Libby Gleeson (BA ’73 DipEd ’74), an adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, was recognised in the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards with a Special Award, worth $20,000, for her body of work, work in education, advocacy, and for the mentoring of young writers.
She has published more than 30 books for children and young adults, as well as books about writing. She is widely published overseas.
Gleeson has been shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia awards many times and won the award for fiction for younger readers in 1997 with Hannah and the Tomorrow Room and the picture book award in 2002 for An Ordinary Day. In 2007, Amy and Louis, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, won the Early Childhood Book of The Year. The Great Bear won the Bologna Ragazzi in 2000, the first for an Australian title.
In 2007 Gleeson was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to literature and literacy education.
... It represents everything I love because not only does it get the kids excited about writers and reading their work, it encourages them to express themselves through writing.
Gleeson was a teacher in NSW, London and Italy before becoming a full-time writer. She has maintained her interest in education and the Special Award honours her contribution to the discipline. In her adjunct role Gleeson conducts guest lectures and seminars for pre-service (qualifying) teachers as well as professional learning workshops in schools for qualified teachers. She is also a popular creative writing lecturer at the Centre for Continuing Education.
A passionate supporter of the public education system, Gleeson is currently a director of the Foundation for Public Education.
Accepting her award, Gleeson spoke about her commitment to exciting young people about writing and her involvement with WestWords, a youth literature centre in Western Sydney.
"WestWords brings writers and illustrators to Western Sydney. It represents everything I love because not only does it get the kids excited about writers and reading their work, it encourages them to express themselves through writing."
In 2011 she will publish I am Thomas, illustrated by Armin Greder and Look! A Book! illustrated by Freya Blackwood; and in 2012, RED, a novel for adolescents.