It’s that time again! 20 September 2018 is Australian Reading Hour, a day when every Australian is encouraged to make a date with a book and find an hour to read. The campaign began in 2012 with the National Year of Reading, which then morphed into the love2read brand in 2013. In 2017, this campaign was broadened into the Australian Reading Hour. These campaigns have one primary objective: to promote books and reading. This year, the core message is is take time to escape, relax, grow and learn.
Australian Reading Hour 2018 has a wide range of supporters, partners, and sponsors: the Australian Government, Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Better Reading, State Libraries across the country, Australian Booksellers Association, Australian Literary Agents Association, Australian Publishers Association, and the Australian Society of Authors. Basically, every organisation involved in the production and distribution of books and promotion of reading supports this.
This year, there are some pretty great events to mark the day. The Parliamentary Launch is on 18 September with ambassadors Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman and Judy Nunn presenting the benefits of reading to the Members of Parliament. There will be some high profile author events at libraries, bookshops, and schools across the country, as well as the Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Wheeler Centre.
Other cool things: Queensland Transport’s advertising space will be promoting Australian Reading Hour and 1000 free books will be placed on Queensland trains, buses, ferries and trams. Books on the Rail, an Australian community initiative that encourages people to put down their phones and pick up a book, will be hosting a romantic book club on a Melbourne train.
There are, of course, smaller events too. Booksellers, librarians, and teachers all over Australia have been encouraged to organise reading events, coordinate author events, and promote Australian authors and books. Individuals and organisations can register their support and participation.
I imagine that if you are reading this website, I don’t need to convince you of the benefits and wonders of reading, but this event might serve as a nice reminder to carve out time to read in our hectic lives. If you’re in Australia, I encourage you to find a local event and join in the fun (find events near you on their website). If you’re not in Australia, or you can’t get to a local event, you might want to consciously set aside an hour to read on 20 September and formally or informally participate in Australian Reading Hour. I leave you with this quote from Morris Gleitzman, beloved children’s author, Children’s Laureate, and 2018 Australian Reading Hour Ambassador:
“Most vital human functions are accompanied by pleasure, and reading is no exception. I’m proud and delighted to be an Australian Reading Hour Ambassador for 2018, and to use the opportunity to gently remind the adult community that young people deserve that pleasure every day. They also need it, because no other activity will better equip young people to embrace their futures in a sometimes dark and uncertain world with optimism, resolve and creativity. Our stories have saved us in the past, and in the minds of young readers they can again.”