The Recipient of the 2011 Dame Annabelle Rankin Award is Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright


Dr Sheahan-Bright operates justified text writing and publishing consultancy services. Her passion for bringing literature to children  is evident in her long history of supporting and developing children’s literature in Queensland through her work as editor, publisher, writer, literary awards judge and project manager.

Her many achievements include setting up regional CBCA groups, writing the first Shortlist Information book for the Book of the Year awards, and co-founding Jam Roll Press in 1987 which published a range of children’s literature before merging with UQP in 1994. This provided many emerging Queensland authors and illustrators with support and encouragement and access to their audience.

Robyn is an Honorary Life Member of the Qld Writers Centre, and was its founding executive director from 1991-1997. In 1990 Robyn was on the coordinating committee for the International Year of Reading. She has been a member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (Qld Branch) since 1980 and was president from 1991 to 1993. She has worked as editorial advisor and reader for several Australian publishers and writes reading group notes and teachers’ notes for them. Her writing on children’s literature and the children’s book market is widely published in magazines, literary journals and online publishing sites. Her work includes editing Nightmares in Paradise – a highly successful young adult fiction book, Paper Empires: A History of the book in Australia 1946-2005, co-edited with Dr Craig Munro – a national study documenting specific areas of post-war publishing, and Kookaburra Shells: Port Curtis Literature. She has judged numerous literary awards including the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards (YA fiction) and the QAC Sir Theodore Bray Regional Young Writers Awards 2001-2003. In 2010 Robyn was the inaugural Chair of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Judging Panel (Children’s and Young Adults) and was chair again in 2011.As President of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale Committee she supports regional children’s literature as the committee regularly organises a range of workshops and events for school students, parents, teachers, librarians, readers, writers and illustrators. She was a founding member of Book Links which grew out CBCA Qld Branch in 2004 with the aim of establishing a children’s literature centre in Queensland.

From 2004 until 2007 she was a member of the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust which provides a Creative Time Residential Fellowship for Australian children’s authors and illustrators at all stages of career development.Robyn is particularly interested in supporting the development of emerging writers and illustrators, and in facilitating strategic liaison between writing and publishing organisations and her membership of so many boards and panels and committees is a reflection of her dedication to these aims. She has made a significant contribution to children’s literature in Queensland over a long period starting with her position as inaugural Children’s Librarian for the Toowoomba City Council in 1980 through to her current consultancy work with justified text and the many projects and judging positions in which she is currently involved.

August 20 2011

Dr Sheahan-Bright spoke both passionately and eloquently at the BotY Soiree held by the Qld Branch, and has graciously provided us with a copy of that speech.  All rights are retained by the creator. August 19 2011.