Abe Nouk speaking at Reading Matters 2015

‘If you teach me something I will forget it, but if you tell me a story I will remember it. Storytelling is the only common ground that makes us realise we are all characters in this cycle of a story called life.’ Abe Nouk, poet

Books, blogs, comics: whatever the format, reading for pleasure has long been associated with high educational attainment and sense of wellbeing. Here at the State Library, our Centre for Youth Literature is dedicated to celebrating and exploring literature, writing and storytelling aimed at young adults.

Earlier this year, we held our 11th biennial Reading Matters program, a unique mix of festival events, workshops and conference talks – and for the first time, we took the program to teenagers in four states, thanks to our partner State Libraries in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Children laughing at the Reading Matters conference

For one packed week, thousands of young people and hundreds of professionals from around the country connected with 32 remarkable authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers. The enthusiasm was infectious as the groups queued to get autographs and take selfies, leaving excited to borrow and buy the authors’ books.

Children reading books at the Reading Matters conference

“As a school, we have been very privileged to have these amazing people come out… They’ve inspired me and I know they’ve inspired others.” Grade 8 student, Queensland.

This year, our goal was to highlight the diversity of the human condition and the stories we share. Our audiences engaged in important conversations about representation, education, Australian literature and access to digital stories – conversations that we hope will continue and progress.

Trending nationally for several days, the Reading Matters social media tag #YAmatters has continued to highlight the great texts and talks created for Australian teenagers, and the ways adults and professionals can support young people (like Laura Joan, video below) on their reading adventures.

“Oustanding conference. All the presenters – those I’d heard of and those I hadn’t – were interesting and informative. I am walking away from Reading Matters feeling inspired and informed.” Conference delegate, Victoria.

Want to find out more about Reading Matters, and keep in touch with the Centre for Youth Literature? Sign up for their newsletter, follow them on Twitter @CentreYouthLit or come along to one of their events.

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