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Congratulations Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson! Magabala Books is proud to announce that on Thursday 10 December, Darug co-creators Jasmine and Leanne won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature with their title Cooee Mittigar.
The Hon Paul Fletcher announced the Award at the ceremony in Canberra, much to the surprise of Jasmine and Leanne.
“Budyari budyari, this is amazing! We are completely shocked,” said Jasmine accepting the award.
“We’d like to thank Magabala especially, because championing such incredible Indigenous stories is so important. Thank you to everyone who has loved this book and connected to its story. This is the story of us, and the land connection that links all people who live in Australia.”
Magabala Books Publisher Rachel Bin Salleh said:
“It is such an honour to publish this incredible book - for its gentle strength, its teaching of Darug language and culture, and the love it instils for Country. We’re so proud that Jasmine and Leanne have received this very well-deserved national accolade and look forward to publishing many more of their books in the future.”
In awarding the prize for Children’s literature the Judges’ commented:
“Cooee Mittigar is a book that the author and illustrator, publisher, Indigenous people, and in fact all Australians, should feel proud to acknowledge and share. Any book which can reach our youngest minds with such gentleness and generosity of spirit should be applauded by all Australians.”
Meaning, “come here, friend”, Cooee Mittigar is an invitation to yana (walk), on Darug Country, introducing children and adults-alike to Darug Nura (Country) and language.
Of the book, Jasmine says:
“Cooee Mittigar was made because Leanne and I wanted people to remember and recognise that Sydney always was and always will be an Aboriginal place… We wanted the kids and adults who grow up in this Country to be proud of its Aboriginal history and custodianship.”
Cooee Mittigar was a Notable in the 2020 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards, and is shortlisted for the Small Press Network Book of the Year Awards. Both Jasmine and Leanne were shortlisted for the 2020 CBCA New Illustrator Award, with Jasmine taking out the award for her book Baby Business.