Lesley Reece, who is also the founder and director of The Literature Centre in Fremantle, was one of four women named as finalists in the Arts and Culture category.
A tireless advocate for children’s literature for the past 21 years, Ms Reece not only works to boost the love of books in young WA children both locally and in rural towns, but is also asked regularly to consult for those looking to promote children’s literature in other countries.
‘Australian children’s literature is vital to our cultural integrity so that children and teenagers grow up reading the very best Australian stories,’ she said.
‘Just as importantly, we need to nurture those young authors and illustrators to ensure they continue to produce quality books for generations of young people to enjoy.’
A finalist alongside advocates for opera, ballet and visual arts in Carolyn Chard, Lena Nyadbi and Louise Howden-Smith, Ms Reece said she was honoured just to make the list of finalists.
‘I was absolutely thrilled, as this recognises the importance of The Literature Centre’s role in promoting quality Australian books to children and young adults in this vast State,’ she said.
‘It is an honour that reflects 21 years of cutting-edge programs by me and my amazing team and it is a delight to be honoured in this way for something that has been my passion for so many years.’
The winner of this year’s Arts and Culture category will be in good company: international photographer Russell James and cartoonist Dean Alston won in 2013 and 2012.
Ms Reece and 21 other prominent West Australians will be at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre for the awards night on May 30.