Organisations, events and awards celebrating reading

There are a number of organisations, events and awards dedicated to creating and celebrating readers and children’s literature in New Zealand and overseas. Here are some you might like to follow up on.


Events celebrating reading and children's literature
Writing workshops
Awards for young writers
Book awards


New Zealand Book Council aims to inspire New Zealanders to read more and promotes reading in general. Publishes The School Library especially for school members and runs:

New Zealand Booksellers runs the NZ Book Awards, competitions and a blog with news on book reviews, events and all things books and reading.

New Zealand Literacy Association consists of regional councils, which encourage and support literacy and reading.

Storylines Children's Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand "aims to promote public awareness of the importance of reading and literature for all children.”

The Wellington Children's Book Association supports New Zealand writers and illustrators of children's and young adult books, brings overseas writers to Wellington, hosts literary events in the Wellington area.

Duffy Books in Homes: Alan Duff's Books in Homes is a charitable organisation, which provides free books to children along with resources for teachers and families to help support children become readers.

Christchurch City Libraries provides an overview of reading communities here and overseas.

Tai Tokerau Literacy Association (formerly Reading Association) promotes professional development opportunities for teachers in Literacy.

Events celebrating reading and children's literature

New Zealand

The following events often are accompanied and supported by national and local organisations, with activities held in communities, schools and libraries. See each respective website for more details.

The New Zealand Book Council has a comprehensive listing of all New Zealand literary festivals.

Auckland Writers festival: Every year this festival brings together acclaimed writers and thousands of readers and thinkers.

Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival: An annual festival in New Zealand’s only UNESCO City of Literature.

New Zealand International Arts Festival: Writers week: The New Zealand International Arts Festival is a biennial multi-arts festival held in Wellington. It includes a Writers Week that plays host to renowned New Zealand and overseas authors.

National Poetry Day: “National Poetry Day is a celebration of poetry in New Zealand. It’s a day which gives communities all over New Zealand an opportunity to enjoy the written word out loud.”

WORD Christchurch: Website has news on their biennial writers and readers festival, as well as a variety of other individual events featuring visiting and local authors.

International events

Kids Lit Quiz: The Kids' Lit Quiz is annual literature competition for children aged 10-13. It puts readers onto the stage and lets them compete for prizes.

Reading Matters: A fantastic biennial event at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne that focuses on Young Adult authors, illustrators and publishers.

World Book Day

World Read Aloud Day

ReadWriteThink Calendar: A great resource with a variety of literary events and related activities for students.

All Hallow’s Read: Neil Gaiman’s initiative to gift scary books on or around Halloween.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is “an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.”

Writing workshops

National Novel Writing Month : This event takes place during the month of November and challenges participants to write a novel in a month. Educators can set up virtual classrooms and students can network with other writers around the world and set their own word count goals.

New Zealand Society of Authors  has an extensive list of private and institutional writing courses.

School for Young Writers: The Christchurch based School for Young Writers runs in-school and distance workshops for students interested in creative writing. The school also publishes the bi-annual Write On, a selection of some of the best writing by New Zealanders aged 8-18. Also offers Re-draft - an annual competition for teenage writers.

Awards for young writers

National Schools Poetry Awards: Poetry Awards for Years 12-13 New Zealand students.

New Zealand Poetry Society aims to develop and support poetry and poets in New Zealand and holds an annual international Poetry Competition.

Pikihuia Awards: These awards support Māori writers and include a Secondary School Award category.

Book awards

New Zealand

LIANZA Children's Book Awards: The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa funds these awards to encourage and promote the work of New Zealand children's authors.

New Zealand Book Awards: Each year the New Zealand Book Awards seeks to identify the best adult books written by New Zealanders in four categories: Poetry, Fiction, Illustrated Non-fiction and General Non-fiction.

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (previously New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards for Children and Young Adults) recognises the best books for children and teenagers published annually in New Zealand.

United Kingdom awards

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenway Children’s Book Awards: One of the oldest and most distinguished awards for children’s literature, books are nominated by librarians who are constantly in contact with books and children.

Costa Children’s Award: Formerly the Whitbread Book Awards. Launched in 1971 this coveted award recognises the most pleasurable books written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.

Branford Boase Award: This award is a window opportunity for new writers and their editors to be recognised for their contribution to literature for children aged seven and above.

Blue Peter Book Award: Established in 2000 and gaining in popularity this award celebrates authors and illustrators. The Best Story and Best Book with Facts are the two categories for fiction and non-fiction.

The Guardian Children’s Fiction Award: Conferred upon the author of a fiction book written for children or young adults, this award sponsored by The Guardian newspaper can be won only once in the lifetime of the author.

The Red House Children’s Book Award: Originally called The Children’s Book Award, this award has the distinction of being one of the few awards to be entirely voted for by children. The three categories are Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers and Books for Older Readers.

Roald Dahl Funny Prize: This unique children’s book award was founded by Michael Rosen as a part of work as Children’s Laureate (2007-2009). This award is for those books that make you laugh when reading.This prize is currenlty 'paused' until 2016, when it will re-launch as part of Roald Dahl centenary celebrations.

CLPE Poetry Award: Sponsored by Travelling Books and launched by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, this award brings into prominence children’s poetry books.

Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize: Publishers across the UK are provided with an opportunity to submit the best books that communicate science to young people up to the age of 14. The judging panel comprises young people from schools and youth groups around the country.

US awards

The American Library Association (ALA) Awards: A variety of annual awards including the:

  • Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature
  • John Newbery Medal for children’s literature
  • Coretta Scott King Award: Named after Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr, this annual award is presented by the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. The award is presented to an African American author and illustrator of books that reflect and acclaim African American culture and universal values
  • Randolph Caldecott Medal: Named in honour of the famous English illustrator Randolph J Caldecott, this award is presented to the illustrator of the most distinguished picture book published the previous year
  • Alex Awards: This award given to 10 books written for adults that will appeal to readers between the ages of 12 and 18. Selected from books published the previous year.

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards: Conferred annually by The Horn Book and The Boston Globe, this prestigious award is among the best in the field of children’s and young adult’s literature. The criterion is that the books must be published in the United States. The categories are Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Non-fiction.

National Book Awards: This American literary prize is presented by the National Book Foundation. A panel of 20 judges selects book for four categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature.

Australian awards

Inky Awards: Young Adult literature awards run by the State Library of Victoria. The titles are selected by young adults and voting takes place online on the Inside a Dog website.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia: This non-profit organisation is comprised of members who are enthusiastic about Australian children and young adult literature and its creators.

Canadian awards

Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award: This award for distinguished illustration is presented for books suitable for children up to the age of 12. The illustrator has to be a Canadian citizen or be a permanent resident of the country.

CLA Book of the Year for Children: This annual award is presented to a Canadian author for any kind of creative writing published for children in Canada in the previous year. This would include fiction, poetry and non-fiction in any published format.

CLA Young Adult Book Award: Presented annually at the Canadian Library Association conference, the award is presented to an author of a distinguished English language Canadian book for young adults. The book must be a work of fiction, published in Canada and written by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

International awards

Young Readers’s Choice Award (United States and Canada): This award is distinctly different because the titles are nominated and winners are selected by children, teachers, parents and librarians. The award is presented by the Pacific Northwest Library Association jointly in the US and Canada. The three categories are Junior Division, Intermediate Division and Senior Division.

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award: Administered by the Swedish Art Council in honour of one of Sweden’s most important authors, this award presented annually is the largest international children’s and young adult award of the year. It can be presented to a single author or several authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters from any nation in the world.

Hans Christian Andersen Award: This award comes from the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). It is presented every two years to a living author and illustrator who has made a remarkable and continuous contribution to children’s literature.

image: I love to Read by Carlos Porto on Flickr