Celebrated for its vibrant literary culture, Melbourne supports a diverse range of writers, a prosperous publishing industry, a successful culture of independent bookselling, a wide variety of literary organisations, a well-established culture of reading and is actively involved in many events and festivals.
Melburnians consume more books, magazines and newspapers per capita than any other city in Australia and enjoy the highest concentration of community book clubs in the country. Moreover, the city has been home to some of Australia’s greatest writers, including Marcus Clarke, Peter Carey and Helen Garner.
Australia’s oldest public library, the State Library of Victoria, is located in Melbourne. Founded in 1854, it was the first major cultural institution established in Melbourne and now attracts over 1.7 million visitors annually. There are 289 local libraries in the State of Victoria, with 2.5 million members who borrow approximately 50 million items each year. Victorians of all ages are avid readers and almost half of all Victorians are library members. More Victorians read for pleasure than in any other State in Australia. Moreover, in 2014 over 230,000 children participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge, reading more than 4 million books all together.
Melbourne is home to an array of literary organisations, including Australian Poetry, Express Media, the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Small Press Network, Wheeler Centre and Writers Victoria.
As a Creative City of Literature, Melbourne envisages:
- providing a gateway to Australia, the Pacific and South East Asia;
- contributing to the continuous innovation in the digital presentation of writing and literature events; and
- strengthening Melbourne’s position as a leader in the support and development of young and emerging writers.