mega national launch for National Year of Reading 2012

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Today, all around the country, at libraries and halls and schools and centres, a mass celebration took place. It was the launch of the National Year of Reading 2012 - and right there in Canberra, we were treated to a right royal bonanza in the Theatre at the National Library.

My lovely friend Jennie McClelland and I took a quick peek at the Handwritten exhibition, which is on show until 18 March. If you want to witness, first hand, scribblings from Napolean to Descartes, Darwin to Hesse, you should probably get there, post-haste. It truly is spectacular.

It was then into the Theatre where we met up with author Jack Heath and his lovely new wife Venetia, and were treated to a truly spectacular line up, celebrating the launch of this most valuable of initiatives.

First we heard from Anne-Marie Schwirtlic, Director-General of the NLA, then glorious book-loving host Jennifer Byrne (above), journalist, publisher and First Tuesday Book Club patron, introduced us to the likes of the hilarious and gorgeous William McInnes (author, actor and NYR12 Patron), ministers Simon Crean and Peter Garrett (OMG, Midnight Oil concert flashbacks) and - drum roll, please - PM Julia Gillard herself.

After Julia's inspiring speech, we heard from absolutely scrumptious William McInnes, who is as funny, intelligent and charming as he should be.

Next it was the fabulous Boori Monty Pryor - children's author, NYR12 ambassador and Children's Laureate - who brought in a classroom of school kids. Well, actually the children were actually delayed because the PM just left, and they ensnared her outside the theatre for a time. As a result, Monty and William regaled us with, well - just being funny.

Finally, the kids did arrive, and Monty knocked their socks off with a resounding tale about didgeridoo spit - and had everyone in serious stitches.

The event was also peppered with some wonderful short films and snippets, including a piece from co-Children's Laureate Alison Lester. We also heard about the NYR12's aims, upcoming events and initiatives, and the glorious news that Disney have paired with NYR12's Reading Hour (25 August).

We also heard from Education Minister Peter Garrett, who asked the kids to make the NYR12's official signing - LOVE 2 READ - with their hands.

Monty hams it up with the kids

with William McInnes, all verklempt at that cuddle

ACT NYR12 ambassadors, including Jack Heath and Senator Kate Lundy (either side of me) and local NYR12 organisers Rachel Davis and Vanessa Little (centre front)

On the way out of the NLA, I stopped to usher William McInnes into the NLA book shop to sign some of his books, when I spied Australian Story!

And of course, had to take a photo of Australian Story with William in the background . . . and Jennie, too, with a mega glamour pose.

What a glorious event - I left feeling all sunshiny and so happy. What a thrill to meet Monty, Chris, William and many other gorgeous people, including photographer Wayne Quilliam, who, quite unbelievably has a photograph in Australian Story! Also a thrill to meet Brenda, Donna and other NYR12 organisers.

This is a very exciting year ahead - make sure you check out the NYR12 website for more on how you can get involved!


Posie Patchwork said...

Man it was so fun, i can feel your excitement. William was lucky to escape the giggling ladies after a moment of his time. What a kind & generous man.
How lovely of the PM to choose to sit right in front of us!! Thanks for asking me to be your +1, thoroughly enjoyed it all & took the brochures & goodie bag contents straight to my school principal who was might jealous i went & got my clutches on all the information first. She says a bit thank you too!! Love Posie

Felicity said...

I can imagine that both of you had a big spring in your steps to match your sparkling smiles after attending this fabulous event.

It's wonderful to be introduced to you in this way Tania (I'm visiting via Jennie's) and look forward to all things NYR12.

Happy day & 'Vive le livre!'

Emma said...

What a fantastic start to what is guaranteed to be an inspiring year ahead. You've really captured the excitement and fun! Great photos too!!!

Tania McCartney said...

To the anonymous (of course) person who left an incredulously nasty comment about this story, I think you're a little confused. This is not the NYR12 site or a national newspaper site - this is a personal blog, with personal content, frequented by lovely, self-assured and respectful readers. Just head to or the major newspaper sites for the information you require. Or If you don't like this blog, you don't have to be here.

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