Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Lester wins Melbourne Prize for Literature

Children’s author and illustrator Alison Lester has won the Melbourne Prize for Literature, presented every three years to a Victorian author ‘whose body of published work has made an outstanding contribution to Australian literature, as well as to cultural and intellectual life’. Among the author’s best-known works are Are We There Yet?, Kissed by the Moon (Penguin Random House Australia), Imagine, Magic Beach, Noni the Pony (Allen & Unwin) and The Very Noisy Baby (Affirm Press).

The Australian Wilderness Society has announced the winners of its Environment Award for Children’s Literature. Florette by Anna Walker (Penguin Random House Australia) won in the picture fiction category (it was also recently named one of the New York Times/New York Public Library’s best illustrated children’s books for 2018); Wombat Warriors (Samatha Wheeler, University of Queensland Press) won in the fiction category; and Rock Pool Secrets (Narelle Oliver, Walker Books Australia) and Coral Sea Dreaming: The Picture Book (Kim Michelle Toft, Silkim Books) tied in the nonfiction category.

The Australian Family Therapists’ Award for children’s literature has been presented to two YA books: Megan Jacobson’s novel The Build-up Season (Penguin Random House Australia), which explores family and identity against the backdrop of Darwin’s wet season; and Nevo Zisin’s autobiography about gender ‘and everything that comes with it’ Finding Nevo (Black Dog Books).

The winners of the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year awards have been announced. They are: birth to three years—Heads and Tails (John Canty, Berbay Publishing); three to five years—Rodney Loses It (Michael Gerard Bauer, illus by Chrissie Krebs, Scholastic Australia); five to eight years—Danny Blue’s Really Excellent Dream (Max Landrak, Hachette Australia); eight to 10 years—The Grand, Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler (Lisa Shanahan, A&U); and Indigenous children—Sorry Day (Coral Vass, illus by Dub Leffler, NLA Publishing).

At the Queensland Literary Awards, Cally Black’s hostage drama In the Dark Spaces (Hardie Grant Egmont) won in the YA category and Peter Carnavas’ novel for younger readers The Elephant (University of Queensland Press)—about a young girl who imagines her dad’s sadness as a large grey elephant—won in the children’s category.

Several Australian children’s book authors and illustrators have also been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals; and shortlisted for Japan’s Sakura Medal.


Category: Think Australian Junior Award-winners