Quills at the ready…

LOCAL AUTHOR, Nieta Manser, has been shortlisted for The Wilderness Society’s 2017 Environment Award for Children’s Literature, in the picture fiction category, for her book Echidna’s Can’t Cuddle.

The Environment Award for Children’s Literature is an annual award run by The Wilderness Society that celebrates books that promote a love of nature in young people. Wilderness Society National Campaigns Director Lyndon Schneiders said “this year’s shortlist is filled with nature-themed books that children will request to be read over and over again.

“These are top notch books by some of Australia’s best children’s authors and are both engaging and have a strong environmental message. “The 2017 Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlist has beautifully illustrated picture fiction, conservation hijinks and non-fiction books that will feed children’s curiosity,”he said. Since 1994, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature has been awarding outstanding children’s books that promote a love of nature and a sense of caring and responsibility for the environment. Previous winners of the Award include Tim Winton, Jackie French, Colin Thiele and Graeme Base.

The Diary caught up with Ms Manser recently to discuss her book and her nomination.

“It’s a real honour to be shortlisted and to have my name in amongst that circle of authors,” said Ms Manser.

The Wilderness Society believes promoting a love of nature in children is one of the fundamental elements to building a society that respects and protects our unique landscape.

Ms Manser currently works as a teacher at Andersons Creek Primary School, is a mother of four children and passionately believes that children learn best through literature.

When asked about her writing, Ms Manser said, “It had always niggled at me that I needed to write — that was my thing — I just started plotting down ideas and they became manuscripts.”

Echidna’s Can’t Cuddle was published in May 2016 by Little Steps Publishing.

The illustrator, Lauren Merrick lives in the Blue Mountains, NSW and although they have never met, the partnership has led to a very positive response.

“It was just flying out the door from the distributor, and also to schools and libraries,” said Ms Manser.

“It’s very exciting.” Last year, Echidna’s Can’t Cuddle was picked up by a Chinese distributor and earlier this year was translated into Korean.

“The Korean script really suits the illustrations,” said Ms Manser, “they look beautiful together — it’s been a really exciting journey.”

“The Environment Award for Children’s Literature plays a critical role in celebrating books that promote a connection to our awe-inspiring natural environment,” said Mr Schneiders.

“What a fabulous award it is and I am very proud to have the The Wilderness Society choose my book,” said Ms Manser.

The winners will be announced at 3pm, August 12 2017 at The Little Bookroom, Carlton North.

All are welcome to attend the event with drinks and nibbles provided and a lucky door prize that includes Echidnas Can’t Cuddle.

The Diary wishes Nieta all the best of luck with the judging next month.