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Overview

Literature

Read up on what makes Melbourne an official world literary capital (having been bestowed the title of UNESCO City of Literature in August 2008) and get the fine print on the best haunts for lovers of the written word. It's Melbourne, so coffee is always involved.

Literary festivals

Come and meet local writers and the international talent lining up to join Melbourne's major literary events, including Melbourne Writers' Festival, Overload Poetry Festival, the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures, and the Emerging Writers' Festival. Other literary festivals and celebrations also take place throughout the year in towns across Victoria. See our regional events pages for details.

State Library and the Wheeler Centre

Start your journey through the pages of local literary culture and creative writing talent beneath the iconic 100-year-old dome at the State Library of Victoria. Having inspired generations of writers, artists, researchers, students and visitors, the state's oldest publicly funded cultural institution is also the oldest free public library in Australia, hence our literary cred. It's also a living library, with a kids hub, a reading room and home to intriguing exhibitions. The library is also home to the Centre for Youth Literature, producing events and a website for young readers and writers, a bookshop, and airy Mr Tulk cafe.

Devour the page-turning list of events taking place almost daily at the loftily titled Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, a hub for writing and literature that houses the Victorian Writers' Centre and other key literary organisations. Books are launched, ideas are debated and words are celebrated almost daily at the Wheeler Centre, and you can reload on caffeine and treats at the conveniently located Moat cafe.

Literary laneways

Many modern writers work in Melbourne's inner city, retreating to rooms above the streets and laneways. You'll find lots of space for writers and readers in the Flinders Lane precinct bounded by Swanston and Elizabeth streets. The Victorian Writers' Centre, Collected Works Bookshop, Aboriginal Literacy Foundation, Centre for Adult Education, Letterbox, and City Library are all here, as well as the literary-leaning Journal cafe.

Publishers

Multinational publishers like Penguin and Lonely Planet lead the local industry, joined by independents Text Publishing, Hardie Grant, Black Inc., Melbourne University Publishing, Scribe Publications, and other small presses and tiny publishers of books, journals and magazines.

Famous authors

Some of the world's most famous writers have called Melbourne home. Immigrant artists, writers and poets were drawn to Melbourne's early bohemian restaurants and bookshops. They planted the seeds for a vibrant cultural and intellectual community.

Famous 19th-century novelist Marcus Clarke, poets C.J. Dennis and Dorothy Porter, twice Booker Prize winner Peter Carey and two-times Miles Franklin award winner Alex Miller have earned recognition locally and abroad. Other literary Melburnians include Germaine Greer, Raimond Gaita, Helen Garner, Shane Maloney, and Henry Handel Richardson (Ethel Richardson).

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Discover

Literature

Literature

The Wheeler Centre

Play with words and hear from the country's best at Australia's first centre for books, writing and ideas, located in the State Library of Victoria.

Exhibitions

Melbourne Writers Festival

Prepare for larger-than-life characters and stories that leap off your page as talented writers descend on Melbourne to celebrate the written word.

26 Aug - 4 Sep 2016
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Explore

Libraries

Museums

The Melbourne Athenaeum Library

The Melbourne Athenaeum Library has a large collection of classic and current fiction titles plus non-fiction genres such as travel and history.

Literature

State Library of Victoria

Leaf through tomes and browse exhibitions in the Domed Reading Room at this grand library and enjoy the great program of events for kids and adults.

Literature

City Library

With a vibe more akin to a modern bookshop, this place will upend any lingering preconceptions you might have about libraries.

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Book breaks

Literature

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Art & culture

Art galleries

Make your way around Melbourne's 100-plus galleries, ranging from large public institutions to smaller commercial spaces and artist cooperatives.

Food & wine

Cafes

Follow the aromas of freshly extracted single origin coffee beans down cobblestoned laneways and into laid-back coffee strips for that caffeine buzz.

Shopping

Books and magazines

Melbourne boasts more bookshops per head than anywhere else in Australia. Browse independent retailers stocked to the rafters with lovely literature.

Art & culture

Theatre and musicals

See the big names of the stage in blockbuster productions at historic theatres, or catch new local talent on tiny stages in edgy theatres.