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.
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.
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.
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.
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).