Matthew Flinders Anglican College student Marlees Skala was one of eight teenagers across Australia chosen to judge The Inky Awards and present the winners at the recent Melbourne Writer’s Festival.
In Year 10 at Flinders on the Sunshine Coast, Marlees was selected to be an Inky Awards judge from an applicant pool of 200 teenagers from across Australia.
The Inky Awards is an Australian literary award given to the best Young Adult Australian novel and the best Young Adult International novel.
It is a program run by the Centre of Youth Literature, a branch of the State Library of Victoria.
Marlees and her fellow judges were tasked with reading and reviewing 20 young adult novels as the longlist.
They then debated together to narrow the list to 10 for the shortlist (five Australian and five international novels) before the public voted for the two winners.
Marlees and her Inky Judges awarded the winners – authors Lynette Noni and Holly Black – at a ceremony as part of Melbourne Writer’s Festival in September, with Marlees then interviewing two authors on stage.
Flinders Principal Stuart Meade congratulated Marlees on her achievement.
“At Flinders, our educators are keen to extend and challenge our students so when library assistant Ms Kristy Bushnell saw the Inky Awards judging opportunity, she shared it with students, like Marlees, who are passionate about literature,” Mr Meade said.
“Marlees set her sights on securing a sought-after judging role and, upon her selection, she then worked hard to fulfil her role diligently and confidently,” he said.
“Marlees’ passion and persistence is a great example for young people of what’s possible when you step out of your comfort zone and embrace opportunities to learn and grow.”
Marlees said of the experience, “I really enjoyed being an Inky judge.”
“It was an amazing opportunity to not only receive 20 novels for free but to interact with other book-obsessed teenagers and experience a writers’ festival from on stage, rather than in the audience,” she said.
“It was hard work, but all judges had fun working together and deciding on the shortlist.
“My favourite part was being able to interview authors Lynette Noni and Erin Gough on stage at Melbourne Writer’s Festival.
“I would recommend any teenagers who love novels as much as I do, to apply to be an Inky judge. You won’t regret it!”
For more information about the Inky Awards, please visit the website here.
Feature photo caption: Inky Awards Judges with Authors
Back row, left to right – Alisa, Erin Gough (author), Lynette Noni (author), Marlees Skala (Flinders student), Kiara, Zitong
Front row, left to right – Fred, Juliette, Catalina, Krisha