on the significance of gender in youth literature. A recurrent theme throughout the conference, it is a conversation that has been continued in the media, with articles in The Guardian and Hypable.


Join the Conversation

This winter, we’ll be revisiting the conversations that began at Reading Matters. Add your thoughts below, or join the chat on Twitter – use the tag #YAmatters.


Reading Matters is presented biennially by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria – roll on 2015!

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23. Reading Matters at SLQ

IMG_2295It was with great pleasure today that we kicked off Reading Matters with the able assistance of the State Library of Queensland (SLQ).  American graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier and Sydney based YA poet Tim Sinclair arrived on the sunny shores of Brisbane to present for youth service librarians in the cozy, and arty domain of SLQ.

Today celebrated the first time in its twenty years that a Reading Matters event has occurred outside of Victoria.  Traditionally there is a regional component to the conference, however this is the first professional (and student day) to transplant over interstate lines.

After a kind introduction, the proceedings began with an introduction of Raina.


 A few things we learned about Raina Telgemeier (Smile & Drama) and her process:

  • Drama was originally written as a high school story but aged down to match same readership as Smile.
  • Some American parents found the addition of two gay characters quite upsetting.
  • Raina on who she writes for “…I write for the girl I used to be.”
  • Right now she’s reading Lucy Knisley’s ‘Relish: My Life in the Kitchen‘ – a graphic novel memoir about a teen who’s parents are a chef and a gourmet.
  • “Creative people change the world.”  No truer words may have been spoken.
  • Each of the Babysitter’s Club adaptations took a year to create.
  • At university Raina studied illustration where many of her main pieces became a series of frames depicting a story.

Tim Sinclair, of the recently released parkour poetry title Run, was next to the stage.


  • Tim spoke about the correlations between concrete poetry and parkour which share an appreciation for strong shapes.
  • To demonstrate this relationship Tim used a series of photographs that showed the beauty of the parkour movements.  He then followed this with strong concrete poems that left an impact (see right – entitled Ampersand).
  • Tim joined parkour classes which resulted in some impressive physio bills.
  • We all learned the difference between free running and parkour – the former is flashy and trick focused with the latter being the most efficient movement over difficult terrain.  Parkour’s the one you would use if you were running for your life….like the protagonist of Run, Dee.


After lunch we broke into groups for some youth services brainstorm groups.  Discussions were had on effective use of authors in library settings, the perfect library space and off the wall workshops for teens.


How could you build on authors being in your library though workshops?

  • magnetic poetry
  • concrete poetry
  • writing on walls, floors and windows
  • poetry dice
  • tagging words with emotions, genres
  • zines – to sustain – low tech
  • ripping up paper and creating new words, sentences
  • 3D concrete poetry – jump over, through it
  • word splat
  • visual imagery using words and pictures (eg Alice in Wonderland wallpaper)
  • overcoming adversity (fear of poetry) – set boundaries – theme – word motif
  • post it notes create images that reflect themes
  • being part of a club
  • poems in the wild (Melbourne)
  • Gamification eg using social media
  • spine out poetry on Tumblr, Instagram etc
  • Blog poetry – Tumblr

Dave Roman (graphic novelist behind Astronaut Academy, Raina’s other half) kindly drew some comics of these perfect library spaces to which each group was then asked to program to that space.

What resulted from a comic that depicted library as a place to smell, touch and break e-books?

  • smelly poetry “smelletry” – poetry written with scented pens and paper
  • black out poetry
  • raised letter poetry
  • recycled poetry
  • shaving cream poetry
  • use of garden spaces – flower beds, sticks and soil, rocks to create garden poetry

…this flowed into the concept of a poetry garden, wordscaping or ‘wordscape’.  A program built around exploring poetry in a tactile sense.  The above ideas could be a series of sessions for all ages.  Work that resulted could be crafted into an installation, a word garden, a word tree, etc.  When the program would end the poems could be given a second life through a bonfire, compost, repurposed poetry, creating new paper to make new poems.

What resulted from a comic that depicted perfect libraries in the sky or underground, where you can wear anything you want or even a virtual library?

A program around teens designing their own perfect library.

  • design workshops
  • focus groups on space
  • author visits
  • community engagement – architect, interior designers, CAD systems designer, graphic artist as well as support from the council.
  • collages of how the space is used
  • draw possibilities into the space whether observations or dreams

It was a day of much discussion about the state of children’s and youth literature as well as the librarians that make the connection between young people and the book that will ignite a love of reading.

Thank you to all the staff at the State Library of Queensland and all the attendees that helped make the panel and the brainstorms such a collaborative experience.

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24. Prizes and Patrick…yes please

2013 Text Prize

The shortlist for the 2013 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing was announced this morning with four talented authors chosen from 350 submissions.  This all female line up at in competition for the $10,000 prize.

The winner is to be announced on Wednesday, 29th of May.


The shortlisted authors are:

  • Waer by Meg Caddy
  • Lost Vegas by Jo Hegerty
  • Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller
  • Flood Damage by Diana Sweeney

Short synopsis of each of their titles can be found here.


Patrick Ness – Exclusive Melbourne Event

The Melbourne Writers Festival hosted the fantastic UK author extraordinaire Patrick Ness  for an event at the Athenaeum Theatre.

Why attend?  If you’re love a good book  this man is the guy to see.   Also, the entire Centre for Youth Literature team will be in attendance so you know it is worth the journey!

Ness  is the magnificent imagination behind the Chaos Walking trilogy which won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Carnegie Medal.  His latest release, The Crane Wife, is “… a wise and romantic story about the creative imagination and the redemptive power of love.

More information can be found here.

Where: Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne

When: Monday – May 20th, 6.45-7.45pm

Cost: $20 ($12 concession)


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25. Where to get your dose of YA events this week!

Melbourne’s exploding in YA awesomeness this week with many opportunities to rub shoulders with our homegrown talent!

An evening with James Roy

Thursday, 16th of May, 6-8pm

Come down to the City Library on Degraves Street to meet multi-award winning YA author, James Roy. The Children’s Book Council of Australia (Victoria branch) will be pulling out some wine , cheese and a fabulous speaker.  Who could ask for more?!

Click on the link to make your reservation to this free event.


Meet James Roy at The Little Bookroom

Wednesday, 22nd of May, 6pm

Make your way to the 769 Nicholson St, Carlton North store for some drinks with James and a good old chin way with those that are passionate about young adult literature.  The Little Bookroom have started a monthly YA get together (Books & Booze) and its fantastic to have an author guest in their second event!

Free event, reservations directed here.


Fiona Wood’s Book Launch for Wildlife

Thursday, 23rd of May, 6.30pm

Have you been waiting on tenterhooks since Six Impossible Things?  Join Fiona at Readings Hawthorn for the highly anticipated release of her sophomoric title.  YA author extraordinaires, Cath Crowley and Simmone Howell, will be introducing Wildlife into the world and you can grab yourself a copy a week before its release!

Free, no booking required.  More information here.

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