Celebrating World Book and Copyright Day
23 April is a date when many prominent writers have both entered (Halldór Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov) and departed from (Cervantes, Shakespeare) the world. This makes it the perfect candidate for UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day: a global tribute to books and authors, their contributions to social and cultural progress, and of course the pleasure of reading (particularly for children).
COVID-19 has forced global school closures and limited people’s ability to move freely. At such a time, books unlock an expansive world of possibility and help us feel connected to people and places beyond ourselves. They educate us, challenge us and increase our capacity for empathy and imagination.
Australia has a vibrant literary scene filled with exceptional storytellers. Copyright Agency is proud to support them and to help foster the creation of new works that bring our unique experiences and voices to life.
Our core mission is to defend copyright, which protects creators and ensures they get fair payment for the use of their work. Last financial year we paid out $116m to writers, publishers and visuals artists, and we also provided grants of close to $2m to a wide range of outstanding writing, publishing and visual arts projects.
Here are some examples of the work we do in the realm of books and literacy:
- Reading Australia, created in 2013 to encourage the teaching of Australian literature in schools, has nearly 200 full units of freely-available work (including 78 for primary students and 120 for secondary students, with an additional 30 to come in 2021)
- This Book Changed My Life reminds Australians of the life-changing power of stories, and asks them to pledge to respect creators through payment, attribution and seeking permission
- Our Cultural Fund offers various streams of support:
- Grants for individual writers, literary organisations and publishers and literary agents
- Fellowships for established authors, non-fiction writers and English and literacy teachers
- Emergency Action Funding for Innovative Online Projects, Virtual Writers’ Festivals and writing projects affected by COVID-19
- It also backs initiatives that promote a lifelong love of reading, such as Australia Reads/the Australian Reading Hour and the Australian Children’s Laureate program
- More specifically, the Cultural Fund supports the following literary projects:
- We work closely with leading industry partners:
- The Australian Publishers Association (APA) and Australian Society of Authors (ASA)
- The Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)
- The Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL), Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE), Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA)
- We participate in collaborative groups that champion reading and writing, including the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers and Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative
- We support many literary awards that celebrate Australian writing, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist, the Stella Prize longlist, and the Australian Book Industry Awards (General Non-Fiction Book of the Year)
- See a full list of awards and sponsorships from FY 2018–2019
Books have never been more important than they are now, keeping us entertained, informed and inspired in the face of great challenges. We will continue supporting and standing up for creators during this time so that we can tell diverse Australian stories well into the future.
This World Book and Copyright Day, we hope you’ll join us in doing the same.