Rediscovering the magic of books

National Year of Reading

2012 is the National Year of Reading in Australia. Public libraries are partnering with governments, business and community groups to offer a coordinated series of imaginative and stimulating activities across the country to promote reading.

Some of the events include a national Reading Hour, ‘Read for Australia’ at the same time on the same day at schools and communities across Australia (good luck with the time zones!), and a national competition for under 12s, called ‘Are we there yet?’, which invites kids to write about where they live or a place in Australia that’s special to them.

There are dozens of things happening at the local level too, including Writers in Residence, and a Festival of Indigenous Reading, Writing and Storytelling at Alice Springs, and a myriad of other events with such intriguing titles as ‘Turn up the heat – read’, ‘The 366 day short story challenge’, and ‘Canberra’s Longest Bookmark’.

The organisers say it’s about helping people discover and rediscover the magic of books, and it’s about Australians becoming a nation of readers. What writer wouldn’t think that’s a fantastic notion?

Short story success

One of the activities is a national short story writing competition around the theme, ‘It’s never too late to learn… to read’, as part of Adult Learners Week. The winners were announced in Melbourne during the Reading Hour on 25 August, and I was delighted to learn that I am the Queensland winner in the ‘published writer’ category. You can find my story, ‘Walking the line’ on the National Year of Reading website, along with seven other short stories from published authors, and six from new writers. Soon you’ll be able to download them as podcasts, and you can also vote in the People’s Choice competition for the best story.

[D R Dymock’s biography of aviation pioneer and global adventurer Bert Hinkler will be published by Hachette Australia in 2013.]

P.S. National Literacy and Numeracy Week started Monday 27th August.

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