Skip to main content

Literally Melbourne

This weekend saw the opening of the Emerging Writers' Festival, a uniquely Melbourne event that was created to showcase "the best writers you haven't heard of yet". Friday's opening night First Word was a packed program that included hilarious sketches by List Operators, launching of the 48-Hour Play Generator, a Call to Arms from comic book writer Shane McCarthy and a hypothetical about the city's Centre for Books Writing and Ideas. And all this just on the opening night.

The ever-witty Michael Nolan hosted the hypothetical which looked at what the centre for Books Writing and Ideas could be as it prepares to open at the State Library of Voctoria later this year. There were a few digs at Readings becoming the official bookstore of the State Library of Victoria (the store's owner is a board member of the Centre) and some pointed remarks about it creating an ivory tower (from memory Nolan's delightful phrase was "Stalinism with good coffee"). Poet PiO was concerned about the lack of representation of poetry in the centre though this was confusing given that the Australian Poetry Centre is one of the centre's future tenants. He went on to ask The Age's literary editor, Jason Steger, why his book hadn't been reviewed in the paper.

The hypothetical format skips between debate and comedy so it wasn't the best way to discuss how the centre would work. This may have been the point made by Michael Williams, head of programming at the new centre, when he said that he hoped that interested people would be banging down his door to make sure the centre was representative. But, in keeping with the format, he also alluded to sorting out rivalries in the centre using cage fighting. Obviously the better forum to discus out why your book wasn't reviewed.

Melbourne is also showing off its City of Lit chops with the Independent Type exhibition running at the State Library. It's a impressive ramble through Victoria's publishing history ranging from kooky EW Cole to Lonely Planet patron saints, Tony and Maureen Wheeler.


  1. Have you painted your office George? Looks great...!

  2. Good luck with the festy. Why hasn't Voiceworks reviewed PiO's book?


Post a Comment