Portrait of Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre.

Michael Williams is the Director of The Wheeler Centre, the world’s first public institution dedicated to the discussion and practice of books, writing and ideas.

Michael grew up in a family of avid readers, teachers and campaigners for social justice – which ‘absolutely informed’ the way he sees the world. He always knew he wanted to work in books, but took a while to figure out how to make that into a job.

A temporary job as an editorial assistant at Text Publishing grew into a seven-year ‘publishing apprenticeship’, during which he worked in all aspects of the business, from publicity and international rights to commissioning and editing.

In 2008, Michael left for New York, where he took on an internship at a literary scout’s office. When he returned to Melbourne, he freelanced for pretty much every publishing house in Australia – before taking a seeming career diversion into broadcasting, as one of Triple R’s Breakfasters.

‘At its best, publishing is about communicating an idea to its natural audience,’ he says. ‘Radio is exactly the same thing.’

He left his dream job for another dream job in 2009, when he became the Head of Programming at the Wheeler Centre – and its second-ever staff member, after inaugural Director Chrissy Sharp.

In 2011, aged 32 years old, Michael became Director of the Wheeler Centre.

From 2014 to 2016, he presented Blueprint for Living, a weekly show on RN. He lives in Brunswick with his wife and two children.

Photo credit: Tim Grey