OzAuthors Online came into being following the cancellations of author events due to Covid-19. Rather than idly sit by in lockdown, members of the Australian literary community decided that the long-time friend of authors – the internet – could be put to work once more. Seeking to find a way to offer some alternatives to cancelled book launches, author appearances, and panels; Wai Chim, Anna Whateley, Danielle Binks, Shivaun Plozza, A B Endacott, and Jin Wang, reached out to members of the community and were greeted with overwhelming support and assistance, which enabled OzAuthors Online to quickly establish itself and offer authors a way to digitally interact with the community.
Currently we are using YouTube to livestream and post discussions and Q&A sessions for authors whose events have been cancelled due to Covid-19 prevention measures (though platforms and techniques could change as we pivot and adapt!). Our focus is particularly on authors working in Youth Literature areas, as OzAuthors Online is working in partnership with LoveOzYA, and there is a desire to focus on connecting with young people at this time; those who are already tapped into many online communities, letting them reach out to other kids and teens going through pandemic, together. As the landscape changes and we become increasingly comfortable with our process, we intend to broaden our offerings to authors in other areas, and organizations working in the same sphere – encouraging imagination in isolation, and turning to books and the printed word (as well as audiobooks) to get them through surreal times.
All of the people involved in the creation and running of OzAuthors Online are volunteering their time out of a love for Australian literature, and a desire to support Australian authors and the wider Australian literary landscape – to make sure we all come out the other side of this, together. Please note that because of the passion-driven nature of this project, we may make some mistakes, or not get everything exactly right. These mistakes arise from a place of inexperience rather than maliciousness, and we ask for your patience and kindness in responding to them. But please remember; ‘Books are family. Books are community.’
We’ll go through this together, and be there for each other – no matter what. In addition to joining us for our various video events, we encourage everybody to participate in Australia Reads to keep connected with members of the AusLit community while staying at home!
Wai Chim is the author of YA, MG and junior fiction including 'Freedom Swimmer' and the 'Chook Chook' series. 'The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling' recently won the Indie Book Awards Book of Year in the Young Adult category. She mangles websites in her non-writing life. Visit waichim.com for more info.
Dr Anna Whateley is an #ownvoices YA author who lives in Brisbane with her family, two dogs, and two rescue guinea pigs. Her debut novel, 'Peta Lyre's Rating Normal', is out in May 2020, and she has an essay in 'Growing Up Disabled in Australia', due early 2021. Anna is proudly autistic, with ADHD and sensory processing disorder. annawhateley.com
Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based writer, reviewer, agent, book blogger and Youth Literature Advocate. She is the editor of 'Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology' and 'The Year the Maps Changed', her debut middle-grade novel with Hachette Australia. For more info visit daniellebinks.com
Alice is the author of six independently published YA fantasy novels and the current secretary of LoveOzYA. She has an abiding interest in the way stories and culture interact, and has spent much of the Covid-19 lockdown reading, writing, watching and discussing narrative…so, business as usual. Visit abendacott.com.
Shivaun Plozza is the award-winning author of Frankie, Tin Heart and The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars. Her writing has been short-listed for the CBCA Book of the Year, YALSA's Top Ten Best Young Adult Books of the Year, and the Gold Inky. She won the Davitt Award for Best Young Adult Crime Novel in 2017. For more information, visit shivaunplozza.com
Jenna Guillaume is a journalist and author who grew up in Wollongong and now lives in Sydney. Jenna writes for publications such as BuzzFeed, Junkee, The Sydney Morning Herald and MTV News. Her debut YA novel What I Like About Me was released in 2019, and her follow-up You Were Made For Me will be out August 2020.
Jin Wang is a Melbourne-based designer. His web design agency Jin & Co. helps writers, illustrators and performers from Australia and abroad build their personal brands online. Visit jinand.co.
LoveOzYA celebrates Australian YA books and authors. As a national nonprofit organisation, it delivers a range of initiatives to encourage readers of all ages to discover and read Australian youth literature. LoveOzYA is passionate about diverse representation and own voices in Australian YA and celebrating experiences and aspirations of Australian teen readers.