The Ena Noel Award is the IBBY Australia Encouragement Award for a young emerging writer or illustrator. The panel of judges is pleased to announce that the 2020 winner is:

Jack Heath for 500 Minutes of Danger (Scholastic Australia).

This is a collection of ten short ​action stories featuring children as they face dangers that push them physically, emotionally and intellectually. As each story is told, a more complex mystery unfolds which eventually links the stories together in a final climactic ending. The stories are a mixture of fantasy, sci-fi and adventure but also contain more diverse themes including Indigenous culture as well as the environment. These are fast-paced plots written by an author who does not talk down to readers. In some stories children are selected by adults to undertake dangerous missions, others find courage deep within to protect their families or friends. Each short story provides thrilling adventures that children will want to read, with the added tension of stories intended to be read in real time with a countdown adding to the suspense.

Jack Heath is the author of many novels for children and adults. His books have been translated into eight languages and adapted for film. He started writing his first book in high school submitting it to a publisher at age 17. He has visited hundreds of schools around Australia and New Zealand sharing his love of reading and writing.

The judges note that it was a pleasure to receive and read such a diverse selection of titles from Australias emerging writers and illustrators for children and young adults.

Congratulations to Jack Heath and the publishers of 500 Minutes of Danger.

The Ena Noël Award has been a significant identifier of talented emerging writers and illustrators since its inception in 1994. Thank you to all the publishers who entered books by young creators for this award. IBBY Australia is pleased to make this announcement to coincide with International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) 2020.

Contact: Claire Stuckey, Coordinator 2020 Ena Noël Award, for any enquiries. Email:

Ena Noel Award 2020 Media Release PDF

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