Announcing the Australia Reads Ambassadors

Reaching more than 11 million Australians in 2019, The Australian Reading Hour has become the most successful campaign to unite the nation to pick up a book and discover the joys of reading. This year, this major event has expanded to encompass 17 days of amazing bookie activities under the rebrand, Australia Reads, a campaign that everyone can get behind. The headline event will continue to be the very successful Australian Reading Hour on Thursday 17 September, when we ask all Australians to stop what they are doing and pick up a book. 
Australia Reads reflects the diverse range of activities to promote books, authors, reading and writing throughout September 2020. For the Australia Reads rebrand we wanted to move towards something more flexible to appeal to kids and grown-ups alike. We're delighted to announce that Illustrator Beck Feiner is our inaugural Illustrator Ambassador. Her first act was to breathe life into the Australia Reads rebrand with her trademark colour and energy. We are also delighted to announce our adult Ambassador Dervla McTiernan and children's Book Ambassadors Anna Fienberg AM, Jacqueline Harvey, Peter Helliar & Will Kostakis who will all be sharing their love of reading and encouraging Australians to join in the fun and pick up a book, attend an event, read on their own or with a loved one. With thousands of Australians going into quarantine  or self-isolation, Australia Reads could not be more relevant.
Research shows that reading a gripping novel causes positive biological changes in the brain that can last for days*. When tested for empathy,  readers of narrative fiction achieved significantly  higher than other groups*. We are calling on the Australian book industry to promote the benefits of immersive reading for pleasure in these extraordinary times - to escape, develop empathy, to gain knowledge, and to keep the kids busy if the schools are closed. Join the conversation now with #AustraliaReadsAtHome Louise Sherwin-Stark, Chair of the Australia Reads Committee, says: 'we’d like to thank libraries, booksellers, publishers and schools, for embracing the Australian Reading Hour in 2019, you are all key to our success. We are now pleased to invite you to register your interest to take part again and make 2020 our biggest year yet. Our aim is to get all Australians reading. And let's get #AustraliaReadsAtHome trending right now, we need to promote the benefits of reading to those stuck at home and great stories are the best way to escape from isolation'.
Register now to get involved in Australia Reads 2020. To make a pledge to read please visit the website. Join the conversation with #AustraliaReads and #AustraliaReadsAtHome          
What do our Ambassadors say about Australia Reads? 
Beck Feiner, being surrounded by wonderful picture books from a young age, inspired me to dream of one day becoming an illustrator and author. However, the less obvious reason is that reading has provided me with a way to deal with stress and turmoil in my life. There is nothing more comforting than knowing you have a great book next to your bed. That comfort and escapism has been incredibly powerful for me. 
Anna Fienberg AM, stories might be our first experience of magic – we witness transformation and we experience it. And in this present and future world of ours, imagination, creativity and empathy are qualities that we humans will be calling upon more than ever. 
Jacqueline Harvey, I am thrilled to be part of the 2020 Australia Reads program because reading has the power to change lives. I’ve seen it during my career as a teacher and now as an author. There is something truly special when a child falls in love with books. 
Peter Helliar, I am over the moon to be a Book Ambassador for Australia Reads! I’m passionate about getting books into the hands of kids, whether they’re toddlers, middle-graders or teens, and I truly believe reading plays a huge part in our mental well-being and happiness. I can’t wait to do my part. 
Will Kostakis, as a teenager, if Mum ever told her immigrant father that she was bored, he would insist she read the encyclopedia he had bought from a door-to-door salesman. His reading ability was limited, and he wanted more for his children than to face the barriers he did. As a parent, Mum stressed the importance of reading to her children. The transformative (and transportive) power of reading is a gift we pass on. I am thrilled to be an Australia Reads ambassador and do my part to inspire the next generation to cherish the written word as much as I do. 
Dervla McTiernan, it’s wonderful for readers and writers to have a special day to celebrate what we love. I think too about the people who have wandered away from books over the years, and just need a reminder of what they’ve been missing and a way back in. Australia Reads can be that reminder. 
  Media:  Jackie Evans E: | M: 0407 776 222 
  Events:  Nicole Salisbury E: |Tel: 02 9976 3044 
 * Facts 
S. Berns, Kristina Blaine, Michael J. Prietula, and Brandon E. Pye. (2013) Brain Connectivity Journal  
Bal PM, et al. PLoS One (2013) Department of Management & Organization, VU University Amsterdam     
The project has been assisted by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. 
Wednesday 18 March 2020 9:45am