Overview

Literature

Read up on what makes Melbourne a world literary capital and UNESCO City of Literature. Uncover the best literary festivals, bookshops, bookish cafes and literary haunts for lovers of the written word.

Literary festivals

Meet and hear local writers and international talent at Melbourne's major literary events, including Melbourne Writers Festival, Overload Poetry Festival, the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures, the Digital Writers Festival and the Emerging Writers Festival.

Other literary festivals take place year-round across Victoria. See our regional events pages for details.

SLV and the Wheeler Centre

The iconic historic dome of the State Library of Victoria continues to inspire generations of writers, artists, researchers, students and visitors. It’s the oldest free public library in Australia. The SLV provides a kids hub and reading rooms, hosts word-loving exhibitions, and houses Readings bookshop, Mr Tulk cafe, and the Centre for Youth Literature.

The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas runs a page-turning list of events year-round, including book launches, writers’ talks and debates. It’s a hub for writing and literature, and brings together Writers Victoria and other key literary organisations under its roof. Right downstairs is The Moat bar and restaurant for literary musings.

Literary laneways

You'll find writerly spaces in the Flinders Lane precinct bounded by Swanston and Elizabeth Streets. Look for Collected Works Bookshop, Aboriginal Literacy Foundation, Centre for Adult Education, City Library and literary-leaning Journal cafe.

Publishers

Multinational publishers Penguin Random House and Lonely Planet lead the local industry, joined by independents Text Publishing, Hardie Grant, Black Inc., Melbourne University Publishing, Scribe Publications, and numerous 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. Novelists, poets and intellectuals have drawn inspiration from its cultural heritage, landscape and bohemian community.

Literary Melburnians include Henry Handel Richardson, Germaine Greer, Raimond Gaita, poets Lisa Bellear, C.J. Dennis and Dorothy Porter, two-times Booker Prize winner Peter Carey and two-times Miles Franklin award winner Alex Miller. Numerous local writers have used the city and its suburbs as a literary canvas: Helen Garner, Christos Tsiolkas, Arnold Zable, Peter Temple, Emily Bitto and many more have set their stories here.

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