Libby Gleeson AM

Libby Gleeson

BA, DipEd (1974)
Adjunct Honorary Professor
Faculty of Education and Social Work

Libby Gleeson AM is a highly acclaimed writer for children and young people.

Gleeson graduated from the University of Sydney in 1974 with an honours degree in History and a Diploma of Education. She has taught in secondary schools, universities and tertiary colleges in Australia, Italy and London.

In 1984 her first book: Eleanor, Elizabeth, won the Angus and Robertson New Writers for the Young Fellowship and was Highly Commended in the Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards. Since then, Gleeson has written over thirty more titles for children and young people. She has been shortlisted or has won every major literary award available to this kind of writing in the country and she is widely published overseas. Her junior novel: Hannah Plus One won the Book of the Year in 1997, An Ordinary Day, illustrated by Armin Greder, won Picture Book of the Year in 2002 and Amy and Louis, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, won the Early Childhood Book of the Year in 2007. In 2000, The Great Bear, illustrated by Armin Greder, won the Bologna Ragazzi, the most prestigious award in the world for a children’s picture book. This is the only time this award has been won by an Australian title. In 1997 Libby received the Lady Cutler Award for services to children’s literature. From 1999 to 2001 she was chair of the Australian Society of Authors. She has been the Chair of the NSW Government, Ministry for the Arts, Literature and History Committee. In 2004 Libby was the May Gibbs Fellow, University of Canberra and a Member, NSW Department of Education panel to make awards for Excellence in Teaching. She is currently Chair of the Advisory Board for the establishment of a Children’s and Youth Literature Centre in Western Sydney. In 2005 Libby received the NSW Minister for Education Medal for Meritorious Service to Public Education. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. In 2007, Gleeson was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to literature and literacy learning.

Gleeson’s most recent novel, Mahtab’s Story, is the tale of a young girl and her family escaping the Taliban in Afghanistan and arriving as ‘boat people’ in Australia. It was published by Allen & Unwin in May, 2008. Her most recent picture book, Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House, illustrated by Freya Blackwood was published by Little Hare in 2009 and in 2010 was an Honour Book in the Early Childhood Awards for the Children’s Book Council of Australia. In 2011 two picture books will be published: I am Thomas illustrated by Armin Greder, a work for adolescents; and Look, A Book, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, a picture book for young children.

Gleeson is married to a scientist Dr Euan Tovey and they have three daughters.

A complete list of titles is available on Gleeson’s website.

Graduation speech

Libby Gleeson AM gave a speech for education and social work alumni at the graduation ceremony in The Great Hall on 15 April 2011.

Read her speech here.