Catch up on all the latest news from Penguin Books Australia including award winning authors, illustrators, designers, publishers and other publishing industry and book related news.
Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP has launched National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) 2014 and announced the ambassadors for this year’s NLNW. Celebrated children’s author and illustrator, Alison Lester has been appointed this year’s Literacy Ambassador while Simon Pampena will return this year as Numeracy Ambassador. “Simon and Alison have both agreed to volunteer their time for National Literacy and Numeracy Week,” Mr Pyne said. “They are fantastic role models for students and help us all to celebrate the importance of reading, writing and mathematics.”
Each year, ambassadors promote National Literacy and Numeracy week to schools, teachers, parents and students. The ambassadors visit schools, participate in the official launch and associated activities as well as other events and opportunities throughout the year.
Alison was the Australian Children’s Laureate in 2012 and 2013 and has published over 25 children’s books and young adult novels. She has won many awards including the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award, the 2011 ABIA award and the 2012 CBCA Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award. “Alison has a unique ability to capture the imagination of children through her writing and her infectious love of literacy. Together they are great role models and great representatives for the week.” Mr Pyne said.
The 16th annual National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) will be held during 25-31 August 2014. A major highlight of NLNW is the Read for Australia activity; to be held on Friday 29 August at 2pm AEST. Teachers, students and parents at schools across Australia will participate in a national read aloud of Sunday Chutney by Aaron Blabey.
For further information about National Literacy and Numeracy Week visit,www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au.
We are deeply saddened by the death of author and illustrator Eric Hill, the beloved creator of Spot. He has died aged 86 after a short illness at his home in California.
'Eric Hill was a master of simple design. He created one of the world’s most loveable children’s book characters - Spot, the charming, naughty, playful puppy, loved and appreciated across the world. Eric's ingenious lift-the-flap device turned the reading of a Spot book into a glorious game of hide and seek, enjoyed by children and adults alike. Puffin is proud to publish Eric Hill and will ensure Spot continues to delight children for generations to come.’ Francesca Dow, MD, Penguin Random House UK Children’s.
Eric Hill Family Statement:
‘We love and miss our Dad and Husband immensely, and although this time of loss is a great hardship for us, we can honestly say that we take some solace in the joy he brought to so many children and families through his work. We know Spot, and therefore Eric, has had a beloved presence in so many homes and bedtime readings. And we know we share our grief with many.’
Notes to Editors:
Eric Hill, who has died aged 86 after a short illness, was a modest man who valued simplicity, good design, and kindness above all. His books about a mischievous puppy named Spot have sold over 60 million copies around the world since Spot’s debut in 1980, but Eric was singularly uninterested in public appearances and the trappings of fame and often referred to himself simply as Spot’s Dad.
Born in Holloway, north London, Eric was evacuated, along with thousands of other city children, to the countryside at the beginning of the Second World War. Life in the country didn’t suit him so he took himself back to London and later found a job in an illustration studio as an errand boy.
After the war ended, Eric began working for an advertising agency, which led to a successful career as a creative director and illustrator.
Eric’s first family began in 1950 with a marriage to Barbara and the birth of his daughter, Jane, in 1958. Eric and Barbara later divorced, and he then met his current wife, Gillian, with whom he shared 41 years of marriage. They have a son, Christopher, who was born in 1976.
While Eric was freelancing as a creative marketing designer, he worked on a paper-engineered novelty piece, which featured a flap, hiding part of the design. His son, then aged three, was fascinated by the lifting flap. Eric was intrigued by the child’s reaction and invented a story about a puppy, using the surprise-flap idea to entertain him further. This led to the creation of Spot.
Eric, Gillian, Chris and Jane moved to America in the early 1980s. They built a home in Arizona after becoming enchanted with the south-west desert on family holidays. A few years later, they settled in California and have lived there since.
Familiar as we are today with a children’s book market where flaps, pop-ups and all kinds of novelty and interactivity are taken for granted, it is hard to recall what an extraordinarily innovative concept this was in the late 1970s. At that time, Eric’s idea was so different that it took a long while before anyone was brave enough to consider publishing his first book about Spot.
Published in 1980, Where’s Spot? was an instant hit. Although the lift-the-flap concept was so different, the story itself, told with gentle humour in just a few words, was extremely simple and charming, and it had immediate appeal for its target audience of pre-school children.
Where’s Spot? was quickly followed with Spot’s First Walk. The first animated series, The Adventures of Spot, was developed by King Rollo Films in 1983, using a unique cut-paper technique to build up the movement of the characters while keeping the integrity of the original drawings.
Spot books have been translated intomore than 60 languages, and the films have been sold in the same territories.
Eric‘s daughter Jane has been an invaluable part of the Spot publishing team for nearly fifteen years, utilising her own design background and intimate understanding of all things Spot to assist Eric as production and business demands increased.
Next to his family, Eric loved animals and Spot‘s community of animal friends represented this. At his house in California, he and Gillian had horses, dogs, chickens and, of course, many cats and dogs. He always had a cat or two in his studio. Many of his animals were rescue strays to whom he gave a happy home, and he could never resist a new addition. It is worth mentioning that in the last years of his life, he was accompanied by his beloved dog Suzie, who rarely left his side.
Eric was awarded an OBE for his services to children’s literacy in 2008, and he greatly enjoyed his visit to Buckingham Palace to receive it.
Eric’s death will be mourned by his family, friends, publishers and fans all around the world, but his creation will continue to delight children whether in the form of the original lift-the-flap books, or as an app for their mother’s iPhone – or most likely both – for many years to come.
Eric is survived by Gillian, their son Christopher, and his daughter Jane, all of whom are involved in looking after Spot.
For more information please read this news article on penguin.co.uk
The 2014 shortlisted authors for the Kibble Awards were revealed today and we are delighted to announce that the list features two Penguin Random House authors. Both Fiona McFarlane and Kate Richards have been nominated for the Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author.
The Kibble Awards honour the legacy of the State Library of New South Wales’ first female librarian, Nita B Kibble with the intention of encouraging "female authors to improve and advance Australian literature for the benefit of the community."
The winner will be announced on 23 July.
For more info, please visit www.perpetual.com.au/kibble
Fiona McFarlane announced as a winner of the Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year Award
We are thrilled to announce that Fiona McFarlane has been announced as one of four winners of the Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year Awards. The award recognises Fiona’s debut novel, The Night Guest, a mesmerising story about love, dependence, and the fear that the things you know best can become the things you're least certain about. Fiona was awarded the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing at the 2014 NSW Premier's Literary Awards; The Night Guest has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year.
At the announcement of the Awards this afternoon, Fiona said, "I'm utterly delighted to have been named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist – it's so encouraging and gratifying to be acknowledged in this way."
Congratulations to Fiona for this wonderful and deserved accolade.
UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction (joint winner)
The shortlist for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award was announced this morning at the State Library of NSW. We are thrilled to announce that four Penguin Random House authors have been shortlisted for the prize, on a list of just six authors:
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Vintage Australia)
The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane (Hamish Hamilton)
Eyrie, Tim Winton (Hamish Hamilton)
All the Birds, Singing, Evie Wyld (Vintage Australia)
Fiona McFarlane attended this morning’s announcement and was honoured to be included in the shortlist
for this prestigious award. Fiona said, “I couldn’t be more delighted to have been shortlisted for the Miles
Franklin Literary Award. I’ve grown up admiring the prize and its shortlists, and to find myself there with my
first novel – among such amazing finalists – is an enormous honour.” A sentiment echoed by Evie Wyld,
“The Miles Franklin has been awarded to so many of my favorite writers – it's amazing just to be mentioned
in the same list as some of them this time.”
The winner will be announced on 26 June.
This is Australia's leading award for business literature, launched in 2004 by Ashurst Australia and the State Library of NSW.
For more info about the award, see the website here.
Congratulations to Cate Blake, Managing Editor, Penguin General, who has been awarded a new grant for Australian editors.
Cate has successfully applied for an Editorial Professional Development grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to enable her to attend the Yale Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing course.
Held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut in late July, the week long course is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of where the publishing industry is today and focuses on equipping participants with practical skills that will enable them to think strategically about the future. The program includes speakers from US publishers and booksellers, and covers topics such as discoverability, innovation and managing organisational change.
For more information on the Yale Publishing Course: http://publishing-course.yale.edu/book
The following Penguin and Random House books have been shortlisted for the 2014 YABBA Awards:
Picture Story Books
Fiona The Pig's Big Day by Leigh Hobbs
Fiction for Younger Readers
Fiction for Older Readers
Fiction for Year 7-9
For more information please visit the YABBA website: http://yabba.org.au/2014-shortlist