Our City of Literature
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Beginning Day Two, our Parliament will reconvene to consider possible futures of our literary city. This time, we’re in the upper house with a City of Literature Senate.
Our senators will introduce themselves with readings and short performances. Then, they’ll consider the bills put to them by the House of Representatives, lead a forward-looking discussion and pass verdict on this bookish city’s potential.
Presented in partnership with the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office.
Adolfo Aranjuez is editor of film and media periodical Metro and editor-in-chief of sexuality and gender magazine Archer. He is also a freelance writer, speaker and dancer. Adolfo’s nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Meanjin, Overland, Right Now, the Manila Review, Cordite and elsewhere, and he has worked with and performed for various organisations including the Melbourne Writers Festival, Midsumma, ABC TV and the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Leah Jing McIntosh is a writer and photographer. In 2016, she founded Liminal magazine, a space for the exploration of the Asian-Australian experience. In 2019, she is launching the Liminal Fiction Prize for Australian Writers of Colour.
Her essays and fiction have appeared in the Saturday Paper, the Lifted Brow, Swampland, and Archer. Recently, she was awarded a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, and has completed the FCAC Emerging Cultural Leaders program. She is a 2019 Victorian Nominee for Young Australian of the Year.
Nevo is a Jewish, queer, non-binary writer, activist and public speaker based in Naarm/Birraranga/Melbourne. With a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex, culture and sexuality, they run workshops in schools and workplaces around trans issues. They are also the author of the award-winning book Finding Nevo, a memoir on gender transition, and a contributor to Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA stories.
Hella Ibrahim is an editor with a passion for activism through writing and publishing. She works as a project editor at an education publishing company on weekdays, and is the founder and editorial director of Djed Press, an online publication that provides a paid platform for creators of colour.
Karys McEwen is a school librarian in Melbourne. She is an avid reader of young adult fiction, and is particularly passionate about the role of libraries and literature in the wellbeing of young people. Karys is the President of the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Victorian Branch and the 2019 columnist for Books+Publishing Junior.
Bridget Caldwell-Bright is a Jingili Mudburra writer and editor based in Melbourne. She works as a freelance editor for Hardie Grant Books as well as commissioning editor for literary journal the Lifted Brow. She was previously co-editor for Archer magazine’s First Nations Edition and managing editor for Blak Brow, a Black Women's Collective edition of the Lifted Brow.
Amy Vuleta has spent most of her bookselling career hosting bookclubs, panels, events and discussions about books, literature, publishing and ideas. She reads widely, is currently training to be a high school teacher, and occasionally writes about art.
Gene Smith is Program Manager at Melbourne Writers Festival, and is a literary programmer, producer, writer and voracious reader.
Prior to Melbourne Writers Festival, he worked at other major Australian cultural organisations including the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Writers’ Festival. He is a current participant in Midsumma Festival’s Midsumma Futures mentorship programme for emerging queer artists and culture-makers.
Alistair Baldwin is a writer and comedian based in Naarm/Melbourne. He has written for ABC’s The Weekly, Hard Quiz and Get Krack!n (the latter of which he also stars in as a very tired P.A.). In 2019 his play Lame was performed at Southbank Theatre as part of Melbourne Theatre Company's First Stage initiative. He is a former Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, and has had work published by ACMI Ideas, un. Magazine, Art + Australia, Archer, SBS and more.
Elena Gomez is a poet and book editor living in Melbourne. She is the author of Body of Work and a number of chapbooks.
Jessica Knight is a writer, performer and comedian based in Melbourne. She has appeared in The Emerging Writers Festival, Red Dirt Poetry Festival. Her writing has appeared in Meanjin and Scum Mag. Jessica is a 2018 recipient of a Creative Victoria grant that will help fund her one woman show, Mormon Girl, about growing up Mormon and how she disentangled herself from that belief system to became the unapologetic feminist she is today. Jess won this November's MOTH story slam by telling a five minute version of her Mormon Girl show.
Elyce Phillips makes comics, comedy and general nonsense. She teaches and performs regularly at The Improv Conspiracy, and her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s and Funny Ha Ha.
Rachel Ang is a comics artist from Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been published by the Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging, Meanjin, and The Lily/Washington Post. Her first book, Swimsuit, won a Silver Ledger Award for Excellence in Comics and Graphic Novels. She is the winner of the 2019 Woollahra Digital Literary Award for Fiction. She has a Masters Degree in Architecture.
Oslo Davis is an illustrator, cartoonist and artist who has drawn for a number of organisations worldwide, including the New York Times, the Age, the Monthly, Meanjin, SBS and the Guardian.
Anna Snoekstra is Melbourne-based novelist, and the author of Only Daughter – her debut book, published by Harlequin MIRA and optioned for film by Universal Pictures.
After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a cheesemonger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer.
Laniyuk is a writer and performer of poetry and short memoir. She contributed to the book Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives in 2015, has been published online in Djed Press and the Lifted Brow, as well as in poetry collections such as Solid Air (UQP 2019). She received Canberra’s Noted Writers Festival’s 2017 Indigenous Writers Residency, Overland’s 2018 Writers Residency and was shortlisted for Overland’s 2018 Nakata-Brophy poetry prize. She is Cordite Poetry Review's current Indigenous Engagement Editor, runs poetry workshops for festivals such as Girls Write Up, moderates panel discussions, and has given lectures at ANU and The University of Melbourne. She is currently completing her first collection of work to be published.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.
Didem is a writer, speaker and facilitator, who grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne. She is a writer of plays, essays and fiction.
Sam van Zweden is a Melbourne-based writer interested in memory, food, mental health and the body. Her writing has appeared in Meanjin, the Big Issue, the Lifted Brow, Cordite, The Wheeler Centre and others. Her work has been shortlisted for the Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers, the Lifted Brow and non/fictionLab Experimental Non-fiction Writing Prize and the Lord Mayor's Creative Writing Awards.
Based in Melbourne, Tariro is a multi-disciplinary storyteller, theatre maker, curator, cultural diversity and performance consultant, performance facilitator across performing arts, education, government, mental health, law enforcement and social justice. She graduated in 2011 from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, and received the Irene Mitchell Award for excellence in her final year.
Melbourne has always been a city of literature. Our population is bursting with rabid readers and writers. We have the best libraries, the coolest bookshops, the finest festivals and some truly pioneering publishers. Also, Monkey Grip is set here and we are the best at wearing turtlenecks.
So it made perfect sense when, in 2008, Melbourne joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and made it official – becoming a designated City of Literature in recognition of our literary spirit. Today, there are 28 cities of literature around the world, including Edinburgh, Krakow, Iowa City and Reykjavik. In November, we’ll mark the anniversary of our designation over three days of fun and gloriously indoor celebrations.
Come and hear stories of our storied city – then, join a debate about the past, present and future of Melbourne as a City of Literature. What literary trends were we preoccupied with ten years ago, and what will our bookish future look like? What’s it like to live here – are we complacent or spoiled? What does it really mean to be named a City of Literature – does it help or hinder our culture? We’ll nut it out in two-day event modelled around the idea of a city parliament.
Presented in partnership with the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office.