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John Marsden awarded Dromkeen Medal for children’s literature

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State Library Victoria today awarded the 2018 Dromkeen Medal to iconic Australian author John Marsden.

The Dromkeen Medal was founded in 1982 by Joyce Oldmeadow to honour outstanding contributions to Australian children’s literature. It has since been awarded to 36 leading Australian writers, illustrators, editors, publishers and booksellers.

John Marsden is one of Australia’s most respected authors and advocates for children’s literature. In a writing career spanning 27 years and more than 40 books, John has influenced and inspired generations of children with his ground-breaking, best-selling books. His acclaimed Tomorrow series is the most enduring series ever published in Australia and he has won every major writing award in the country for young people’s fiction. 

State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney, said she was thrilled to award the Dromkeen Medal to the seminal author.

“John Marsden’s enduring passion for and contribution to Australian children’s literature and children’s education is truly remarkable. He is not only a literary pioneer, he is also a founder and teacher of two schools, a role model for young authors and readers, and a voice for issues facing young people today. His impact on literacy levels in Australia is astonishing, and we’re delighted to be honouring this national treasure today,” Ms Torney said.

Dromkeen Librarian’s Award presented to Sue Wootton

The State Library also presented this year’s Dromkeen Librarian’s Award to library worker Sue Wootton.

Sue Wootton is the Eastern Regional Libraries (ERL) Children’s Support Officer. She joined ERL in 1999 and by 2002 was the Youth Services Librarian at Ferntree Gully Library, where she developed a variety of children’s programs. By 2016, Sue had become the Children’s Support Officer for three council areas. In 2017–2018, the dedicated children’s and youth services worker engaged close to 100,000 participants in State Library Victoria’s children’s and youth services program across ERL. 

Kate Torney said Sue was a worthy winner of the Dromkeen Librarian’s Award, which recognises the central role libraries play in improving literacy and fostering a passion for reading in young people.

“Sue is a proud advocate for children’s literature and the benefits that children’s library services play in cultivating a love of books in young people. She is committed to ensuring access for all children to youth literature, and she has shown great leadership in building a dedicated children’s services team, which has extended to her broader community,” Ms Torney said.

The Dromkeen winners were selected by a panel of authors, illustrators, publishers and librarians.

History of the Dromkeen awards

The State Library has presented both the Dromkeen Medal and the Dromkeen Librarian’s Award since 2013. The national annual awards honour outstanding contributions to children’s literature and outstanding work by librarians in support of children’s literacy.

In 2012, the Dromkeen Board of Governors and trustees Scholastic Australia presented the entire collection and archives of the Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art – including more than 7,500 original artworks and illustrations from many of Australia’s best loved children’s books – to State Library Victoria.