We couldn’t be happier to share the news that Alison Lester has won the Melbourne Prize for Literature, one of Australia’s richest arts prizes, announced at Federation Square on Wednesday 14 November 2018.

The prize judges described Lester, who has written and illustrated more than 40 books, as a national treasure: ‘There’s hardly an Australian who has not read her work.’

The prize recognises excellence and talent, and aims to inspire creative development while enriching public life. Running in a three-year cycle for Urban Sculpture (2017), Literature (2018) and Music (2019), this year’s literature prize was awarded to the author whose body of published work has made an outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life. The shortlist included notable Victorian authors Tony Birch, Gideon Haigh, Christos Tsiolkas and Alexis Wright.

In her acceptance speech Alison said that kids books were often regarded as light but they were readers’ first books.

‘We’re always banging on about how we need to get kids reading so we [kids book creators] do have a really important job.’

The award caps off a huge year for Alison who was awarded a Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Honour Book for her picture book The Very Noisy Baby in August, released a delightfully warm and funny picture book about a little tiger, Tricky’s Bad Day, and the next book in the Noni the Pony series at the start of November. Along with long-time collaborator Jane Godwin, she’s also raised over $40,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital since March through a beautiful profit-for-purpose book, The Silver Sea, which includes artwork by some of the hospital’s patients.

So Alison, from all of us at Affirm Press, a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS … You really deserve it!