250+ Nationwide events celebrated Australian Reading Hour 2023

This year’s Australian Reading Hour events program was a huge success! Here are some of the exciting highlights!

On Thursday, 9 March 2023, 17,000 students joined The Magic of Storytelling live and online in partnership with Australia Reads and the Sydney Opera House.  The event, hosted by author and comedian Peter Helliar and a stellar line-up of best-selling children’s authors, including Sally Rippin, continues entertaining and engaging students who (re)discover the event on demand.  

Authors and illustrators at The Magic of Storytelling     Story illustrations

With 250+ nationwide events on offer, there was something to tempt every reader, including ghost stories for adults, poetry slams, book launches, pizza and pyjama reading parties and panel discussions, and more!

Readers transformed Dymocks iconic Sydney George Street window into a live reading installation.  


Hachette Australia hosted a picnic (with free books!) on the lawn at Barangaroo, and Simon and Schuster Australia chilled out with relaxing reads.


Due to popular demand at Mataranka Library, the library team moved their celebrations to a bigger venue. Did you read about the NT librarian who risked it all to read to a crocodile? We’re not joking


Tasmania Reads celebrated all week and joined Metro Tasmania and Libraries Tasmania to launch Story Snippets, first-chapter digital downloads of fantastic Australian novels. Commuters on all Tasmanian buses could read these first chapters for free by scanning a QR code.

We were honoured. Senator Helen Polley spoke in the chamber about Australian Reading Hour and the importance of reading and literacy. Graham Perrett MP and Dr Anne Webster MP hosted a Parliamentary Friends of Books and Writing event in our national capital on the eve of Australian Reading Hour. Authors Rick Morton and Anne Brinsden shared their insights about growing up as readers in regional Australia.

There’s more! ABC TV News Breakfast host Lisa Millar interviewed Sally Rippin about the importance of reading, and Peter Helliar chatted with Studio 10  about Australian Reading Hour and how to get involved. Plus, there’s a special event coming up, Teen Reading: How to keep your teenager reading, with insights provided by school librarians, teachers and booksellers about what measures work guiding teenagers to choose and read the books that will interest them.

Books and storytelling are how we connect and understand the world around us. In partnership with Vision Australia, Andy Jackson, Eliza Hull, and Matt Formston led a discussion on why representation matters in books for all ages and shared information for libraries and publishers when acquiring and publishing inclusive books.

The reading recommendations and conversations you shared and tagged on social media were insightful and plentiful. Our reading pile is richer and bigger! 

Thanks to our fabulous author ambassadors, publisher and bookstore partners, thousands of book influencers, book lovers, and readers who shared the joy of reading with us online. We are so grateful that you connected and supported us in bringing together people to read, share and enjoy Australian books and writing.

The research into reading for enjoyment tells us that reading reduces stress, improves memory and increases our feelings of well-being. Revel in the many benefits of reading time offers, and continue to read, share and enjoy!

We wish you all the best and thank you for being part of the Australian Reading Hour story. 


Photos by B. Wood from Facebook, P. Helliar from Facebook and Australia Reads.