Our City of Literature
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In this final session, the Senate Estimates committee will have the opportunity to grill members of the House of Representatives directly, one perspiring brow at a time.
Parliamentary privilege will be invoked and questions will be taken on notice. The Parliament will finish with a new constitution, articulating a vision of our City of Literature in 2030.
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 Zisin is a 20-year-old activist, student, writer and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex and sexuality.
Assigned female at birth, Nevo has had a complex relationship with gender, transitioning as male, undergoing different medical interventions and now identifying outside of a female/male gender binary.
They work particularly with children as a youth leader and through running programs and workshops in schools. They are also a contact point in the Jewish community for other children and families confronting issues of gender and sexuality in their own lives. Finding Nevo is their first book.
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 Vice President of the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Victorian Branch, the Treasurer of the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV), and a member of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Children and Youth Services committee. Karys also makes zines about books, feminism and love.
Bridget is a Jingli Mudburra writer, editor, artist and activist. She is currently Managing Editor of Blak Brow, a First Nations issue of literary journal 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.
Elena Gomez is a poet and book editor living in Melbourne. She is the author of Body of Work and a number of chapbooks.
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. In Get Krack!n he also appears as Matthew, the Kates' very tired PA. He was chosen as a 2018 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow to work on Invalid Memoir, a collection of autofiction essays about disability and the entertainment industry. He has had commentary, criticism and satire published by SBS, ACMI Ideas, un Magazine, Archer and more. Follow him on Twitter.
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 Melbourne-based comics artist. Her comics and illustrations have been published widely, including by the Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging, the Stella Prize and Cordite Poetry Review. She is the co-editor of Comic Sans, a new serialised anthology of Australian comics with a focus on real life and fresh voices. She holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from RMIT University. Her first book, Swimsuit, is being published by Glom Press in November.
Sophie Cunningham is a former publisher and editor and the author of four books, including the acclaimed Melbourne.
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 was born of a French mother and a Larrakia, Kungarrakan and Gurindji father. Her poetry and short memoir often reflects the intersectionality of her cross cultural and queer identity. She was fortunate enough to contribute to the book Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives as and won the Indigenous residency for Canberra's Noted Writers Festival 2017. Laniyuk received Overland’s Writers Residency for 2018 and was shortlisted for Overland’s 2018 Nakata-Brophy poetry prize.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre.
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.