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The State Library of Victoria

Dromkeen Medal for children's literature awarded to celebrated editor Helen Chamberlin

Dromkeen Medal awarded to celebrated editor Helen Chamberlin

14 October 2014

The State Library of Victoria has awarded the annual Dromkeen Medal to Helen Chamberlin, an esteemed editor and publisher with more than 40 years’ experience working in children’s literature.

The Dromkeen Medal was established by Joyce Oldmeadow in 1982 to honour an individual’s outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Since the Medal was first awarded in 1982, it has been presented to 32 prominent Australian writers, illustrators, editors and publishers. The Dromkeen winners were selected by a panel of authors, illustrators, publishers and librarians.

This year’s Medal recipient Helen Chamberlin has worked as an editor and publisher of children’s books, picture books, graphic novels and young adult fiction for more than 40 years, including nearly two decades at Lothian Books. She has nurtured some of Australia’s most celebrated writers – such as award-winning author Shaun Tan, Anne Spudvilas and Gregory Rogers. She still develops lists for Windy Hollow Books, Ford Street Publishing and Hachette. Ms Chamberlin also volunteers with the Children’s Literature Australia Network to mentor emerging illustrators and authors, and bring children’s book festivals to schools.

Shaun Tan – author of acclaimed graphic novel The Arrival – said, “Helen really is one of our industry’s great quiet achievers, someone with a genuine passion for good literature for readers of all ages, coupled with a wise and patient approach to dealing with authors and artists, as well as the vagaries of publishing, with all its changing economic, cultural and political aspects.”

Dromkeen Librarian’s Award presented to school librarian Pam Saunders
At the Dromkeen dinner, the State Library also presented the annual Dromkeen Librarian’s Award. The Dromkeen Librarian’s Award is awarded to a school or children’s librarian or teacher for their dedication to improving the literacy of young people.

The winner of this year’s Dromkeen Librarian’s Award is Pam Saunders, currently the head of library at Melbourne High School. Pam has previously worked as a school librarian, for public libraries as well as managing the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library.

State Library receives $12,000 donation from Scholastic Australia to
continue Dromkeen legacy
The State Library also received a $12,000 donation from Scholastic Australia to help
preserve the Dromkeen archive which was donated to the Library in 2012.
Sharon Turner, Philanthropic Manager of Scholastic Australia was there to present the
cheque on behalf of the former trustee. “The donation is to be used for cataloguing the
archival material that will tell the story of Dromkeen from the beginnings with Joyce and
Court Oldmeadow and Kaye Keck (Oldmeadow), to the long standing service of
Scholastic and the Board of Governors,” says Sharon.
State Library of Victoria’s Director of Community Engagement Jo Watson said: “The
State Library is honoured to be the custodian of the Dromkeen collection and archive,
and to continue the tradition of the Dromkeen Medal and Librarian’s Award.”
“The generosity of Scholastic Australia and the support of John Oldmeadow will help us
to preserve the Dromkeen legacy for future generations,” she said.

Information for editors
The Dromkeen homestead in Riddell’s Creek, Victoria was the former home of Courtney and Joyce
Oldmeadow, who ran their educational bookshop business from their estate. Over 30 years, the
Oldmeadows built a collection of original manuscripts and artworks from beloved Australian picture
books, and from 1973 until 2012 their home became the home of Australian children’s literature visited by authors, illustrators and thousands of students. From 1978, Scholastic Australia took responsibility for maintaining the collection and in 1985 bought the homestead to ensure its preservation. In 2012, the Dromkeen Foundation and the Scholastic Australia gifted the entire Dromkeen collection, along with the Dromkeen archive, to the State Library of Victoria.

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Media inquiries: State Library of Victoria's Media & Public Affairs Coordinators Matthew van Hasselt +61 3 8664 7263 or Anna Whitelaw +61 3 8664 7533

328 Swanston St
Melbourne Victoria 3000