Monkey Baa Theatre Company congratulates our Patron and best-loved author Jackie French on yesterday’s announcement as 2015 Senior Australian of the Year.
Living in a shed and needing to register her car, Jackie French wrote her first children’s book, Rainstones, in 1991. While her editor said it was the messiest, worst spelt manuscript ever received, the book was shortlisted for Children’s Book of the Year and Jackie’s career as a best-selling author began. One of the few writers to win both literary and children’s choice awards, Jackie has published 140 books in 32 languages and received more than 60 literary prizes for beloved children’s classics such as Diary of a Wombat. Overcoming dyslexia herself, Jackie is a tireless advocate for children with learning difficulties. As the current national Children’s Laureate, Jackie is travelling the country to promote literacy and share the transformational power of reading, creativity and story-telling in the lives of young Australians. Passionate about the conservation of wildlife and our planet, Jackie is also a director of The Wombat Foundation that raises funds for research into the preservation of the endangered northern hairy nosed wombat.
Author Jackie French believes a book can change a child’s life, give them the power to dream and to change the world for the better. She told the crowd on the lawns of Parliament House yesterday as she received her award. “Every book a child reads creates new neurons in that child’s brain. If you want intelligent children give them a book. If you want more intelligent children give them more books.”
Monkey Baa‘s extraordinary association with Jackie started 2005 when they adapted her novel Hitler’s Daughter. After successfully touring Australia, Hitler’s Daughter was the company’s first production to tour internationally, visiting 15 theatres in the USA. Monkey Baa’s creative association with Jackie French continued in 2014 with the production of Pete the Sheep based on Jackie French and Bruce Whatley’s picture book, touring to 54 venues in every state and territory of Australia. We look forward to our next creative endeavour of adapting and producing one of Australia’s most awarded and bestselling picture books ever, Diary of a Wombat.
Monkey Baa Creative Director Eva Di Cesare said. “Jackie’s generosity of spirit and her incredible and very real connection with young people has always been an inspiration for us at Monkey Baa. She has fast become an Australian icon and today’s announcement fills us with enormous pride.”
From the company – our board, staff, actors and creatives and our audiences we congratulate you on receiving this great honour and look forward in continuing to work with you and reading your books.