On the weekend, we were thrilled to partner with the Melbourne Writers Festival to announce the winners of the 2016 Environment Award for Children’s Literature.
The winner of the 2015 Award in the fiction category, Wendy Orr—also one of the judges this year—was our keynote speaker.
She told the audience that “a writer’s job is to create a world—and the environment is what makes the world. We need to understand our real environment to create fictitious ones.”
This year’s winners included the picture books Seagull by Danny Snell and Once I Heard A Little Wombat by Renee Treml; non-fiction book Atmospheric by Carole Wilkinson; and fiction book The River and the Book by Alison Croggon.
While not all the winners could attend the ceremony in person, each of them expressed their delight at having received an Environment Award for Children’s Literature.
“I am honoured to be a co-recipient of the Environmental Award for Children’s Literature,” said Renée Treml.
She continued, “My aims as a writer and illustrator (and former environmental scientist) are to encourage awareness of nature and to foster a lifelong appreciation for wildlife and conservation. Picture books are a powerful way to encourage curiosity and knowledge in our children, and I hope my stories and illustrations will inspire a love for the environment in even the littlest of children.”
Danny Snell, joint-winner of the the 2016 Picture Fiction category, said: “It's always a thrill to be recognised for the work that you do, and so I was very excited to hear that Seagull, my first book as both writer and illustrator, was shortlisted for the 2016 Environment Award for Children's Literature. Environmental issues can often seem overwhelming. But an important part of tackling these issues is education—particularly of children. And awards such as this play an important part in creating an awareness and appreciation of nature in children by promoting and celebrating stories about our environment.”
“I am thrilled to win The Wilderness Society’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature (non-fiction); not only for myself, but for our climate,” said Carole Wilkinson, author of Atmospheric.
“I hope the award will bring Atmospheric to the attention of lots of young people, in particular those who are ready to sweep aside the complacency of previous generations and do what has to be done to stop climate change.”
Winner in the fiction category, Alison Croggon, shared similar sentiments: “I am thrilled and honoured that The Wilderness Society has acknowledged The River and the Book with this prize. This particular book is close to my heart, written out of my love for the natural world and my concern about the destruction we are wreaking on both the non-human world and ourselves. But it's an optimistic book too, written with the hope of healing. Organisations like The Wilderness Society represent that hope in the real world, and it makes this prize very special for me."