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It’s an understatement to say how enthusiastic we are about the work of our authors. From new releases to stage adaptations, we’re always thrilled to see familiar names and faces in the news, and are never surprised to see our speakers kicking goals.

In particular, the new release of When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke has struck a chord in our office. Written and illustrated by Maxine, this is a terrific triumph in creating a beautiful and critical work to start educating young ones early about the impact of racism. We’re rapidly buying up copies to give for Christmas, and spread Maxine’s important message for kids 3 and up.

Excitingly, Alice Pung’s excellent 2014 YA novel, Laurinda, will be on stage! Adapted by the Melbourne Theatre Company, Laurinda will be adapted by the writer and comedian Diana Nguyen, and directed by Petra Kalive. We can’t be more excited about this news, and look forward to seeing Lucy Lam in the big lights. Click here to read more.

According to new figures, less students are studying literature in VCE as it drops from the top 20 most popular VCE subjects. We were disappointed to hear this, as (unsurprisingly) the booking coordinators each have very fond memories of literature class at school.

Aside from the enjoyment of reading, literature provided us with valuable life lessons. The subject is about more than simply studying writing craft. It’s about understanding larger concepts and ideas, developing critical analysis and honing interpretation skills. It’s about both understanding the world we live in, and engaging with experiences outside our own worlds. It’s about contemplating broader themes of history, philosophy, politics, relationships and more.

Stories help us make sense of the world.

We encourage future VCE students to consider literature studies, a valuable and complimentary subject for any career path, and we hope you find as much joy, wisdom and life in books as we do.

Ah, bookshops. Where would we be without these amazing destinations full of kind-hearted souls and life-changing titles stacked high?

As a Melbourne-based agency, our return to beloved bookshops has been sweet and joyous. Which is why we’re very excited to spread the word about #VicBookshopBingo!

To play, you can download your bingo card here, and give yourself a good excuse to visit bookshops a little further afield than your normal fare (think secondhand, poetry and never-been-before…)

And to top it off, if you email a picture of your completed card to the Melbourne City of Literature, you’ll be in the running for a prize of $200 of books from your fave bookstore (ends Dec. 21st).

There’s no time to lose – only time to hustle across town and get readin’!

Award alert!

The 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Shortlist has been announced, and as expected, it’s full of incredible titles from a wide range of diverse authors who have tackled many difficult and important topics.

After a challenging year, the shortlist is intended to offer a “selection of thoughtful, inspiring and entertaining books to help us momentarily escape.”

Some familiar faces include

With the very talented judges,

To read about each of the 30 shortlisted books, you can click here.

Congratulations to all the fantastic shortlisted authors – we’re looking forward to reading all the shortlisted titles we can get our hands on.

Yesterday, at 11.ooam on the 11th of November, thousands of students across Australia observed a minute’s silence to remember those who have died or suffered in wars and armed conflicts. This tradition is an important moment for the many Australians affected by war, and also a way of engaging young people in Australia’s history.

Many of our speakers deal with war in their writing and have sessions dedicated to helping students understand these heavy topics and themes:

Ruth Clare

In author Ruth Clare’s session The Vietnam War And Its Impact, she opens up about her story of growing up with a father who fought in the Vietnam War but never spoke about it, and explores the psychological repercussions of war on veterans and their families.

Ruth also penned a moving article for The Age this week: Remembrance Day: Mourning the father I lost.

Way Back When Historians

Way Back When Consulting Historians offer a session on their book Annie’s War, a children’s book that explores what life was like for seven-year-old Annie Slade and her family in Kew, Melbourne during World War I.

Michael Camilleri

Illustrator Michael Camilleri’s book One Minute’s Silence (written by David Metzenthen) explores the WW1 experience with comics, maps and technical illustrations of war machinery. His presentation is packed with visuals, including a slideshow reading of the book, snippets of sound effect and animation.

Andrew Plant

The Poppy by Andrew Plant, a beautiful picture book telling a story of of remembrance and commemoration. In his session, Andrew outlines the story in a non-confronting way for younger students, focusing on the French village of Villers-Bretonneux and Australian National Memorial.

Simon O’Carrigan

Simon O’Carrigan is a good friend of Booked Out and though he doesn’t do school sessions, he illustrated picture book Never Forget (written by Clare Hallifax) which is a great resource for teachers as a sensitive and historically accurate portrayal of WW1. Simon was inspired by the extraordinary works of Australian artists painting the First World War as it happened around them spent months researching archives for the illustrations for this book.


Happy NAIDOC Week ❤️ 💛 🖤⁣

This year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.⁣

In a country where sovereignty has never been ceded, it is so important to be educating ourselves on the true history of this nation. Here are some of our favourite books by Indigenous writers to get you started.⁣

Always Was, Always Will Be.⁣

October was a very busy month for our speakers–not only were they zooming around the country for Book Week sessions, but many of them were picking up special awards along the way! The following speakers received a well-earned acknowledgment of their hard work:

Felice Arena was the recipient of the YABBA Graham Davey Citation for 2020 for his impressive body of work as an author, playwright and actor.

Way Back When Historians won The Historical Interpretation Award at the Victorian Community History Awards for their book Annie’s War: The story of one Boroondara family’s wartime experience.

Tristan Bancks won a YABBA Fiction Award for Years 7-9 for his book Detention.

Christian White won the 2020 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction for his book The Wife and the Widow.

And these speakers received honourable mentions at this year’s CBCA Awards:

Lisa FullerHonour Book for the CBCA 2020 Book of the Year: Older Readers for her YA novel Ghost Bird.

Marc McBrideHonour Book for the CBCA 2020 Book of the Year: Younger Readers for his book The Glimme (illustrator)

Congratulations to all these wonderful authors and illustrators, keep up you amazing work!

You made it! To all the teachers, speakers and students, Book Week 2020 is officially over.

A huge congratulations is in order for the hardworking people who make each booking a success, inspiring hundreds of thousands of readers across Australia each year. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting through another brilliant (albeit tough) year.

And for those who aren’t regular readers of The Alpine Observer, you may have missed a brilliant article about Tristan Bancks’ online visit to Mt Beauty Secondary College. Tristan’s virtual sessions have been a huge success in many schools across Victoria this Book season, with oodles of rave feedback.

Congratulations again to everyone involved in making this year so fantastic – here’s to a brilliant 2020 Book Week, and many more years to come. 🥳 ⭐ 📚

CBCA Book Week is the highlight of Booked Out’s year.

In 2020 the Booked Out team has run the longest, hardest marathon to make sure that our clients, speakers and young readers across Australia have the most wonderful Book Week possible.

With the finish line in sight, it’s time we recognised the incredible efforts of our brilliant booking coordinators:
Georgia Atkinson, Susie Kennewell and Maddy Crehan.

These incredible women have taken the challenges of 2020 in their stride – whether you’re a client or a speaker, you’ll be familiar with their gorgeous personalities and unwavering professionalism.

As a team they’ve worked tirelessly to make sure each and every speaker visit was meticulously organised. Their hard work has included rescheduling hundreds of bookings from August to October, moving yet more bookings online, and making sure that clients and speakers have everything they need for Book Week celebrations that run like clockwork.

What’s more, as Booked Out is based in Melbourne, these three legends have achieved all of this while working from home in the strictest Covid lockdown in Australia.

Whether you’re an author, illustrator, teacher or librarian: please give Georgia, Susie and Maddy a virtual round of applause (or send gifts to PO Box 580, South Yarra 3141 😉).

And coordinators: It’s time to pop some Prosecco and pat yourselves on the back for an AMAZING Book Week that we will never forget!

Christina Cox, Booked Out manager

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 📚 🥳

Book Week 2020 is finally here, and with hundreds of bookings in October alone, it’s going to be another big week of celebrations!

Book Week is looking very different this year with many speakers visiting schools virtually due to pandemic restrictions. We are grateful to work with such a fantastic group of speakers who have gracefully risen to the challenge, and have been delivering high-quality sessions remotely, and connecting with students wherever they may be.

A special thanks also goes out to the incredible teachers and librarians, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that their students can still virtually meet their favourite authors and illustrators in these very uncertain and tricky times – we see and appreciate all the work you do.

We can’t wait to see all your pictures, so don’t forget to tag us in your posts to be featured! Time to don your costume and get partying as Book Week has finally arrived! 🥳🥳🥳