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Senator the Hon Rod Kemp, Minister for the Arts and Sport, officially launched Books Alive 2005 at a public event this morning at Westfield Miranda in Sydney, and Ms Deborah Thomas, Editorial Director of The Australian Women’s Weekly, launched Hell Island, the new short novel by Matthew Reilly, written exclusively for Books Alive 2005.

‘Until August 31, Books Alive will give away a free copy of Matthew Reilly’s Hell Island with any book purchased from The 2005 Books Alive Great Read Guide,’ Senator Kemp announced. “I am sure this exciting offer will see even more Australians reading over the next month – building on the success of the past two Books Alive campaigns.”

The 2005 Books Alive Great Read Guide is the cornerstone of this year’s promotion. A fresh, contemporary list of 50 great books for adults and children, it will be distributed to 2.5 million Australians throughout the campaign, encouraging them to buy a book. The Guide aims to simplify the world of books and empower occasional readers to make more satisfying reading choices.

The 50 books include five celebrity choices–Layne Beachley (Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch), Liz Ellis (Dirt Music by Tim Winton), Mark Ferguson (Atonement by Ian McEwan), Rove McManus (The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay) and Ian Ross (Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris)–two selections by young Australians and the rest chosen by a panel of leading book industry figures.

‘Books Alive is also about celebrating Australian authors,’ says Sandra Yates, AO, and Chair of Books Alive. ‘In addition to Matthew Reilly’s book, over half the titles in The Books Alive Great Read Guide are by Australian writers, including Helen Garner, Andy Griffiths, David Malouf, John Marsden and Di Morrissey – just to name a few.’

Books Alive is the biggest promotion of books and reading staged in Australia.  It is funded by the Australian Government, developed through the Australia Council for the Arts and supported by the Australian book industry. Backed by $1.8 million in advertising and promotion, the campaign aims to encourage all Australians to experience the joys of reading and will run from July 27 to August 31, 2005.

In addition to Matthew Reilly, many authors from The 2005 Books Alive Great Read Guide are available for comment.  They include: Bob Barrett, Li Cunxin, Jackie French, Jane Goodall, Kerry Greenwood, Andy Griffiths, Paul Ham, Alison Lester, Liane Moriarty, Di Morrissey and Garth Nix.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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