Patricia Wrightson

A recent event of great impact on IBBY Australia was the death of Patricia Wrightson on 15th March. While her passing has been deservedly noticed in the general press and within the literary community, it is significant for us as she was the recipient in 1986 of the Hans Christian Andersen medal. This is awarded every two years by IBBY and judged on the writer’s entire output by a jury of international experts. Only two Australians have ever been honoured in this way, Patricia for writing and Robert Ingpen for illustration. Patricia Wrightson contributed greatly to the development of children’s literature in Australia, as she pioneered the integration of characters and stories from indigenous tradition into novels for contemporary readers. Her Nargun and the Stars became a favourite for many, and the Wirrun trilogy is a major achievement.