Wilson awarded 2018 Lloyd O’Neil award; Covernton awarded Pixie O’Harris
Independent bookseller and Indigenous literacy advocate Suzy Wilson and Working Title Press publisher Jane Covernton will be inducted into the ABIA Hall of Fame at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) on Thursday, 3 May.
Wilson will receive the 2018 Lloyd O’Neil Award for ‘outstanding service to the Australian book industry’.
Wilson is the owner of Riverbend Books and Teahouse in Bulimba, and also founded the organisation that became the Indigenous Literary Foundation (ILF). The ILF has brought 260,000 new books into remote Indigenous communities. Wilson—a former teacher, education consultant and university lecturer—has previously received the Dromkeen Award, been an ambassador for the National Year of Reading and was the recipient of the 2015 Johnno Award for outstanding contribution to writing in Queensland.
Quentin Bryce will present the award to Wilson. ‘Across 20 years Suzy has made an inspiring and truly significant contribution to the cultural life of Queensland at her much-loved Riverbend Bookshop,’ said Bryce. ‘It is an honour for me to acknowledge her proudest achievement, establishing and growing the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, to give young Indigenous Australians in remote communities the joy of books and reading, adventures, stories, curiosity, imagination, language, culture, country.’
Covernton will be presented with the 2018 Pixie O’Harris Award, which recognises excellence and dedicated service to Australian children’s literature.
Covernton began her nearly 40-year career in publishing at Rigby, before partnering with Sue Williams to found Omnibus Books, where she published the bestselling picture book Possum Magic by then-unknowns Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. In 1997, Covernton founded the picture book publisher Working Title Press, where she published award-winning titles for 20 years before selling the imprint to HarperCollins in 2017.
Mem Fox, who will be presenting Covernton with the award said, ‘I’m thrilled that Jane Covernton, who has contributed so significantly to the Australian picture book industry, is this year’s Pixie O’Harris award recipient—it is hugely well deserved’.
As previously reported by Books+Publishing, last year’s recipients were author Di Morrissey and literary agent Margaret Connolly.