Melbourne: a City of Literature

Melbourne’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature is acknowledgment of the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the city’s 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 and a healthy culture of reading and engagement in events and festivals.

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The Wheeler Centre: bookshelf detail

  • The city is home to an array of literary organisations, including the Writers Victoria, Express Media, the Australian Poetry Centre, the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Emerging Writers' Festival.
  • It has the largest literary publishing sector in Australia and largest number of independents, with an exceptional mix of small, medium and large publishers
  • A third of all Australian bookstores are in Victoria, 41 per cent of Australian booksellers are based in Melbourne generating 43 per cent of total book sales in Australia
  • The city has been home to some Australia’s greatest writers, past and present including Marcus Clarke, C J Dennis, Peter Carey, Helen Garner, Christos Tsiolkas and Nam Le to name just a few
  • Nearly a third of all Australian writers live in Melbourne (approximately 1300) with 97,600 people identifying writing as a hobby
  • There are 287 local libraries in Victoria, with 2.5 million members who borrow around 50 million items each year
  • Melbourne is home to the State Library of Victoria, the first major cultural institution to be established in Melbourne since its founding in 1854, with over 1.5m visitors annually
  • Melburnians consume more books, magazines and newspapers per capita and enjoy the highest concentration of community book clubs in the country

Full details on Melbourne’s City of Literature credentials:

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• Melbourne’s City of Literature Office website

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City of Literature Calendar

Find out what’s going on in literary Melbourne – or add your own event. Visit the City of Literature Calendar.


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