The ILF was founded by Suzy Wilson, a former teacher and education consultant who owns Riverbend Books. We are a not-for-profit charity which respects the unique place of Australia's first people and draws on the expertise of the Australian book industry

Our Patron

Quentin Alice Louise Bryce AD, CVO

Quentin Bryce, the first female Governor-General of Australia (2008 - 2014), has been a pioneering reformer, community builder and leader for more than 40 years. A former Governor of Queensland (2003 - 2008) she has had a distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advisor, senior public officer and university college principal.

Her former roles – some, among firsts for women in this country – include:

Lecturer and Tutor in Law, The University of Queensland, Convenor of the National Women’s Advisory Council, Inaugural Director of Queensland Women’s Information Service, Director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in  Queensland, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Founding Chair and CEO of the National Childcare Accreditation Council, Principal and CEO of The Women's College, University of Sydney.

Her contribution to advancing human rights and equality, the rights of women and children, and the welfare of the family has been recognised in her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia, a Companion of the Order of Australia, and a Dame in the Order of Australia.

Our Founder

Suzy Wilson

Suzy Wilson is Founder of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the owner of Riverbend Books in Bulimba, Brisbane.

Before embarking on her career in the Australian Book Industry Suzy was a teacher, an education consultant with Education Queensland and part-time lecturer at Queensland University of Technology.

In 2010, she was awarded the Dromkeen Award for her efforts in 'being a catalyst in changing children's lives through literature’. 

She was honoured as the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Johnno Award by Queensland Writers Centre.

Our Lifetime Ambassadors

Andy Griffiths

Andy is one of Australia’s post popular children’s authors with New York Times bestsellers, adapted for the stage and television and having won more than 50 Australian children’s choice awards. "Imagine a world in which everybody has clean air, fresh water, healthy food, someone to love and someone who loves them, a roof over their head, and, most important of all, a good book to read and the ability to read it ... sure, you might say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one..."

Kate Grenville

Kate’s novels include The Secret River, The Lieutenant and Sarah Thornhill. "Literacy opens so many doors that otherwise stay closed: doors into education and jobs, but also into the minds and imaginations and hearts of other humans all over the planet. Verbal literacy isn't the only door, by any means - but having access to it is a choice that no one should miss out on.”

Dr Anita Heiss

Anita, of the Wiradjuri nation, is an author, poet, satirist and social commentator. Her 17 books include Sydney 1937 and Paris Dreaming, which won the Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Literature. “Literacy is essential to Aboriginal people's self-determination. If we cannot read we cannot make the decisions that inevitably impact on our lives."

Alison Lester

Alison’s picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves, such as the Clive Eats Alligators series and the award-winning One Small Island. 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.

David Malouf

David is an award-winning poet and novelist whose books include Johnno, Remembering Babylon, and Every Move You Make. "Reading brings the world to us. But reading can also open up a new world of people and events we have never imagined but which we can enter and become part of. This kind of reading takes us out of ourselves ...into other skins. Reading is a form of magic."

Josh Pyke

Josh, an ARIA award-winning singer, launched his 'Buskin for Change' in 2009 to raise support for the ILF. "The work ILF do in raising literacy levels in Indigenous communities is about introducing choice to people. Kids and adults who can read can choose to pursue further education, better job opportunities … or simply enjoy the brilliant escape that reading can offer."

Our Ambassadors

Richard Flanagan

Richard is one of Australia's finest novelists, winning the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He donated one of his prizes to our Foundation saying: "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.”

Ursula Yovich

Ursula is a Helpmann award-winning actor and singer, and an Indigenous advocate. She has appeared in The Gods of Wheat Street, Redfern Now, Devil’s Dust and Rake on TV and her films include Australia and Jindabyne. She has sung at many of the world’s major venues, including Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House.

Deborah Cheetham, AO

Deborah, an international soprano and Yorta Yorta woman, created Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer, which led to the forming of the Short Black Opera Company. "I am keen to help encourage Indigenous children to find their voice through the power of literacy whilst strengthening an understanding about Indigenous ways of knowledge transfer."

Justine Clarke

Justine is an award-winning actress and long-standing presenter on ABC TV’s Play School. She has won an ARIA Award for Best Children’s Album with her fourth CD, A Little Day Out, and she’s also published a best-selling children’s picture book, The Gobbledygook Is Eating A Book, and released a CD-book called The Ugly Duckling.

Jessica Mauboy

Jessica is one of Australia’s most popular singers, songwriters and actresses. Jessica has spent time in many remote communities and understands the challenges and barriers to literacy that exist in these areas. “Kids in these communities are smart and often speak 2-3 languages, but English is often not their first language and they can therefore struggle to cope at school.” 

Debra Dank, cultural ambassador

Debra, a Gudanji woman, has been an integral part of ILF from the outset, first when we were the Indigenous Literacy Project in partnership with the Fred Hollows Foundation and then as Program Manager from 2011 to 2012. She is now a Lecturer in Indigenous Studies at Charles Darwin University.

Jared Thomas

Jared is a Nukunu person and author, playwright and academic, whose books include Sweet Guy and Calypso Summer, for which he was awarded the Kuril Dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship. Jared facilitated a 2016 ILF Create Initiative workshop with Tiwi College and said the forthcoming book created by the students “provided readers with the joy, connection and youth of the Tiwi people, country and culture”.

Our Board

Patricia Genat, Chair

Patricia, Chair of Australian Library and Information Association (ceasing May 2017), a former President of the Australian Booksellers Association, Managing Director of ALS Library Services and chair of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation Board, has more than 15 years of management experience in the book industry - including publishing, distribution, online services, and printing - and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Board.

Fraser Cargill

Fraser began his career teaching in the UK and Australia before taking up educational management roles in Indonesia and Australia. For the past 10 years, he has been a senior executive for Pearson, most recently as Vice President Government Relations and Efficacy. He led Pearson's efficacy program in Asia and was a member of Pearson's Asia Pacific Board from 2010 to 2013. He is also a Senior Consultant with EduWorld. He knows the positive impact education has on individuals, families and communities and access that comes through literacy. That should be every child's right, not a privilege.

Sharon Galleguillos

Sharon, who was one of only two Indigenous graduates at Kedron Park Teachers' College in Brisbane, has a wealth of experience in Indigenous education as a practitioner and policy developer. She served on the Advisory Committee of the Books in Homes Australia program, was a Board member of the Primary English Teaching Association, a director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, and was a President of Wunanbiri Pre-School. She is Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council (NSW) Inc and a Lecturer and Course Convener of Indigenous Australian Education at the University of Sydney.

James Kellow

James began his career at Reed International Books in the UK and has since held a number of senior sales and marketing positions with Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Forth Estate. He moved to Australia with his young family in 2008 and joined Harper Collins as Commercial Director before becoming CEO here in 2012. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Australian Publishers Association and convenor of the Trade Publishers Committee.

Anna Low

Anna, a bookseller for more than 20 years, bought Potts Point Bookshop in Sydney in 2007, winning the 2016 Bookseller of the Year Award. She is passionate about books and reading and has been on various industry committees, including the Australian Publishing Association Design Awards and the Australian Booksellers Association Kids Reading Guide. She’s also been a judge on the Miles Franklin Award from 2012 to 2014.

Glen Miller

Glen, a descendant of the Butchella people of the Fraser coast, has worked for more than 20 years to help preserve Aboriginal culture. His experience in education, local government and tourism, brings a unique set of management skills and knowledge to the Board. He is an active member of many Aboriginal organisations, including the Fraser Island World Heritage Indigenous Advisory Committee, the Wondunna Aboriginal Corporation, the Butchella Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, and the Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance. He also founded and is President of Butchella Men's Business Aboriginal Association Inc.

Mark Rubbo

Mark Rubbo, the Managing Director of Readings and a past president of the Australian Booksellers Association, was founding chair of the Melbourne Writers Festival. He also established the Readings Foundation, which contributes to literacy and cultural projects and funds two writing prizes. In 2016, Readings won the International Bookstore of the Year as part of the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards.

Our Staff

Executive Director, Karen Williams

Program Manager, Tina Raye

Program Coordinator, Cindy Manfong

Marketing Manager, Jane Crowley

Marketing Assistant, Claudia Ortuno

Accounts Assistant, Peter Fitzgibbon

Admin Assistant, Brad Gambetta

Our Longtime Volunteers

Frances Kreamer (Accounts)

Derek Dryden (Events and Office Management)

Mel Williams (Events and Research)

Janet Hutchinson (Writer)

Darren Burden (Website)

Sonia Palmisano (Social Media) 

Justine Taylor (Graphic Design)

Ross Wiech (Graphic Design)

Lianda Burrows (Marketing)

There are also a number of casual volunteers that support us during busy times and at events.