From 2004 to 2023

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation was founded by Suzy Wilson, owner of Riverbend Books in Brisbane. In 2004, Suzy launched the Riverbend Readers’ Challenge, with the aim of raising funds to improve literacy outcomes in remote Australia. 

The Riverbend Readers’ Challenge partnered with the Fred Hollows Foundation to become the Indigenous Literacy Project in 2007. In 2011, it became the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Since 2011, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has worked with over 400 remote Communities, gifted 752,866 books, supplied 100 playgroups with early literacy Book Buzz resources, and published 109 books reflecting 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. 

“Our Communities and families are strong. They are the backbone of our culture and our first educators. My aim is for remote Communities to drive our process; to anchor the ILF's literacy programs into the family and Community structures. It is a powerful thing that can change the world for us.”

Ben Bowen, Chief Executive Officer

The ILF is supported by the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the Children’s Book Council of Australia. 

We receive no Government funding and although this allows us to work dynamically, it does mean we rely solely on the generosity of supporters and sponsors.

Through ILF’s three core programs, our dedicated Ambassadors, volunteers and staff work together to gift thousands of new culturally relevant books annually, support Communities to create books, many in First Languages, and organise major advocacy and fundraising events, including Indigenous Literacy Day.


ILF would like to acknowledge the following people who have been an integral part of the ILF journey since 2011.

Former Executive Director

Karen Williams OAM

Former Programs Directors

Deb Bank, Tina Raye


Former Patron
Therese Rein

Former Ambassadors

Geraldine Brooks, Adam James, Sally Morgan, Katie Noonan, Leonie Norrington, May O’Brien, Michael O’LoReibl, Sam Watson, Tara June Winch.

Former Board Members

Michael Aird, Sharon Galleguillos, David Gaunt, Patricia Genat, James Kellow, Paul McDonald, Glen Miller, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr‑Stubbs, Mark Rubbo, Anna Low and Laura Harris.

Former Co‑Chairs Juliet Rogers, Dr Marnie O’Bryan and Professor Tony Dreise. 

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