ACU Book of the Year announced – ‘This is My Song’, Richard Yaxley

ACU’s new program recognises the power of fiction to build empathy and improve psychological wellbeing.

Annually, the University will name Book of the Year and will provide a free copy to every new student. First year courses across the university will draw on the cultural and social themes of the novel as a way of broadening student perspectives.

This exciting new initiative is led by Professor Margot Hillel, Chair of Academic Board.

“It is important that all students have a grounding in and understanding of the liberal arts because it engages then with the humanity of people. There is evidence that shows that fiction-readers have higher degrees of empathy and that’s something we want for all our students”.

The inaugural winner of Book of the Year is Richard Yaxley’s book, This is My Song, a moving story, spanning three generations from the horrors of Auschwitz to the Canadian prairie to 21st Century Brisbane. The book speaks to intergenerational trauma, individualism versus community and the complex dynamics of contemporary family arrangements. The inspiration for his novel has been drawn from music and the visual arts, providing a rich literary experience for readers.

During his acceptance speech Mr Yaxley said, “I love the fact that the outcome of this award is unequivocally directed towards active literacy and its natural offshoot, active contemplation – which in turn has the capacity to lead the individual towards affirmative action on behalf of the community”.

This is My Song, is published by Scholastic Australia.

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