Last night was one of my favourite CBCA NSW Branch Events, The Lady Cutler Dinner, so named after Lady Helen Cutler, the first patron of the Children’s Book Council NSW Branch. Lady Cutler accepted the appointment in 1966 and continued in that role until her death. In 1981 the NSW Committee, headed by then President, Edward Coffey, inaugurated the Lady Cutler Award – an annual award presented for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature. Independent Book Distributors, Peribo, are the new sponsor of the Award.
Robyn Ewing, Professor, Teacher Education and the Arts, Associate Dean (Academic), The University of Sydney, is the 2012 recipient. Professor Ewing was joined on stage last night by previous recipients: Maurice Saxby, Margaret Hamilton, Jean Walter Morgan, Libby Gleeson, Donna Rawlins, Ernie Tucker, Susanne Gervay and Christopher Cheng. Wow! What a line up! Edward Coffey was there, too! Not to mention tens of authors, aspiring authors, publishers and booksellers and distributors.
The After Dinner Speech by Libby Hathorn touched many of us emotionally (please visit Libby’s website www.libbyhathorn.com).
Libby Hathorn is a National Ambassador for Reading 2012 and Libby spoke about ‘What is Reading!’ by taking us on a journey of ‘why we read’ through the poetry she’s lived with and the experiences she’s shared with children in their endeavour to read.
Of course, I can’t do justice to Libby’s many wonderful comments but I’d like to say that I was touched because Libby reminded me that reading is a very private, solitary experience of active mental participation in an imaginary world in which readers can lose themselves, much like a meditation. One of Libby’s comments about why we read will always stay with me: ‘We read to get to know a mind that is more unique than our own.’
Thank you Libby, well done CBCA NSW for another wonderful event and congratulations Professor Ewing. I look forward to next year’s event.
Toni with Susanne Gervay
Toni with Maurice Saxby