Dr Robin Morrow AM

Dr Robin Morrow AM

Master of Arts (Children’s Literature and Literacy) (1991)
PhD (2004)

Founder, The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft
President of the Australian Section of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)

UTS alumna Dr Robin Morrow has devoted her entire life to children’s books, her career defined by passionate contribution to children’s literature and literacy in Australia and around the world.

She poured this love into the establishment of The Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft – the first specialist children's bookshop in New South Wales – in 1971. The store thrived under her management for 25 years and became a much-loved gathering place and community for readers, authors and illustrators from around the world to debate literary matters. At a time when access to authors wasn’t commonplace, it became an important venue for book launches, seminars and promotional events such as authors' talks and children's activities. Her book, More of a Club Than a Bookshop – The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft: The First 25 Years (Robin Morrow Books, 1999), documents the journey.

"Children need not only food and shelter but good books ... now as a grandmother I’m even more keen to work towards this goal for all children, everywhere."

Sharing her expertise and enthusiasm for children’s literature, Robin has lectured at a number of Australian universities, including UTS, and is currently an online lecturer for a course on Australian children's literature for postgraduate students at Simmons College in Boston, USA. She has also spoken at schools, colleges and book groups and continues to advance and share Australian children's literature through speaking engagements, articles and presentations in Australia and internationally.

Robin is an accomplished author herself: she spent ten years as Children’s Literature Reviewer for The Weekend Australian, and still regularly writes reviews and commentary for Magpies, the seminal journal dedicated to the discussion of Australian children’s literature. She has also written for academic journals, compiled several anthologies of work by children's authors, and edited Beetle Soup: Australian Stories and Poems for Children (Scholastic Australia, 1996), re-issued in paperback as And the Roo Jumped Over the Moon. She worked as Children’s Publisher at Scholastic Publishing in the 1990s, has been a member of judging panels for numerous high-profile awards programs, including the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and has held positions in various professional associations including the Children's Book Council of Australia and the Aora Children's Literature Research Centre NSW.

She is currently President of the Australian Section of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a role she has held since 2009 and through which her passion and commitment continues to grow. IBBY is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting international understanding through children’s literature. “IBBY was founded, in war-ravaged Europe, on the principle that children need not only food and shelter but good books; and now works worldwide for the right of every child to be a reader”, she said. "Throughout my life I have witnessed the vital role that access to the right books can play in young lives, and now as a grandmother I’m even more keen to work towards this goal for all children, everywhere.”

Following her Master of Arts (Children’s Literature and Literacy), Robin completed her PhD with UTS in 2004, where she studied alongside renowned children’s literature academic Maurice Saxby (PhD, 2001). Like Robin, Maurice undertook his doctorate later in life, and this shared experience had a great impact on Robin’s studies. She relished the opportunity to learn with and from a master in the field.

Robin’s significant service to children’s literature and to the writing and publishing profession was acknowledged with a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Australia Day Honours. She has also been recognised with the Children's Book Council of Australia’s Lady Cutler Award for Distinguished Service to Children's Literature in New South Wales and the Australian Publishers Association’s Pixie O'Harris Award for Dedicated and Distinguished Service to the Development and Reputation of Australian Children's Literature, among others.

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