Honorary Senior Fellow (April 2002)
Sue McKenzie was named an Honorary Senior Fellow in April 2002 in recognition of her unfailing dedication to youth and the arts on the Sunshine Coast.
Sue McKenzie was joint instigator and manager of Voices on the Coast from 1996 to 2001. Voices on the Coast is a two-day youth literature festival which, every year, brings to the Sunshine Coast some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s finest writers and performers for young people.
Ms McKenzie first became involved in Voices because of her firm belief that young people from regional Queensland deserved to experience the same cultural and literary opportunities as their contemporaries from city and metropolitan areas. There is little doubt that her single-minded devotion to this cause has been a key factor in the continued success of Voices.
The first Festival was held in 1996 and has developed into a much anticipated annual event, with thousands of tickets sold each year to young people from over 70 primary and secondary schools within the region.
The roll call of past presenters includes such popular authors as Matthew Condon and Peter Goldsworthy, and has involved groups such as La Boite Theatre and the Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts Group.
Voices on the Coast comprises two days of workshops, book talks, storytelling, poetry and drama. The fact that an adult program has been added since 1999 has simply increased the organisational complexity of an event where participating students may range from Year 5 to Year 12.
As many parents can attest, bringing authors, young people and books together is a considerable challenge, and activities such as Voices on the Coast, that promote literacy and a love of reading, are well worth supporting.
The University has provided the venue for Voices since 1999, and we look forward to a continuing involvement for many years to come.