Greek Australian author Will Kostakis has been announced as the recipient of the 2020 School Library Association of New South Wales Maurice Saxby Award.
The Maurice Saxby Award recognises service to children’s and/or young adult literature by an individual, team or organisation that has displayed excellence and passion in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW.
Will’s passion, excellence, and commitment to the promotion of reading and children’s literature are evidenced by his roles as an ambassador for the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge and Australia Reads, and as a mentor of children and young adults as both readers and writers.
“One early morning in November, I was contacted by a teacher librarian eager to nominate me for this award. That meant a great deal, to win is an honour, and to keep doing this work, visiting schools and inspiring the next generation of readers and writers, is the reward,” Will Kostakis said on Twitter.
Kostakis is an author highly familiar with the Greek community in Australia. His debut book, The First Third, was written as a way to show a new perspective on what it’s like growing up as a Greek-Australian teenage boy.
“In that novel, I centred love, I centred a bit of familial affection, and it’s either something that people have lost or something that they yearned for or something that they had,” Will said to The Greek Herald in an interview earlier this year.
“I think that’s what keeps the novel in the public conscious, even today it’s still being read and still being shared.”
In 2020, Will launched Line by Line, a virtual writing club for established, emerging, and aspiring storytellers as part of his response to the limitations of connection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has devoted considerable time, energy and expertise in engaging young readers and writers across NSW, often waiving fees, offering free virtual sessions, and self-funding regional tours in hard-to-reach schools, to ensure students have the experience of exposure to, and connection with, a real-life author.
This award will be presented at The Laureate & The Literacy Leader Professional Learning Summit on March 13th, 2021.