Australia Reads 2023 Wrap-Up

Australia Reads is committed to building a stronger reading culture in Australia. Through our range of research, advocacy, and programming work, we seek to understand, promote, and celebrate the benefits of books and reading to Australian society.

2023 was a busy year for the Australia Reads team and our partners. As the year draws to a close, we look back at our activity, and thank everyone who has contributed to and participated in our mission to build Australia as a reading nation.

Anna Burkey, Jess Scully, Robbie Egan, Kate Larsen and Dr Sarah Kneebone in discussion at Australia Reads’ VOLUME Symposium

VOLUME: National Reading Symposium

How can we work together to support reading in Australia? And what can we learn from other markets and industries? Our inaugural VOLUME symposium brought together experts from across the literary, advocacy, and social change sectors to discuss effective approaches to building a stronger reading culture in Australia. This free, online event attracted over 1,000 live views from participants across Australia and abroad. Catch-up on key insights from the program by watching the symposium session recordings, or read Kate Larsen’s wrap-up of the day.

Australia Reads Research Review

In order to drive systemic change around reading, we need to understand the underlying factors that influence the reading behaviours and habits of Australians. The Australia Reads Research Review provides an audit of recent reading research undertaken in Australia and overseas. The project examined over 2913 pages from 134 research articles and reports, conducted by 314 researchers in 22 countries across the world. In August, we released the Research Review Snapshot Report, which contains some key stats broken down into themes and demographics, and we look forward to releasing further findings in the new year.

Authors celebrate 2023 Australian Reading Hour at Dymocks

2023 Australian Reading Hour

The 2023 Australian Reading Hour saw over 300 reading events held nationally across all states and territories, attracting over 30,000 attendees. The day attracted mainstream media coverage, as well as promotion on billboards and transport networks. Following consultation and assessment of the program, we also announced that 2023 was to be our last year of Australian Reading Hour – you can read the full statement here.

Live Literature Research Project

Australia has a vibrant live literature culture – with author and illustrator events being held in schools, libraries, and bookstores around the country. However, to date, very little research exists around how these events are organised, what information organisers use to choose and connect with authors, what factors shape programming decisions, and what barriers exist in this process. Working with researchers from the University of Melbourne, we surveyed a range of event organisers from bookstores, libraries and schools, to better understand these questions, and make recommendations for the sector. Our researchers are in the final stages of analysing the data, and full findings for the Live Literature Research Project will be released in early 2024.

The Australia Reads stand at the Parliamentary Friends of Children’s Storytelling event in Canberra

Parliament House events and advocacy work

Australia Reads is committed to driving investment in books and reading at a national level. In June, Australia Reads representatives spent two days in Canberra talking to parliamentarians about the importance and current state of reading in Australia. As part of this visit, the inaugural event for the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Children’s Storytelling saw the book industry champion children’s books and authors to over 300 attendees, alongside an exciting live performance from The Wiggles. In March, we also launched the Australian Reading Hour with a special Canberra event featuring Rick Morton and Anne Brisden, who joined Graham Perrett MP, Anne Webster MP, and a host of MPs for a Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers event.