ACCEPTANCE SPEECH : Dr Gina M Newton – Winner of The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books 2017

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Dr Gina M Newton won The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books 2017 for Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks.  The Award was presented at Government House, Hobart on Friday 18 August.  This is the acceptance speech she gave on the day….

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, fellow authors and illustrators,

I’m so excited.  To be honoured with the Eve Pownall award is a dream come true.

I am so grateful to the wonderful and invaluable Children’s Book Council of Australia; 71 tireless years of inspiring children to read and supporting creators to create.

It is particularly humbling to be chosen in the face of such tough competition; the 2017 Short List of information books is of a very high calibre – my congratulations to the other authors and illustrators on the List.

My book was published by the National Library of Australia (NLA) and a huge thanks goes to the dedicated editing, design and production team at the NLA.  I will be ever thankful to head publisher Sue Hall for having the foresight to take on a book like this and for believing in me to research and write it.

The Eve Pownall Award is about providing information in a way that is appealing and accessible to children.  In that respect I especially acknowledge the innovative designers at the NLA who made this book so beautiful to look at and hold, yet so practical and easy to glean information from.

My immense thanks also go to the many scientific experts who vetted my work to ensure its accuracy – many of whom also kindly donated photographs for both the book and the National Collection at the Library. 

I also thank my children, Oskar and Jazmin, for their love and support during my journey with this book.

I have written stories since I was six years old and I’ve loved animals since I was a born. Then 12 years ago, I graduated with a Masters in Science Communication and my thesis topic was Communicating Science Through Children’s Literature.  With this book, Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks, I have turned the theory into practice.

I’ve also been able to fulfil my twin passions of wildlife conservation and writing for children by, hopefully, inspiring the next generations of Australians to better understand, appreciate and look after our unique and amazing wildlife and their habitats.

Thank you again, CBCA and all.  And in line with this year’s Book Week theme, I hope you can Escape to a National Park soon!

Dr Gina M Newton

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