The Australia Council for the Arts today announced the appointment of Wenona Byrne, previously the Rights and International Sale Director at Allen and Unwin Publishing in Sydney, as the new Director of Literature.
Commencing her new role on 1 May, Wenona will provide leadership in Literature, spearheading engagement between the Australia Council, writers and the publishing sector.
Ms Byrne said she was thrilled to be joining the team at the Australia Council for the Arts and was looking forward to working closely with our diverse literary community to support and champion Australian writing.
“There is currently a huge amount of curiosity from international publishers about Australian authors and I hope to use my experience of local and international markets to help promote Australian writing both here and overseas. Jill Eddington’s shoes will be hard to fill but I’m excited to make a start,” Ms Byrne said.
Frank Panucci, Australia Council for the Arts Executive Director of Grants and Engagement said the Council is delighted to have someone of Wenona’s deep experience, knowledge and passion joining our team.
“Wenona will ensure that the trends and concerns of Australia’s writing and publishing communities inform the Australia Council’s national and international grants and strategic activities, and that the achievements of this vital part of our arts sector are celebrated,” Mr Panucci said.
Having worked extensively with the literary sector, and most recently through her role as rights manager at Allen and Unwin, and as a committee member of the Visiting International Publishers program, Ms Byrne has participated in writers’ festivals across Australia as well as more than 20 international book fairs. She has also been a freelance writer, literary agent and film maker.
Ms Byrne takes over the position from Jill Eddington who was the Director of Literature for the past four years. Jill’s dynamic leadership was marked by deep engagement with the sector during one of the most significant periods of reform at the Australia Council. Jill is a passionate advocate for Australian writing and was instrumental in promoting the profile and support of First Nations’ writers.
Jill has taken up the position of CEO at University of Queensland Press, where she will continue make a great contribution to literature in Australia and the visibility of Australian writers globally.