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English Professor wins international award

Professor John Stephens is the first Australian to receive the world's most prestigious children's literature award - the 11th International Brothers Grimm Award.

“It's very rewarding to know that an international committee views me as not just the top scholar in Australia in the field but one of the top in the world,” says the English Professor.

"To win this award is very satisfying. I'm very aware that the work I've been doing has been very influential in the field so it's nice to have a formal recognition of that.”

Since the mid-1980s, Professor Stephens has researched the relationship between literature and film produced for children and cultural formations and practices.

“It’s very fertile ground for research,” believes Professor Stephens. “There are many interesting areas that have been scarcely looked into so far, there is so much to do!”

In 1992 he published one of the most influential books on children's literature, Language and Ideology in Children's Fiction.

Children's literature is “very fertile ground for research,” says Professor Stephens

Professor John Stephens will travel to Japan later this year to be presented with the prestigious award

The text is the standard source for research in ideology, reader positioning, and discourse analysis in children's literature. A mark of its influence is that nowadays it is frequently 'quoted' without being actually cited - its ideas and materials have become part of the discourse in children’s literature research.
"I've probably most changed how scholars in many parts of the world think about children's literature by drawing attention to how texts work, the language of texts, and how audiences are positioned," believes Professor Stephens.

Judged by an international panel of scholars, the award is given by the International Institute for Children's Literature, Osaka, Japan.

For now he is awaiting publication of a recently completed, co-authored book which examines how the notion of new world order since the Cold War has impacted on children's literature. His next project will be a book looking at comedy in children's literature.

For further information about the Department of English, visit the website.


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