Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award

Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award

Today being awarded the  ‘Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award’ for my body of work in social justice by the International Literacy Association is deeply felt. My acceptance speech is at the heart of my writing:-

– ‘My family were refugees who survived war and communism. They were targets, bullied, not registering as human. We know about the Cambodian Killing Fields, Armenian genocide, Syrian massacres, the Holocaust. But we can’t fully comprehend these huge atrocities. We see, are horrified, but what can we do? Young people feel powerless. These stories of victimisation are too big, make us turn away, as we go about our lives.

I write so that young people have a safe place to be. Inside my stories, there are friends, humour, love and ways forward to navigate a world which is overwhelming.

I write small stories of ordinary lives, but they are big stories – bullying, disability, racism, cancer, peace – because kids feel everything, but they get lost and afraid. I write small stories of ordinary lives, so that kids celebrate each day and are empowered to create a safer world.

A teacher wrote to me that my books ‘are watching over our kids’. She gave me a gift.

You are giving me a gift today too. This is a deeply moving award that validates my life as a writer. I accept it for my parents, for me and for those who find a safe haven within my books.’

Thankyou for this journey.


I'm a writer committed to kids in particular. Adults are good too. Want to bring hope through story to my readers. Awarded an Order of Australia, Lady Cutler Award and a Lifetime International Award for Literacy for my body of work, spreading literacy is really important. I'm head of SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand, patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, Ambassador for the Premier's Reading Challenge, Writer Ambassador for Room to Read ... among other roles. I also love heritage and adapting to enhance the lives of people today, which is why I restored The Hughenden Hotel 1870s and The Residences Centennial Park - the only homes in the parklands which are open now for accommodation, events and lots of nature.


  1. Pauline Luke 2 years ago

    So well deserved Susanne – writers like yourself do have the potential to make a difference.

  2. Tabatha 2 years ago

    You and your books are SO special…and gifts to us all and our kids. THANK YOU for that…and congratulations my friend! xo

  3. Karen Tyrrell 2 years ago

    Hi Susanne,
    Your speech, like your books, was beautifully written.
    HUGE Congratulations on your well-deserved award …

    Karen Tyrrell 🙂

  4. jayne zakheim 2 years ago

    so proud to know you!!!!! you deserve this. we love your stories.

  5. Renee Hills 2 years ago

    Love this response. What an inspiring tribute to your work.

  6. Sandy Fussell 2 years ago

    Susanne, You made me cry. That’s what your books do. Make people (kids and adults) feel. Congratulations and a huge hug to you.

  7. Anne Bell 2 years ago

    So proud to know you Zsa Zsa…great big hug and overflowing congratulations xxx

  8. Barbara Harvey 2 years ago


    You are an amazing person and writer and so deserving of this prize,
    Congratulations xox

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