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The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist for 2016

prime-ministers-literary-awardsThe Prime Minister’s Literary Awards began in 2008 and aim to recognise individual excellence and the contribution Australian authors make to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life.  The panel of judges make recommendations to the Prime Minister for the shortlists and winners across each of the six categories but it is the Prime Minister who makes the final decision (and in 2014 Tony Abbott famously overruled the judges and made his own choice, The Narrow Road to the Deep North  by Richard Flanagan).

The winner of each category — Fiction, Non-fiction, Australian History, Poetry, Young Adult Fiction and Children’s Fiction — is awarded $80,000, with shortlisted entries each awarded $5,000.

The twelve judges over three judging panels for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards include:

  • Fiction and Poetry panel – Louise Adler AM (Chair), Jamie Grant, Dr Robert Gray and Des Cowley
  • Non-fiction and History panel – Gerard Henderson (Chair), Dr Ida Lichter, Peter Coleman and Professor Ross Fitzgerald
  • Children’s and Young Adult fiction panel – Mike Shuttleworth (Chair), Dr Irini Savvides, Ms Kate Colley and Dr Mark MacLeod

And the shortlisted titles for the The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist for 2016 are:







Australian History


Young Adult fiction


Children’s fiction


The winners will be announced later this year. In the meantime keep up-to-date via the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards  website or Facebook page or


The Reading Hour 2016


the reading hour

The annual Reading Hour aims at encouraging families to spend time reading with each other.

Although the 16th of August from 6 – 7pm is nominated as the specific time and date for Reading Hour 2016 and some families and groups will choose to read for an hour together the intention is not to put extra pressure on people with their already busy lives – the Reading Hour aims to spread the simple message, ‘Share a book for 10 minutes a day, an hour a week, and give the gift of reading’. 

The benefits of reading are multiple and the earlier the reading habit starts the better.  This infographic spells out some of the benefits of reading.

Benefits of Reading

From Lifehacker Australia, 4 January 2016

ReadingHour ambassador 2016
Magda Szubanski– one of Australia’s most loved TV personalities, is the National Ambassador for 2016. Magda Szubanski has a background in comedy, appearing on several sketch shows including Kath & Kim as Sharon Strzelecki.  

Her first book Reckoning recently won the Indie Award for Non-Fiction, Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and both Biography and Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards!

I especially recommend the audiobook version which is narrated by Magda Szubanski herself.  Get it out as a Talking Book or download it to your PC, tablet, iPad or smartphone from Borrowbox.

So, now you know about Reading Hour and why reading is good for you, what are you going to read?  We asked around the office and here are some replies :

Patricia – 4 books total (2 per child) – 6 year old: 1 x home reader (Kindergarten student), 1 x Pokemon Book (2 chapters of a chapter book) | 4 year old: 2 pre-schooler books usually a Dr Seuss, fairy-tale or ABC book  

Geoff – I am reading The Goblet of Fire to my daughter so will have to do an hour session tonight! She will be happy, when we finish a book we watch the movie the following weekend.

Happy Reading Hour!

Read it before you see it


There are lots of books that getting the dramatic treatment in 2016, either for the movies or for TV and it is a truth universally acknowledged that the book is better 99% of the time.

Here are some of the books which may come to Australian screens in 2016*


Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and a Thousand Cocktails by Mike and Dave Stangle – humorous true story.

13 Hours in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff – true story, six American soldiers under attack by terrorists in Benghazi.

The Finest Hours by Michael J Tougias and Casey Sherman – true story, sea rescue.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – rewriting of the classic, zombies, romance.

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks – contemporary romance.

How to be Single by liz Tuccillo – thirtysomethings in New York.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – contemporary romance.

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs – classic tale of the man brought up by apes.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – suspense.

Inferno by Dan Brown – more in the Robert Langdon thriller series.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain – satire set during the Iraq War.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – will be showing in the UK on the BBC in January 2016 so I’m hoping it will make it to Australia sometime in 2016.

The Night Manager by John Le Carre – also being put on by the BBC.

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas – being promoted by the ABC already.

The Jack Irish series by Peter Temple – also being promoted by the ABC.

Room by Emma Donoghue – the best selling and Man Booker shortlisted novel about a mother and her child held captive for years.

And there’s another Bridget Jones film coming out, Bridget Jones’ Baby, but apparently it isn’t based on Mad About the Boy – read it anyway!


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – science fiction, dystopian.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth – third in the Divergent trilogy.  Like the later Harry Potter books, this book will be made into two films.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – a young man’s grief.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – story of the supernatural.


The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling – not a cartoon this time.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll – the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The BFG by Roald Dahl – story of a young girl and a giant.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (JK Rowling) – about the magical creatures in the Wizarding World.

*This information is from international as well as Australian sources, some films may not make it to Australian screens. See The Guardian for instance.

Great Dragon Detective Quest at Katoomba Library


Here’s an event just for the kids!

Solve the clues by finding Blue’s dragon eggs and you could win a book prize pack!

Meet local authors and illustrators including Emily Rodda, James Roy, Steven Herrick, Stephen Measday, Susan Boyer, Dawn Meredith, Margaret Hamilton, Michel Streich & Narelda Joy.

Get your favourite books signed, see illustrator demonstrations, listen to the authors read their stories or enter our Little Free Libraries design competition and see the launch of a brand new book, ‘Friend in a Shell’, by Dawn Meredith.

When: Saturday 21 November 2015, 1pm to 3pm

Where: Katoomba Library

Cost: FREE

Details: Register for the event on the day from 1pm, recommended quest age 8 to 12 years.

Presented by the Blue Mountains Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia and hosted by Katoomba Library.

For more information contact Katoomba Library on  4780 5750

Children’s Book Week nominations for 2014

Younger Readers 2014


Younger Readers




Older Readers 2014


Older Readers


Early Childhood 2014


Early Readers

Picture Book 2014


Picture Book


Eve Pownall Award for Information 2014


Eve Pownall Award for Information Books


Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year 2013 Winners

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) have announced the Book of the Year winners for 2013 and they are as follows :

Older Readers Book of the Year 2013

For mature readers

Winner : Margo Lanagan – Sea Hearts

Honour Books : Neil Grant – The Ink Bridge and Vikki Wakefield – Friday Brown


Younger Readers Book of the Year 2013

Books intended for independent younger readers.

Winner : Sonya Hartnett – The Children of the King

Honour Books : Jackie French – Pennies for Hitler and Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King (illus.) – The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk


Early Childhood Book of the Year 2013

Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading stages.

Winner : Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood (illus.) – The Terrible Suitcase

Honour Books : Tania Cox & Karen Blair (illus.) – With Nan and Ursula Dubosarsky & Andrew Joyner (illus.) – Too Many Elephants in this House


Picture Book of the Year 2013

Intended for 0-18 year olds.

Winner : Julie Hunt & Ron Brooks (illus.) – The Coat

Honour Books : Gus Gordon – Herman and Rosie and Alison Lester – Sophie Scott Goes South


Eve Pownall Book of the Year 2013

Information books for 0-18 year olds.

Winner : Kristin Weidenbach & Timothy Ide (illus.) – Tom the Outback Mailman

Honour Books : Jakie Kerin & Peter Gouldthorpe (illus.) – Lyrebird! A True Story and Kirsty Murray – Topsy-turvy World : How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers


We featured all the Shortlisted books back in April, you can click here for more great Australian literature for kids.

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