As world renowned Victorian-born writer Peter Carey said, 'Melbourne has always been a city of literature'.
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. As home to Australia’s publishing sector and to more Australian writers than another other city, literature has long been a key part of life in Melbourne – an attribute which was recognised, and celebrated, by UNESCO in 2008 when our city became part of the Creative Cities network.
Managed by the State Government of Victoria, Melbourne’s designation as the second international City of Literature has bolstered the literary sector and has given Government, public and private organisations a framework (and brand) within which to focus literary endeavour.
2010 saw the opening of The Wheeler Centre, the cornerstone of Melbourne’s City of Literature bid. This unique cultural institution is Australia’s only cultural centre dedicated to the discussion and practice of reading books, of writing and of ideas, and a unique model in the world. It provides a home for literary organisations and presents more than 1,000 literary events, and engages over 500 writers in its programs each year.
The State Government has boosted its annual Premier’s Literary Award program, and increased its support for writers with the creation of the Victorian Prize for Literature, Australia’s richest literary prize.
Readers and writers have also enjoyed an expanded program at our premier literary event, the Melbourne Writers Festival, which has more than doubled its audiences in recent years.
Melbourne has become an active member of the UNESCO network, partnering with our City of Literature counterparts on projects including literary residencies, conferences and children's writing competitions.
Melbourne's recognition by UNESCO was an achievement in its own right, and the past five years have revealed a new chapter for literature in our city. We continue to build on this success and ensure that the benefits of our City of Literature status continue to flow through our city, our state and beyond.
Hon Heidi Victoria MP / Minister for the Arts