For Keeps – 100 years of the School Magazine!

On the second day of August 2016, The School Magazine celebrated its centenary in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens. Any publishing venture has to be both inspired and robust in its conception to last a hundred years. This venture understood one thing well: that good literature is intrinsically valuable. It transports and reveals, it solves and dissolves, it edifies and educates, and ultimately it outlives its creators and transcends its time – speaking across the ages. This is a priceless offering to children.

Fittingly, this centenary is marked by the release of the attractive and historic book, For Keeps: a Treasury of Stories, Poems and Plays Celebrating 100 Years of the School Magazine – a marvellous volume of children’s literature, one hundred years in the making. There are so many gifted creators featured – too many to single out. And, understandably, it has not been possible to include everyone. Two personal favourites who missed the cut are illustrator Elaine Russell, whose affectionate and nuanced indigenous point of view – captured in striking, bright paintings – has always been a gift to the magazine; and writer Steven Lucic, whose imaginatively creepy and outrageous tales have brought so much gothic fun to the magazine’s pages.

The School Magazine‘s long line of dedicated editors is also crucial to its grand reputation. One editor I’d especially like to mention is Jonathan Shaw. In his fifteen years as editor, he could not have been more nurturing and encouraging of inchoate literary ability, nor a better facilitator of bold literary ideas. The legacy of his tenure lives on in Australian children’s publishing – and beyond.

The School Magazine has turned 100 years old. Celebrate this milestone. It’s worth it!

My copy of For Keeps

A photo of my copy of For Keeps