World Literacy Awards

2021 World Literacy Awards

Every year, the World Literacy Foundation recognizes individuals and organizations annually for their outstanding endeavors that promote literacy learning. The Judging Panel of 15 eminent leaders from across the globe, including literacy leaders, Nobel Literature Prize recipients, and award-winning authors, chose the winners on International Literacy Day.

The Awards are an initiative of the World Literacy Foundation, a peak global literacy charity and the World Literacy Council.

Information about 2022 nominations will be updated shortly.

Awards Categories

1 World Literacy Awards Organization

Significant Contribution to Literacy by an Organization

Awarded to an organization that continues to operate and provide a cutting-edge difference in literacy.
2 World Literacy Awards Celebrity

Significant Contribution to Literacy by a Celebrity

Awarded to a recognized celebrity for their efforts made in improving management and challenges in their own country and globally.
3 World Literacy Awards Individual

Significant Contribution to Literacy by an Individual

Awarded to an individual for their outstanding efforts to improve literacy.
3 World Literacy Awards Individual

Significant Contribution to Literacy by a Nation

Awarded to a nation for its outstanding Government policies and improvements in literacy and education.
5 World Literacy Awards Academic


Presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution not only in literature but in their intellectual work on writing and research.
6 World Literacy Awards Young

Significant Contribution to Literacy by a Youth

*New- Recognizes the efforts and actions of a young person to reduce illiteracy.

7 World Literacy Awards Pandemic

Significant Contribution to Literacy in response to the pandemic

*New– Excellence Award to an organization or community group with a significant and rapid response to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 in education.

2021 Winners

Malaika is a nonprofit organization empowering girls and their communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through enhanced access to education, water, and healthcare. They’re teaching girls to question, engage and evolve into progressive leaders who can positively affect their villages, country, and even the world.
Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon
Julian Lennon’s White Feather Foundation promotes and supports education, health, conservation, and indigenous cultures. He set up a scholarship program in his mother’s memory, giving 40 scholarships to girls in Kenya, and in 2021 he also offered scholarships for art students in the USA.
*Photo by Deborah Anderson.
Ginny Williams Ellis
Ginny Williams-Ellis is the Chief Executive of Read Easy UK. While working as a literacy tutor in English prisons, Ginny became aware of the number of adults who struggle with a basic level of reading across the population. She is now helping thousands of people across the UK.
Read on Canada
Since COVID-19, this coalition of literacy organizations teamed up with food banks to distribute thousands of books to kids, and we provided training and support to food bank staff so they could share reading tips along with the books. By the end of summer 2021 in Canada, they will have distributed nearly 300,000 brand-new children’s books through food banks and shared fun online reading activities for all families.
Bronwen Thomas
Professor Bronwen Thomas is currently researching and exploring the impact of new digital technologies on readers and reading. Her interest is how readers use online spaces and social media to discuss their reading and interact with other readers whilst investigating how one might draw on these activities to better engage with students as readers.
Kehkashan Basu

Kehkashan’s work on spreading sustainability literacy has been continuing for 13 years now. She developed an advocacy tool called “Environment Academy.” She constantly conducts sustainability education workshops and webinars on sustainability that have reached over 200,000 people virtually. She has also created a mobile library project launched in rural Bangladesh to deliver education to the doorstep of 100,000 children who are out of school.

Australia is well known for its significant efforts to advance education and literacy. Together with USAID and World Vision US, they founded All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR). ACR is an ongoing series of competitions and prizes that leverage science and technology to source, test, and disseminate innovative solutions to improve the literacy skills of early grade learners in developing countries.

Judging Panel

World Literacy Awards 2021 Victoria Aveyard
Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard is an author and screenwriter, born and raised in a small town in Western Massachusetts.

She has a BFA in Writing for Film & Television from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her books include four #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling novels, two New York Times bestselling novellas, a New York Times bestselling short story collection.

She lives full-time in Los Angeles with her dog Indy. Realm Breaker, the first installment in her next young adult fantasy series published on May 4th, 2021. The Red Queen series is currently being translated into 41 languages and counting.



World Literacy Awards 2021 Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes

Writer, director, producer, novelist and actor Julian Fellowes has had an extensive and lauded career in film, television, publishing and the dramatic arts.

He received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002 for Gosford Park, which was his first produced film. Fellowes is creator, sole writer and executive producer of the worldwide hit series Downton Abbey which over its six seasons received 69 Emmy Award nominations; winning 15, including writing and Outstanding Miniseries or Movie for Fellowes. He also received a Golden Globe Award and Special BAFTA Award for Downton Abbey. His film writing credits include Vanity Fair, Separate Lies (National Board of Review Directorial Debut Award), From Time to Time, The Young Victoria, The Tourist, Romeo & Juliet, The Chaperone, and the Downton Abbey movie. His television writing credits include Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Prince and the Pauper, Titanic, Doctor Thorne, Belgravia and The English Game. He is responsible for the ‘book’ of the Broadway musicals, Mary Poppins and School of Rock – The Musical for which he received a Tony nomination. He also wrote the books for Half a Sixpence and The Wind in the Willows, both of which played in the West End in 2017. He has written three Sunday Times Best Sellers, Snobs, Past Imperfect and Belgravia. In January 2011, he was given a peerage and entered the House of Lords as the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford.



World Literacy Awards 2021 Adam Wallace
Adam Wallace

Adam Wallace is a Three-Time Number 1 New York Times Bestselling author based in Melbourne, Australia.

Adam’s books have been published in numerous languages, numerous countries, and have also found homes with a certain reality TV show family.

Adam has one mission with his writing – to entertain and inspire as many children as possible. With over 3,000,000 books sold, he’s well on the way.

Adam is thrilled to be a judge for the World Literacy Awards, as they  celebrate incredible contributions to literacy and work to improve 

literacy standards around the world.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Bolu
Bolu Babalola

An author, journalist and TV writer, Bolu’s short story collection, LOVE IN COLOUR, was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year.

She was recognised on the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list 2021 for her work in literature and media. Her debut novel, HONEY AND SPICE, will be published in 2022.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Emma Gannon
Emma Gannon

Emma Gannon is a Sunday Times bestselling author, speaker, novelist, and host of the no. 1 creative careers podcast in the UK, Ctrl Alt Delete.


**Emma started her career in digital marketing and social media editor roles at The Debrief <> magazine and Condé Nast. She has been a columnist for The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and Courier magazine on the topics of work, wellbeing, creativity and choosing your own path.**In 2017, she was selected by Microsoft to appear in their TV campaign <> showcasing her multi-hyphenate life. In 2018, she was selected in the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 <> list in media. She is a popular teacher on the online learning platform Skillshare <>, and proud to be an ambassador for The Princes Trust and World Literacy Foundation <>.**She has published four bestselling books to date, including the Sunday Times bestseller The Multi-Hyphen Method <> (a manifesto for multi-hyphenates crafting work on their own terms); SABOTAGE <> (tips on how to silence your inner critic and get out of your own way) and (Dis)Connected <> (how to stay human in an online world) publishing in December 2021. *

*In July 2020, her debut novel OLIVE <> was published by Harper Collins in the UK and Andrews McMeel in the US. The audiobook is narrated by Fleabag’s BAFTA-winning actor Sian Clifford and hit no.1 in the Apple audiobook charts. She is currently writing her second novel. She is an experienced speaker and has spoken at TEDx, the Oxford Union, Founders Forum, Instagram HQ, Amazon UK and Google. She has also appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour, MoneyBox and Word Of Mouth), BBC Radio 2 (Simon Mayo) and BBC Radio 1 (Life Hacks).She is a trusted panel host and has interviewed everyone from actors and authors to scientists and politicians. She was one of the first in the UK to recognise the power of podcasting. Her WEBBY-nominated podcast Ctrl, Alt, Delete <> is a non-traditional careers podcast founded in 2016 and has had over 8 million downloads to date, with guests including Elizabeth Gilbert, Ava DuVernay and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas. *

*She has partnered with many global brands such as Natwest, Dropbox and Visit California on creating bespoke podcast content, and recently hosted Indeed’s Some You Win <> podcast which received 5* reviews. She also writes the popular weekly newsletter called The Hyphen <> that is an exploration of ideas that have got her thinking in new ways, and a book club, The Hyphen Book Club <>. Photo credit: Adam Brazier <>*

World Literacy Awards 2021 Stacey Fru
Stacey Fru

At age 7, Stacey Fru was the youngest writer on the continent, if not the world. She is the current face of the African Union (AU) and

International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) 2021 International Campaign for the Elimination of Child Labour #EndChildLabour.Over the years, she has positioned herself as the Bestselling International Multiple Award-Winning Child Author of Chapter books, a Philanthropist, Activist, Analyst, Brand Ambassador, and Public Speaker. She has dedicated a portion of her life to reach out, to inspire and edutain people of various ages across the world. One of her books is available in Braille and Daisy formats. Through her foundation called The Stacey Fru Foundation, Stacey gives to underprivileged and inaccessible children in forms of books, clothing, computers, foods, learning sessions, etc. Stacey is also the Custodian of the first ever Annual AfrICAN Children of the Year Awards hosted to coincide with Universal Children’s Day every November in Johannesburg. Among her many educational projects, Stacey uses her online television channel @CTVSA to educate children and adults alike about the African continent and the world.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Tony Nash
Tony Nash

Tony Nash started his first internet business in 1996. In 2004 Tony founded Booktopia (ASX:BKG), an online bookstore, with an allocated budget of $10 a day.

The company’s first book sold in 3 days. Fast track 17 years and Booktopia now sells one book every 4.6 seconds, with an annual turnover of over $200+ million a year. It was listed in AFR/BRW’s Fast 100 eight times, the only company to achieve this feat, and was voted Book Retailer of the Year for the 3rd time in 2019 at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

One of the defining aspects of the business is its philanthropic program. So far Booktopia has donated well over $1 million in books and cash to literacy based projects in Australia including indigenous literacy, writers festivals, readers conferences, library fundraising projects and book industry awards.

After being a finalist for 7 years Booktopia finally took out the top award as the 2018 NSW Business of the Year at the Telstra Business Awards as well as the National People’s Choice Award in the same year.

In July 2018 Booktopia also won Best Pureplay Online Retailer at the Online Retail Industry Awards and Tony was acknowledged with the Industry Recognition Award.

Booktopia launched a book wholesale distribution business called Booktopia Publisher Services (BPS) in 2016. In 2019 it also launched its own publishing imprint Booktopia Editions so the business can own the whole value chain from publishing right through to distribution as well as retailing.

In 2015 Booktopia bought Angus & Robertson, an iconic Australian book retail brand established in 1886. In 2020, Booktopia also bought The Co-op Bookshop established in 1958 after it went into administration.

In 2020, Booktopia listed on the ASX with a market capitalisation of $315m.

Tony is an entrepreneur, Founder & CEO in online retail. With a background in recruitment, programming, business development, selling, SEO and internet marketing, Tony has developed outstanding negotiation and leadership skills with a thorough understanding of sales, forecasting, bootstrapping, PR, empowerment, managing an executive team, capital raising and listing on the ASX.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Becky
Becky Dyer

Rebecca Dyer has worked for the Barbara Bush Foundation since January 1998 in a variety of roles.

After retiring from her position as   Chief Mission Officer in June 2020, Becky now serves as Senior Advisor to the President and CEO. In this role, she provides counsel on the effective design, development, and scaling of evidence-based adult and family literacy programming; incubation of new and innovative solutions through technology; research and evaluation efforts; and professional development. 

Her career spans nearly 40 years, with significant experience in public school adult education, including service as an Adult Basic Education teacher, local adult education program director, and State Director of  Adult Education in Maine.  

Becky served as the Director of the Maine Family Literacy Initiative for the Barbara Bush  Foundation for many years and has provided technical assistance to state adult education leaders  on policy and career pathways. During her tenure at the Maine Department of Education, her team  created the successful College Transitions Network and Work Ready programs for the State.  Becky is the recipient of the Gerald N. LeVasseur Award for Outstanding Leadership and Rotary  District 7780 Service Above Self Award.  

Becky earned her Bachelor of Science from State University of New York at Potsdam and earned  her master’s degree in Human Resource Development at the University of Southern Maine. A  native of Maine, Becky and her husband, Don, live on Pequawket Lake in Limington, Maine.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Anthony Cree
Anthony Cree

Dr. Cree is the Chair of the World Literacy Council. A respected Academic of over thirty years standing, Dr. Cree is based in Australia but travels the world with his work in Literacy.

Educated at Oxford University, Dr. Cree has held and continues to hold a range of senior academic positions in Australia and in the United States. Dr. Cree is also the Chairman and Founder of The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation in Australia.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Jack E Davis
Jack E. Davis

Jack E. Davis, who grew up in Pinellas County, is a professor of history and the Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities at the University of Florida.

In 2018, his book The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in history and the Kirkus Prize in nonfiction. Described in the New York Times Book Review as a “beautiful homage to a neglected sea,” The Gulf was a New York Times Notable Book for 2017 and made several “best of” lists for the year, including those of the Washington Post, NPR, Forbes, and the Tampa Bay Times. The author or editor of ten books, including the award-winning An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century, Davis has written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, Orion, and other publications. His most recent book, coedited with his former doctoral student Leslie Poole, is The Wilder Heart of Florida, a collection of personal essays and poems about natural Florida. In 2019, he was one of thirty-two recipients nationwide of an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, awarded to support the writing of his forthcoming book, The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird, to be published by Liveright/W. W. Norton in March 2022.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Tae Keller
Tae Keller

Tae Keller, author of the Newbery winning When you Trap a Tiger, grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she subsisted on kimchi, purple rice, and stories.

Now, Tae writes about biracial girls trying to find their voices, and lives in Seattle with her husband and a multitude of books.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Steve
Steve Wind-Mozley

“More stories, better told” is far more than a marketing tag line for Steve Wind-Mozley. It is a personal lifelong quest, a raison d'etre.

Steve’s early years were spent in a children’s home that featured a bookcase. On that shelf were just two books but they opened up a world of intrigue and wonder tinged with a lasting regret that there were not more stories on the shelf. Adopted by passionate educators, books became a firm staple of Steve’s later childhood, feeding a curiosity about the world, people and commerce. Upon graduation from having studied Business Administration, Steve entered the world of retail management as a Graduate Trainee for the UK’s largest cooperative. A move to Marks & Spencer at the dawn of the Internet age positioned him to help pioneer eCommerce and digital marketing operations and sparked an obsession with using technology and data to tell better stories. Steve went on to lead high-performing, data-driven eCommerce and marketing functions across a variety of sectors including broadcasting, games entertainment, and telecommunications including stops at the Game Group PLC, BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios), and the telco giant Virgin Media Business. An encounter with Vizrt CEO, Michael Hallėn, led to his dream job – merging a personal and professional purpose by empowering storytellers the world-over with the best software-based tools on the planet to ensure, “more stories, better told!”

World Literacy Awards 2021 Leonora LaPeter Anton
Leonora La Peter

Leonora LaPeter Anton  is a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times , where she focuses on investigative and narrative stories.

She was part of a team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for a series about violent conditions inside Florida’s mental hospitals. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she moved to Florida early in her career and kept coming back, drawn to its year-round lifestyle and vibrant stories. Leonora has been a journalist for 32 years at five different newspapers in the  Southeast.   She lives in a bungalow in St. Petersburg, Fl., with her husband, two cats, and a dog.

World Literacy Awards 2021 Eliza Griswold
Eliza Griswold

Eliza Griswold is a contributing writer for The New Yorker who covers religion, politics, and the environment.

She has written and translated four books of nonfiction and poetry. She is the author, most recently, of “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America,” a 2018 Times Notable Book and a Times Critics’ Pick, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, in 2019. Griswold has held fellowships at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New America Foundation, among others, and has been awarded various prizes, including the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, a pen Translation Prize, and the Rome Prize for her poetry. Her second book of poems, “If Men, Then,” was published in 2020. She is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University

World Literacy Awards 2021 Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley is the No.1 Sunday Times and Irish Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party and The Guest List, which has now sold over a million copies worldwide.

Previously a fiction editor in the publishing industry, Lucy now writes full time. Her novels have been translated into over 36 languages and her journalism has appeared in publications such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia, ES Magazine, Vogue US, Elle, Tatler and Marie Claire 



World Literacy Awards 2021 Dr Heather Ann Thompson
Dr. Heather Ann Thompson

Heather Ann Thompson is a historian and the author of Whose Detroit: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City, and Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 which.

won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, received a rarely-given Honorable Mention for the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association and won five additional book prizes. Thompson is also a public intellectual who writes for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, TIME, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Jacobin, The Atlantic, Salon, Dissent, NBC, New Labor Forum, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post, as well as award-winning articles for the top publications in her field. In 2021 Thompson was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to write her next book: Bullet and Burn: The Move Bombing of 1985 and Law and Order America

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