Reading Matters at SLV: Round-Up

From Thursday 30th May to Saturday 1st June, Melbourne’s children’s and YA book fanatics are going to be in Seventh Heaven – and by that I mean The State Library of Victoria. Find out what Readings' specialist team are most looking forward to on the Reading Matters program.


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Angela Crocombe, Children’s and YA Specialist at the St Kilda store:

Alison Croggon totally blew me away with Black Spring, her fantasy re-working of Wuthering Heights last year, and I was embarrassed not to have read more of this brilliant Australian author, so I’m definitely looking forward to hearing from her. I’m also a fan of the strange and hilarious mind of US author, Libba Bray (Going Bovine, The Diviners), so I will definitely be leaning forward in her sessions to catch every word. Most of all, I look forward to discovering a whole new list of ‘must read’ authors to keep me reading late into the night.

Alexa Dretzke, Children’s and YA Specialist at the Hawthorn store:

I just love two days of dedicated discussion about kids and YA books. However, having read three great books by three wonderful Aussie authors, I’m really excited about hearing Vikki Wakefield (Friday Brown), Gabrielle Williams (The Reluctant Hallelujah) and Fiona Wood (Six Impossible Things) at the conference. I have just finished and loved Fiona’s new book Wildlife and I am looking forward to hearing her talk about it.

Athina Clarke, Children’s and YA Specialist at the Malvern store:

2001 was my first year in bookselling and the year Garth Nix’s second novel in the Old Kingdom series, Lirael, was published. I remember the publisher’s rep giving me a proof copy containing only 4 or 5 chapters which I read in one sitting. I hadn’t read the first book in the series, Sabriel, but, no matter, I was mesmerised! This was high fantasy at its best and I hadn’t been this excited since I’d read Ursula Le Guin! So began my love affair with Garth Nix’s writing. I’m thrilled that he’ll be a part of Reading Matters and looking forward to his contribution.

Reading Matters for me is a fantastic opportunity to talk to like minded people – people who love books for young adults. To discover the great books I haven’t read so that I can share them with my customers, and I in turn can share my favourites.

Holly Harper, Children’s and YA Specialist at the Carlton store:

Few Australian authors can claim the range or international success of Garth Nix, which makes him something of a rockstar in the world of kidlit. His Sabriel trilogy (and its much-anticipated sequels) has earned him a following that stretches far past its intended teen audience, and with each new series he manages to reinvent the speculative genre. His most recent novel is A Confusion of Princes, an epic YA space opera with healthy doses of conflict and tension, so it’s only fitting he’ll be discussing these topics for Reading Matters.

You’d be hard pressed to find many young readers who haven’t at least heard of John Flanagan’s phenomenally successful Ranger’s Apprentice series. These tales of a young Ranger named Will (think a cross between Robin Hood and a ninja) and his travels under his tutor Halt have spawned a series that spans an entire fantasy world, as well as Flanagan’s latest spin-off series, Brotherband. I have no doubt that his session on communities will make for a fascinating discussion.

Emily Gale, Children’s and YA Specialist at the Carlton store:

I’ll be dashing into as many talks as I can in between running the Readings' pop-up shop. The panel I’m most looking forward to is called Unleashing YA: Gayle Forman, Morris Gleitzman and Keith Gray on adult encroachment in YA, because I think the stats on the huge number of adult buyers of YA fiction are really interesting.


Many of the works by this year’s panel can be found in the collection below.

You can browse the full Reading Matters program and read author bios on the SLV site.