The Indigenous Literacy Foundation works as an initiative of the Australian Book Industry with the support of:
Patron and Ambassadors
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is proud to have the support of our Patron and ambassadors.
PATRON: The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO
Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce AD, CVO was the 25th Governor-General of Australia, September 2008 - March 2014. She was the first woman to take up the office, and was and is noted as a pioneer in contemporary Australian society, with more than forty years of experience in reform, community building and leadership. She was previously the Governor of Queensland from 2003 -2008.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland, Quentin Bryce has had a rich and distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advice, senior public officer and university college principal.
Ms Bryce’s former roles – some, among firsts for women in this country – include:
• Lecturer and Tutor in Law, The University of Queensland, 1968-1983
Quentin Bryce’s contribution to advancing human rights and equality, the rights of women and children, and the welfare of the family was recognised in her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003. Also in 2003, she was invested as a Dame of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. On 25 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Ms Bryce had become a Dame in the Order of Australia.
Richard Miller Flanagan: Ambassador
Considered to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation, Richard Flanagan is an award winning novelist whose books have been published in 26 countries. Richard wrote and directed The Sound of One Hand Clapping and his journalism appears in various publications including the New Yorker, Le Monde, Suddeutsche Zeitung and La Repubblica. His most recent novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North won the 2014 Man Booker Prize, the 2014 Indie Book of the Year Award and co-won the Prime Minister's Literary Fiction Award.
Richard donated his prizewinnings from the PM's Literary Fiction Award to our Foundation, saying:
"My mortgage will go on as mortgages do, but if one of those books helps a few children to advance beyond the most basic literacy to one that is liberating, then I will consider the money better spent.
And if just one of those children in turn becomes a writer, if just one brings to Australia and to the world an idea of the universe that arises out of that glorious lineage of sixty thousand years of Australian civilisation, then I will think this prize has rewarded not just me, but us all. And for that we will all owe this prize an immense debt of gratitude."
Ursula Yovich: ambassador
Acknowledged as one of Australia’s foremost indigenous performance artists, Ursula Yovich is a Helpmann award-winning actor and singer, as well as an indigenous advocate. A selection of Ursula’s recent screen work for television includes The Gods of Wheat Street, both series of the ground-breaking Redfern Now, Devil’s Dust and Rake. She has also appeared in the feature films Australia and Jindabyne. An accomplished stage actor, Ursula is much in demand by leading mainstage and independent theatre companies in Australia. Standout performances include Mother Courage (QTC), The Secret River, Bloodland (STC), Capricornia, The Sapphires (Belvoir) Jerry Springer: The Opera (SOH), The Magic Hour (Deckchair Theatre). Her distinctive singing voice has enchanted audiences worldwide, including New York’s Carnegie and London’s Queen Elizabeth Halls and our own Sydney Opera House.
Deborah Cheetham, AO: ambassador
"There are many ways of knowing and learning. I am keen to help encourage Ingenous children to find their voice through the power of literacy whilst strengthening an understanding about Indigenous ways of knowledge transfer."
Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta woman, Soprano, composer and educator has performaned internationally in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and throughout Australia.
With a Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. Deborah created Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer and in 2010, she brought together Australia’s first classically trained Indigenous ensemble to present the world premiere of Pecan Summer.
In the same year she was a finalist for Australian of the Year in Victoria.
The success of Pecan Summer has led to the creation of Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the development of Indigenous opera singers.
After serving as Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development from 2011 to 2014, Deborah was appointed as Associate Dean of Indigenous Development at the Faculty of the VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne.
In 2014 Ms Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for "distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation Inin performance".
In March 2015 Ms Cheetham was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
Justine Clarke: Ambassador
Justine Clarke began her long and varied career during childhood and has become one of Australia’s most well-known faces, as a highly-regarded, award-winning actress and of course as a versatile children’s entertainer. A long-standing presenter on ABC TV’s Play School and a veteran of numerous live performances, Justine has three top-selling, ARIA nominated CDs and in 2013 Justine won the ARIA Award for Best Children’s Album for her fourth CD, A Little Day Out.
Amongst several successful ventures in TV, film and live projects, Justine entered into book publishing with her best-selling Children’s picture book The Gobbledygook Is Eating A Book and plans to release a CD book (through Scholastic) in October entitled The Ugly Duckling.
William Barton: Ambassador
William Barton, a descendant of the Kalkadunga tribe of Far North-Western Queensland, is an internationally renowned performer and composer, who has been playing didgeridoo for over 20 years. He first learned the instrument in Mount Isa, far north western Queensland and has worked with traditional dance groups and fusion/rock jazz bands, orchestras, string quartets and mixed ensembles. William has toured internationally since he was 15 years old and in 2012 won an ARIA award for best classical album Kalkadungu.
"My passion is to create a journey for people through music and present to them a diversity in musical styles with the didgeridoo and engage with audiences about the uniqueness of Australia. It has been a specific passion of mine to work closely with classical music and composers to develop and sustain music for the didgeridoo in this environment".
Debra Dank: Cultural Ambassador
Student Academic Course Mentor at Charles Darwin University. Debra's focus has always been on literacy and Indigenous education; working in school based roles providing academic support to Indigenous students.
Over her twenty-one year career she has produced such classics as the Clive Eats Alligators series, Magic Beach, Imagine and My Farm, and recently she has also started writing novels, includingThe Quicksand Pony and the Bonnie and Sam series with Roland Harvey. Her picture book, Are We There Yet?, won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award in 2005 (and was chosen as the focus book for the National Year of Reading 2012), and Running with the Horses was an Honour Book in the 2010 CBCA Book of the Year Awards and 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Her most recent titles include, Sophie Scott Goes South, Noni the Pony and Once Small Island (created in collaboration with Coral Tulloch). One Small Island has recently won both the Wilderness Society's 2012 Environment Award for Children's Literature and the 2012 CBCA's (Children's Book Council of Australia's) Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award.
Her picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special. Alison is involved in many community art projects and spends part of every year travelling to remote Indigenous communities, using her books to help children and adults write and draw about their own lives.
In 2012 and 2013 Alison, along with Boori Pryor, was appointed Australia's first Children's Laureate, a position they will share for two years. She is also an ambassador for the 2012 National Year of Reading.