Event: How to Survive the Apocalypse


The Centre for Youth Literature (State Library Victoria) is planning a fantastic Young Adult event.  Learn how to build and destroy characters and worlds in a day of workshops with favourite Young Adult authors Jay Kristoff and Lili Wilkinson!

Event Date:  2 July 2016 – 12:00-6:00 pm
Author Presenters: Lili Wilkinson and Jay Kristoff
Cost:  Free event – Bookings required

Author workshops*.  Venue: Conference Centre, 12-2pm

Workshop 1 – Jay Kristoff: How to build and destory worlds
Workshop 2 – Lili Wilkinson: How to build and destroy characters

* These workshops are designed for a teen audience, aged between 12 and 20. Proof of age will be required on the day. Workshops are a parent-free zone!  Tickets to the workshops are limited to only 30 places per workshop.

If you miss out on the workshops, there are plenty of tickets available to attend the panel and film screening (capacity 200), open to all ages.

The panel discussion and audience Q&A with Jay Kristoff and Lili Wilkinson will be held in the Village Roadshow Theatrette, 2.30-3.30pm.

Finally,  in the Village Roadshow Theatrette, 4.00-6.00pm
The Maze Runner film screening with audience participation, 4-6pm. The Maze Runner is rated M for a mature audience.

Shift Alt Story – how we tell stories online

Whether it’s ebooks, gaming or graphic novels, we’ve all encountered new forms of storytelling.

The Centre for Youth Literature’s new online course, Shift Alt Story explores how stories have changed (and stayed the same) as they’ve collided with new media in all its forms.

Shift Alt Story is a four week online course, delivered in a similar way to the Victorian Personal Learning Network (VicPLN). Each week participants explore different aspects of story and how they work and change in different online platforms. With a weekly toolkit of handy web tools, professional resources and guest speakers, Shift Alt Story connects your passion for reading to the exciting new world of digital storytelling and transmedia.

Here’s a excerpt from the first unit of the course.

Sometimes it can feel like storytelling and publishing are changing at break-neck speed: we wanted to create a safe space where we could explore these changes together, to play and discuss the challenges and possibilities of digital storytelling with teenagers and children. This course will be a shared experience. We know that young people are playing in this space, and so can we. It’s an opportunity for teachers, librarians, creators and young readers to learn from each other in a new environment.

The course starts on the 1st September. For more information or to book your place in the course, visit the Shift Alt Story page on the State Library of Victoria’s website.

New writers in residence on Inside a Dog

Jordi Kerr, Learning Programs Officer at the Centre for Youth Literature talks about upcoming writers in residence on insideadog.

Ever wanted to break into a writer’s mind and find out the true story – how do they do it? What makes them tick? Where did that idea come from? Welcome to insideadog’s Residence blog.

insideadog hosts a different YA writer each month – they hang around the kennel, and write posts that give an insight into their lives and writing process. It’s a unique opportunity for students, regardless of their geographical location, to pick the brains of an author. By commenting on the blog posts, students can interact with professional writers, and have their questions about reading and writing answered.

In March, debut author Myke Bartlett provided candid and humorous explorations of his background and process, as well as exclusive glimpses at some of his unpublished work, and his upcoming sequel to Fire in the Sea.  (You can easily access all of Myke’s posts here.)

Myke has also aptly demonstrated that blog writing is an art form in its own right. In the classroom the Residence blog can be used as a launch pad to discuss and explore how writing for an online audience is different to writing for print. What makes a good blog? How is blog success measured? How can readers be encouraged to become involved?

In April, American graphic novelist (artist and writer) Raina Telgemeier was at the helm. (You may have heard of her multi-award winning book Smile?) If you’ve ever been uncertain about how to introduce graphic novels into your classroom, this is your chance. Raina’s got some great posts from how a graphic novel is born (and raised), advice for budding cartoonists and graphic novel recommendations for young readers. You can access all her posts here.

Insideadog endeavours to publish the names of upcoming resident authors ahead of time, to give teachers the opportunity to prepare and plan. Students can familiarise themselves with the author’s books, and research them online. There is also a blogging worksheet included in the site’s teacher resources, which you can use or adapt to foster discussion.

You may notice that over the next few months the writers hosted on insideadog are also involved in our Reading Matters Student Day program. For those students lucky enough to be attending Reading Matters, the residence blog gives them a chance to get to know the authors beforehand.

Reading Matters 2013

The schedule for Reading Matters 2013 is now available, boasting an impressive line up of emerging and established authors from across Australia and the world.

One of the themes explored this year is story told through different mediums with speakers including poet Tim Sinclair, games developer Paul Callaghan and American graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier.

The conference will also explore adults and teens within the YA context and gatekeeping – who decides what teens can, can’t and should read?

International guests include:

Libba Bray (UK), author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and Going Bovine

Gayle Forman (US), author of If I stay and sequel, Where she went

Keith Gray (UK), author of Creepers.

To find out more about the program and how to book visit the State Library of Victoria website or contact the Centre for Youth Literature on 8664 7014 or email youthlit@slv.vic.gov.au.

Lizzie Bennet Diaries: transmedia story telling

In this guest post Centre for Youth Literature Program Coordinator, Adele Walsh talks about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – an amazing example of transmedia story telling.

When you think of Lizzie Bennet, most see a tome of Pride and Prejudice or Jennifer Ehle slowly coaxing a smile out of Colin Firth in the last scene of the BBC adaptation. Since April last year, the two hundred year old character has undergone a radical makeover in the form of a hugely successful web series.

Hank Green, one half of the Nerdfighting duo with brother John Green, and head writer Bernie Su, have created The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a web series that lovingly references the classic text while reflecting life today and social media trends. LBD, as it’s known, has also created a staggeringly engaged online community.

It’s a perfect example of highly successful transmedia at work – a series of web tools that integrates the elements of narrative to create unique content based on existing (and out of copyright) properties.

Remaining loyal to the structure of Jane Austen’s work, Hank and Bernie have followed the same narrative arc, but have adapted characters and motivations so they make sense today and fit the medium. For instance, there are only three Bennet sisters in LBD – Lizzie (our fearless vlogging protagonist), Jane (timid but lovely) and Lydia (irrepressible and endearing). Mary makes an appearance as a cousin with Kitty as the family pet. Every change to the original is done with love and humour, it never mocks its source material.

Marriage proposals are now job offers, estates become large corporations and as for the shocking Wickham/Bennet development….well, our lips are sealed.

Green and Su have also integrated different social media platforms to develop characters and events from outside Lizzie’s perspective. Each character has a Twitter account composed by the series’ writing team where they interact with the public and each other. Jane works in fashion so her outfits and inspiration are posted on her Tumblr and Lookbook accounts.

Jane Bennet on Lookbook

Lydia starts her own web series to have a share of the spotlight but what starts out as an exercise in narcissism becomes something else entirely. Lydia Bennet has never been as beloved as she has in this form of Pride and Prejudice. The appearance of the characters (and cast) at last year’s VidCon brought real and imagined worlds together in a way that tickled the funny bone and imagination of the LBD audience.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries appeals to new and established audiences. Many of the teens and adults who have gravitated to the series have no pre-existing knowledge of the story so every new episode is a revelation. The dialogue, acting and variations in the story give viewers familiar with the novel a new experience which often challenges them to think about characters in a different way.

The series also encourages audience participation. Viewers are actively involved in the characters’ lives – giving Lydia advice (or warnings…) in YouTube comments, chatting with characters on Twitter and pestering creators to hurry up and introduce Darcy!

One of the most interesting spin-offs from LBD is the fan group, The LBD Seahorses. Before Lydia’s fall from grace, fans couldn’t agree which tragedy would ruin her in a contemporary setting. Pregnancy seemed to be the frontrunner. The question was then asked, “What would Darcy even do to help the situation?” To which someone replied, “He’d offer to carry the baby for her.” “Oh, so he’s going to become a seahorse?”

And so the niche group was born.

LBD Seahorses group on Twitter

While it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and not all LBD fans love it, the group is a great example of how web based media evolves. In a recent Lizzie Bennet Q&A session there was even a shout out for this fan group.

The creators couldn’t have anticipated the audience driven art, discussions and interests inspired by the series. The actress who plays Jane often styles her hair using ideas from the World War II era prompting questions about how she does it.  Jane posted on Pinterest and made video tutorials so now fans are wearing elaborate hair styles like Victory rolls and milk maid braids.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries project is slowly coming to an end. This week celebrates the 91st episode and (almost) a year of continuous, free narrative-based content. Who would have imagined that a series of 3-5 minute videos and social media channels based on a classic reimagined text would so firmly capture young people’s attention?

Hank Green and Bernie Su did.

The big question is which classic will they tackle next?


Keeping Young Australians Reading

A very interesting and useful report from the Centre for Youth Literature on the state of reading at the young adult level has been released. Updating the 2001 report Young Australians Reading, Keeping Young Australians Reading addresses the landscape and data of, you guessed it, young adults reading in 2009.

Paula Kelly, the Reader Development and Onsite Learning Manager (inc. Centre for Youth Literature) Learning Services at the State Library of Victoria highlights the following points from the new report:

  • that young people area reading – perhaps more than ever!
  • why it is vital to promote reading and the positive outcomes it affects
  • what the barriers are to reading and how to overcome them
  • trends in young people’s reading environments and challenges in addressing these
  • how it is we all can put, and keep, books in the hands of young people

The State Library and the Centre for Youth Literature are also to be congratulated on the following achievements:

  •  a doubling of the youth audience in partnership with others in the Centre for Youth Literature program delivery
  • the distribution of almost 100,000th free picture books for Victorian 2 year olds in the Young Readers Program
  • the development of an online primary age audience partnership with SuperClubs Plus Australia
    (for which an Arts Victoria Leadership Award was presented)
  • the launch of another adult Summer Read program in partnership with the Public Libraries of Victoria
  • the support of the establishment of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance.

Well done to everyone involved. The 2001 report Young Australians Reading was a vital and much quoted report. The 2009 Keeping Young Australians Reading is also a must-read for anyone interested in young adult education. Anyone on the ground in school or public libraries know exactly what is happening in their own institution, but it is imperative that we see the bigger picture of the culture of reading Australia-wide. It is also very useful to be able to access up-to-date statistics to add evidence to any budget or grant applications.

Centre for Youth Literature

Keep an eye out for the information sent to Victorian schools from the Centre for Youth Literature. It should be winging its way to you late next week. Program Manager Mike Shuttleworth sends the following information:

The Centre for Youth Literature has produced a poster that will go to all Victorian schools. It will be mailed next Thursday and Friday.

All Victorian schools will receive a copy. It will be mailed to the Head of Library at all secondary school and Curriculum Coordinator at primary schools.

The printed poster A2 size, full colour and come folded. It will be mailed in the same envelope as the Library’s Semester One program. That includes the events, activities and programs of CYL and Education at the State Library of Victoria.


Always interesting to see what’s planned for the year. Thanks Mike.

Boys, blokes, books and bytes

Authored by those creative folks at the Centre for Youth Literature, the State Library of Victoria (in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development), Boys blokes books and bytes  is a fantastic resource.

Boys, blokes, books and bytes

This blog provides information on

  • events
  • meet the author
  • try this book
  • win stuff
  • reviews

and other categories.  A good resource for boys who need (or who don’t need) encouragement to read.

Hey! Teenager of the year

When attending the virtual release of the Inkys longlist, Bright Ideas met an excpetional teenager with a brillant blog. Focussing on books for teenagers, Steph Bowe’s blog Hey! Teenager of the Year is both informative and inspiring. Steph has agreed to let the readers of Bright Ideas know a little bit more about her blog.

About me: I’m a fifteen-year-old aspiring author who lives in Victoria, Australia. At the moment I’m finishing high school by correspondence, because it allows for a lot more freedom with my education and I have more time for reading and writing. 

Earlier this year, I interviewed YA author and the manager of insideadog Lili Wilkinson on my blog. She invited me to be an Inkys judge, along with blogger Adele Walsh, three other teenage judges and last year’s golden Inky winning author James Roy. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of.

 About my blog: I started Hey, Teenager of the Year in April as a way to talk about books for teenagers. My aims for the blog were mainly to talk about the books I love and get to know other YA readers and writers. I emailed authors whose books I love and asked if they’d be interested in being interviewed, read and commented on the blogs of other teen bloggers and gradually I got more and more readers – something that when I had started, I didn’t expect at all. Now, I regularly receive books for review, and through commenting on blogs and writing guest posts more and more people discover my blog. Because of my blog, I was asked to be an Inkys 2009 judge and I was invited by author Susanne Gervay to the NSW Writer’s Centre Kids & YA Festival.

 Hey! Teenager of the year is a fabulous resource as well as an exceptional model for other inspiring bloggers and writers, both young and not so young alike. Thanks to Steph for taking the time to speak to Bright Ideas. You can find out more information and contact Steph here.

Inky awards

From the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development‘s KnowledgeBank comes the following information:

Join us for the launch of the 2009 Inky Awards.

When: Thursday 20 August at 1.15pm

Where: Online in Elluminate. This event is free but you need to register. Sign up at http://www.knowledgebank.global2.vic.edu.au

Who: This event will be great for teachers and students. If you’re a teacher who’d like to attend this event with your class and you’re not sure how, contact us and we can talk you through it.

There’s no other award in Australia that reflects what teenagers want to read, rather than what we tell them to read. The Inkys are international awards for teenage literature, voted for online by the readers of insideadog.com.au. There are three awards: the Golden Inky for an Australian book; the Silver Inky for an international book, and the Creative Reading Prize, won by a young person for a creative response to a book they love, in any format they choose.

Join us for the launch of the 2009 Inkys and the announcement of the longlist. Featuring special guests, including authors and some of our teenage judges.

For more information – http://knowledgebank.global2.vic.edu.au/or email knowledgebank@edumail.vic.gov.au

This event is free but you need to sign up – Sign up at-  http://www.knowledgebank.global2.vic.edu.au

Access is available for all Victorian teachers and their students.