Libby Gleeson first Writer-in-Residence for faculty

22 July 2011

Award-winning author and educator Libby Gleeson AM has been announced as the inaugural Writer-in-Residence for the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney.

The program is a first for the faculty and acknowledges its close work and continuing association with literature for children and young people and the issue of literacy. The idea for the program grew out of a conversation between Gleeson and the faculty's Professor of Teacher Education in the Arts, Robyn Ewing. They discussed a shared vision of the importance of the arts in teaching and the often neglected area of literature, particularly for young people, as an effective tool in the classroom.

During second semester, starting 25 July 2011, Gleeson will engage with the local and university communities offering a workshop, a series of consultations for emerging writers, and a public event to talk about her body of work. She will also launch her forthcoming title, Look! A Book! at the University.

During the residency Gleeson says she "will be finalising the editing of a novel and preparing it for publication.

"It's a novel for young people and concerns an extreme weather event that wreaks havoc on the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. If that book is completed before the residency finishes, I will begin work on a new idea for a picture book which is in its very early stages."

The series of consultations for emerging writers will offer a unique mentoring opportunity for the University community and the work undertaken will be showcased on the faculty's website. A separate workshop will also be held to explore the ways in which ideas are generated for writing fiction.

In a public event on 20 September, Gleeson will be discussing her body of work and the process of writing and publishing with Professor Geoff Williams, an expert on children's literature and literacy from the University of Sydney.

Professor Rob Tierney, Dean of the faculty says of Gleeson's appointment as writer-in-residence:

"It's great to have someone of Gleeson's writing calibre undertaking this innovative role in our faculty. Her work here to date is highly prized and this residency gives Libby an opportunity to focus on a piece of her own creative work as well as acknowledging the faculty combining academic pursuit with practical teacher training. We're delighted to be able to offer this role to Libby and look forward to the unique outcomes of this residency.

"It is hoped that this will become an annual program for the faculty."

Gleeson says of the residency:

"While I'm already an adjunct, it will be a treat to spend more time immersed in the faculty and undertaking a program of events and consultations. I'm particularly looking forward to 'mentoring' emerging writers at such an important stage of writing practice. I applaud the Faculty of Education and Social Work for this first."

Media enquiries: Verity Leatherdale, 9351 4312, 0419 278 715,