The Swedish Arts Council has revealed the names of 226 candidates from across 60 countries who are nominated for a generous literary prize.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature.
The award amounts to AUS $736,175 and is given annually to a single or several laureates.
It was established in 2002 in honour of one of Sweden’s most important authors, Astrid Lindgren, who is best known for her Pippi Longstocking series and whose books have been translated into more than 90 languages.
Candidates for the award are nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world and selected by a panel of experts.
Graduate Kirsty Murray has been announced as one of nine Australian authors nominated, a list which includes peers Morris Gleitzman and Alison Lester, for the 2017 ALMA award.
Having written over 20 books for the children's and young adult market – both fiction and non-fiction – Murray has had an impressive literary career.
Murray, who completed a Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing and Editing) at RMIT, which is now offered as the Associate Degree, said being nominated alongside so many of her favourite authors and illustrators and many important organisations that advocate for children's literature was both humbling and thrilling.
“When I started at RMIT, I never imagined that one day I'd see my name on the same roll call as Ursula Le Guin," Murray said.
“Writing isn't simply a career; it's a vocation. It isn't a 'lifestyle choice' but a challenging profession that requires faith, discipline and a commitment to a decades-long apprenticeship.
“The professional writing and editing degree introduced me to the publishing industry and taught me to be serious and professional in my approach to creative writing and helped me discover my strengths.
“As an unpublished and unfocused writer, I found my writer's voice at RMIT.
"Twenty books later, the grounding I received at RMIT continues to yield countless rewards, not least my recent nomination for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award."
Penny Johnson, program manager of Professional Writing and Editing in the School of Media and Communication said that being nominated for this prestigious international award is testimony to the strong place Murray has in Australian children's literature.
“Whether in dystopian futuristic worlds or historical fiction, Kirsty writes transformative books that encourage young readers to think, feel and imagine.”
“We at RMIT are enormously proud of her achievements,” Johnson said.
The announcement was made at the Frankfurt Book Fair where Professional Writing and Editing graduates Rosalie Ham, Graeme Simsion, Davina Bell, Lucy Treloar, Danielle Binks, Simmone Howell and current student Kate Mildenhall were part of the Think Australian exhibition.
The recipient (or recipients) of the 2017 ALMA award laureates will be announced at the National Library in Stockholm on Tuesday 4 April, 2017.
Story: Wendy Little