Edinburgh Asks What Makes a City of Literature

Currently visiting Melbourne, Director of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust Ali Bowden has been looking at our identity as a bookish burg. She sees Edinburgh UNESCO status as being “about telling the story of Edinburgh as a literary city, in all its rich detail”.

But how does Melbourne define itself against the Scottish city with writerly residents that range from JK Rowling to Robert Louis Stephenson? Bowden asked Wheeler Centre residents what the UNESCO status means to them.

Paul Kooperman from the Australian Poetry Centre reckons ‘It’s about celebrating our literature, our authors, find[ing] a way to work together as organisations for a common cause.’

For Scottish-born Jenny Niven, who is Melbourne Writers Festival programming manager, the Victorian capital’s bookish association was a draw-card. ‘Being a City of Literature was one of the reasons I came to work in Melbourne.’