Australian writer places Australian children’s literature on the world stage.

Today I attended the Sydney Writer’s Festival and was reminded of an important moment for the Australia and the literary community that is coming up next week. Sonya Hartnett will receive The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2008 in Sweden.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), established by the Swedish Government in 2002, is the world’s largest children’s and young people’s literary award. The annual international prize of SEK 5 million (equivalent to approx. USD 790,000, 540,000 Euros) may be awarded to authors, illustrators, narrators and/or promoters of reading whose work reflects the spirit of Astrid Lindgren. The object of the award is to increase interest in children’s and young people’s literature, and to promote children’s rights to culture on a global level. The award is administered by The Swedish Arts Council.

She will be presented with her award by HRH Crown Princess Victoria at the prize ceremony on 28 May 2008 at Skansen in Stockholm. Also attending will be the Swedish Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. I will bring you more at that time.

This achievement is an inspiration for all aspiring writers especially for the genre of children’s and young people’s literature. The successes of our sports people are celebrated and well reported and I hope that this significant achievement will be given the wide publicity it deserves.

The arts and sciences are often overlooked in the reporting of the cultural life of our country, but the area of children’s literature is particularly under appreciated. Today’s young readers are an important segment of our population who depend on the provision of literature that nurtures their curiosity about the world around them and acknowledges their right to participate in the cultural life of our society.

The jury described the unique quality of Sonya’s work in this way:

She is one of the authors currently charting a new course in both form and content for teen fiction, bringing it closer to adult fiction and blurring the distinction. She also constantly pushes her own boundaries. No two works are alike. She skilfully adapts her beautiful, precise and illustrative language and her artful narrative technique to the requirements of each novel.

I hope that this win will inspire other young writers to add even further to the body of Australian children’s and young people’s literature.


A group of Emperor penguins wait their turn to dive into the ocean near Ross Island, Antarctica. Dr. Paul Ponganis, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and his team study Emperor penguins’ diving. The routine occurrence of 500-meter dives during foraging trips is a physiological and behavioral enigma. Ponganis examines pressure tolerance, management of oxygen stores, end-organ tolerance of diving hypoxemia/ischemia, and deep-dive foraging behavior. This information provides insight into human diving physiology and has medical applications for patients whose organs or tissues have been deprived of oxygen due to heart attack, stroke, transplant, etc. To learn more about Dr. Ponganis’ research, visit:

Penguin dives into snow hole.

An Emperor penguin dives through a hole into the water below the McMurdo Sound sea ice.

Penguin under the ice.

Photographs by: Emily Stone, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: November 3, 2004.


~ by abstraktbiblos on Thursday, 22 May, 2008.

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