In my last post I introduced the National Year of Reading (NYR12) and interviewed NYR12 National Ambassador Hazel Edwards (see “The National Year of Reading”). Today I’ve got two more Ambassadors for you — ACT Ambassador Tania McCartney and NSW Ambassador Susanne Gervay.
How did you become involved with the National Year of Reading?
Literacy is a personal passion of mine, and was one of the reasons I founded Kids Book Review. When I first heard about the National Year of Reading, I was ecstatic and immediately knew I wanted to help in some way. Soon after NYR12 was announced, Kids Book Review became a partner and I became a friend of the initiative. I began posting updates on both KBR and my own blog, and late last year, the NYR12 organisers contacted me about becoming an ambassador for the ACT. It was truly one of my proudest moments as an author.
As an author Ambassador for Room to Read, bringing literacy and books to the children of the developing world; and Role Model for Books in Homes, taking books to indigenous and disadvantaged children, it was wonderful to accept the role of an ambassador for the National Year of Reading. I love it.
Why is this initiative important to you?
Books are an enormous part of my life, and always have been. They simply make my heart race, and I knew very early on that I wanted to be an author. Being able to read is like oxygen to me. Reading has nurtured me, educated me, expanded me, delighted me, even saved me. It has taken me to greater heights than I ever dreamed possible. Every person should have this oxygen available to them.
Literacy is not vital in this communications-driven world, it is life-changing and magical. Full literacy stands between a potentially average life and a great life – in more ways than can be covered here. I believe that – next to love, food and shelter – literacy is a basic human need, and a right that all children should be well-versed in. Shockingly, 46 per cent of Australians do not have full literacy, and the majority are adults. This needs to change – and NYR12 is helping make that happen.
As a children’s author and a writer, mother and teacher, reading is so important to literacy, critical thinking and understanding the world and our place in it. The National Year of Reading is significant in raising the profile of our public libraries and connecting to organisations and supporters of reading, including Room to Read, the Writers’ Centres, school libraries, NIDA, bookstores, CBCA, CAL, Aboriginal Literacy Fund, publishers and so many more. It’s truly a nationwide celebration of reading.
What will you be doing as a National Year of Reading Ambassador?
I will be attending the 14 February launch at the National Library of Australia, and we’re planning on having a small tie-in to the event with my new book for the NLA – Australian Story: an illustrated timeline. I’m in talks with local NYR12 representatives to host a launch event for children at Civic Library around the same time, and we’re also planning on a promotional event at Government House Open Day in March. In May I’ll be promoting Beijing Tai Tai (Exisle Publishing) in Sydney and will give talks at local libraries about the initiative. I’ll be in promo mode during Book Week in August, and will organise more local events through the year, including school and library visits that encourage children to read. I’m currently running Bedtime Stories for Australian Women Online [www.australianwomenonline.com] – a NYR12 writing initiative that encourages adults reading to children –and this year’s Kids Book Review Unpublished Manuscript Award will be used to promote NYR12. I’ll also be continuing to spread the word and post updates on NYR12 via the various blogs and sites I write for.
I’ll be there at the launch of the National Year of Reading on 14th February at the State Library in Sydney. There will be launches across Australia. I have events already scheduled including speaking engagements from Woollahra Council Library Sydney to Taree Council on the NSW coast. There will be a tour of libraries later in the year. I will promote the National Year of Reading on my blog and at the events I attend. As the festival Director of the Children’s and Young Adult Literature festival at the NSW Writers Centre, I will be promoting the National Year of reading. The best part is that I’ll be reading books and encourage others to read as well!
To find out more about Susanne, check out her website. To find out more about Tanya, check out her website.
In the meantime, get reading! 🙂
Catch ya later, George
Check out my DVD blog, Viewing Clutter.
Latest Post: DVD Review – Doctor Who: The Seeds of Doom