Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance
The Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance (ACLA) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2008 to champion and promote the transformational power of reading in the lives of young Australians. ACLA is a collegial and inclusive organisation with representation from across the field of children's and young adult literature.
ACLAâ€™s mission is to:
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Promote the value, importance and transformational nature of reading
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Influence the reading habits of Australian families
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Raise the profile of books in the lives of children and young adults
â€¢Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Champion the cause of young Australians reading.
One of ACLAâ€™s primary activities is the development and management of the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate program.
Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate Initiative
The establishment of an Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate to promote the importance of reading is based on the successful implementation of this idea in the UK and US.
The Childrenâ€™s Laureate will be an Australian author and/or illustrator of childrenâ€™s and/or youth literature who is making a significant contribution to the childrenâ€™s literature canon of this country. The Laureate will be appointed on a biennial basis and will promote the transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians, while acting as a national and international ambassador for Australian childrenâ€™s literature.
The inaugural Childrenâ€™s Laureate role for 2012 to 2013 is shared by two eminent and much-loved childrenâ€™s authors, Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor.
Partners & Friends of the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate Initiative
ACLA would like to thank our funding partners, sponsors and friends for helping us make the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate initiative a reality.
Funding has gratefully been received from the Federal Government via the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Publishers Association, CAGES Foundation, the Childrenâ€™s Book Council of Australia, the Copyright Agency Ltd Cultural Fund, the Department for Education and Early Childhood Development (SA) and the State Library of Victoria.
In-kind support has been provided by the volunteer ACLA board members, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, Books Illustrated, the Childrenâ€™s Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishersâ€™ Association, the Australian School Libraries Association, Carclew Youth Arts, the Micador Group and publishers Penguin and Allen and Unwin.
If you would like to support the Australian Children's Laureate Initiative by offering financial, in-kind or volunteer support, please contact ACLA via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the ACLA Board
ACLA Chair Andrew Wilkins is Director of children's publisher Wilkins Farago, the company he founded in 1998. He has 25 years experience in the book industry, both in Australia andÂ internationally, and was previously Publisher of industry journal Bookseller+Publisher (now Books+Publishing) and co-owner of Hyland House Publishing. Melbourne-based, he is married to Anna and is father to two energetic boys, Felix and Owen. Andrew is also co-owner of Business Advantage International Pty Ltd, a publishing and communications agency.
Ann James was an art teacher who moved into designing and illustrating education publications before establishing herself as an award-winning illustrator of childrenâ€™s books. Ann particularly loves illustrating picture books and texts for young children. She has collaborated with many authors and publishers to illustrate over 60 books, many of which have been translated into other languages includingÂ The Midnight Babies, Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey, The Way I Love You, Â Sadie and Ratz, Chester and Gil and the Audrey series..
Ann, with partner Ann Haddon, established Books Illustrated in 1988. This gallery for book illustration now focuses on creating exhibitions promoting Australian picture books and their creators that travel throughout Australia and overseas - most recently in Italy, China and Korea. Together in 2000 they were awarded the Pixie Oâ€™Harris Award for Distinguished service to Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature. In 2003 Ann received the Dromkeen Medal awarded annually to an Australian citizen for work that â€˜makes a significant contribution to the appreciation and development of childrenâ€™s literature.â€™
Since 1996 Ann has represented illustrators on the Australian Society of Authors Committee of Management. She is a founding Board member of the Australian Childrenâ€™s Literature Alliance whose primary initiative is selecting and managing the Australian Childrenâ€™s Laureate/s. She lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Jane Covernton was born in South Australia in 1951. She trained as a newspaper journalist but switched to publishing after taking up a position with Berkeley Publishers in London. From 1975 to 1980 she worked as a general and educational editor for Rigby Limited. In 1981 she left Rigby to set up the specialist childrenâ€™s book publishing house, Omnibus Books, with co-founder Sue Williams.
In the years that followed, Sue and Jane published many Australian classics, including One Woolly Wombat, Possum Magic, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and I Went Walking. In 1991 they sold Omnibus Books to Scholastic Australia but continued to work with the company until 1997, when they left to set up a new childrenâ€™s picture book company, Working Title Press. In 2001 Jane Covernton became the sole publisher/director of Working Title Press. She remains committed to developing the work of new authors and illustrators and showcasing the works of Australiaâ€™s finest creators to the rest of the world.
Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright has operated justified text writing and publishing consultancy services since 1997 and has published widely on childrenâ€™s and YA literature. Sheâ€™s judged several awards including being inaugural chair of the judging panel for the Prime Ministerâ€™s Literary Awards (Children and YA) in 2010 and 2011.
She began her career as a childrenâ€™s librarian, later co-established a small childrenâ€™s publishing imprint, and was also inaugural Executive Director of the Queensland Writers Centre (1991-7), of which she is now a life member. Sheâ€™s currently a board member of the Australian Society of Authors, a member of the IBBY (Australia) Inc Committee, and president of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale Committee. She was recipient of the 2011 CBCA (Qld) Dame Annabelle Rankin Award, and the 2012 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award for Distinguished Services to Childrenâ€™s Literature in Australia. She looks forward as a member of the ACLA Board to assisting the Laureates in their important role of promoting the work of Australian creators generally.
Maureen Brooks, editor and teacher, is Manager, Publications Sales and Promotion at the National Library of Australia where she has responsibility for the distribution and promotion of NLA Publishing titles, the National Library Bookshop and Online Shop. A former history teacher and editor, she has researched and co-authored works on Australian English and, prior to taking up her current position, worked as an editor and project manager on a range of National Library publications.
Meet the ACLA Team
Justine Alltimes has worked in the UK and Australian children's publishing industries for the past six years. After three years in London as an agent in boutique literary and illustration agencies, Justine moved to Melbourne where she has specialised in freelance marketing, story editing, events and project management. As Program Manager for the Children's Laureate, Justine manages the touring schedule for the Laureates, marketing and events and special projects in coordination with the Board.
Geri Barr has extensive experience in small business management. The past 12 years she has focused on working as a mentor and advisor to small business owners assisting in implementing management systems. Prior to this, Geri utilized her Fine Art Diploma to establish and lead a creative business, designing gift and homeware products. Geri is passionate about all children having the opportunity to learn to read and grow their enjoyment of reading books and illustration of stories. She is working alongside Justine to help to deliver the Childrenâ€™s Laureate program in coordination with the ACLA board.
Nikki Anderson has worked in the literary arena for over a decade, including as a literary agent in Spain and Australia, rights and permissions manager at Lonely Planet Publications and acting publisher at Spinifex Press. As an arts administrator she has managed writersâ€™ festival programs, assisted writers-in-residence, and planned and executed author tours and exhibitions throughout Asia. She currently freelances as a literary and communications consultant, and manages the Australian Embassy Beijing's annual Australian Writers Week.