Australian Reading Hour returned on Thursday 9 March 2023, with over 250+ events across the nation, and a special launch event at Parliament House in Canberra – and two more special events to come this month.
Authors Rick Morton and Anne Brinsden joined Graham Perrett MP, Anne Webster MP and a host of MPs, Parliamentary Friends and staffers to discuss the importance they place on growing up as readers - and the need for Australian politicians to actively support a reading culture. Senator Helen Polley also spoke in the chamber about the campaign and the importance of reading and literacy.
Over 17,000 students watched the live national digital event The Magic of Storytelling at Sydney Opera House, with the event now available to watch on demand for junior booklovers.
ABC TV News Breakfast asked Aussies to recommend their favourite reads and interviewed Sally Rippin about the importance of reading, whilst Studio 10 chatted with Peter Helliar about how to get involved. Dr Norman Swan pointed to the health benefits of reading, while Professor Robyn Ewing discussed the importance of long-term reading of fiction on social and emotional wellbeing.
From author talks and publisher picnics to reading parties and readers in the bookshop windows at Dymocks George Street, many thousands of Australians took part in Australian Reading Hour events. Mataranka Library in the Northern Territory had so many people they had to move venues! Tasmania celebrated with a whole week of activities, including Story Snippets posters encouraging commuters on buses to sample the first chapters of fantastic Australian novels.
‘It was wonderful to see so many tens of thousands of Australians from different walks of life stop to talk about books and share stories together for Australian Reading Hour,’ said Anna Burkey from Australia Reads. ‘From Parliament House to community libraries, public parks and local buses, Australians gave themselves permission to take time out to read—and loved it! And studies show that it really is good for us—from out mental wellbeing to our empathy, connection to others and sense of self, curling up with a good book has so many benefits for ourselves, our families and our friends.’
Australian reading Hour follow-up events: 16 and 27 March
It’s not over yet! On 16 March Vision Australia will present an online conversation with Andy Jackson, Eliza Hull and Matt Formston on why representation matters in books, and share what they want libraries and publishers to know when acquiring and publishing inclusive books.
On 27 March the Teen Reading project will run an event in Geelong on How to keep your teenager reading, with insights provided by school librarians, teachers and booksellers about what measures work and what doesn’t in guiding teenagers to choose and read the books that will interest them.