The Wheeler Centre
Our City of Literature: Ten Stories of Melbourne
Eloise Grills at the Deakin Edge — Photo: Jon Tjhia
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.
For the tenth anniversary of this designation, we kicked off the celebrations with a gala night of readings and storytelling at Deakin Edge. We heard from ten brilliant writers – both established and emerging – who have made Melbourne home for either a short time or a lifetime. Where, for them, does Melbourne come alive on the page? Which classic stories and scenes of Melbourne are part of our literary DNA, and how are a new generation of writers remaking the city with words?
In order of appearance … hear from Alice Pung, Tony Birch, Jane Rawson, Eloise Grills, Moreno Giovannoni, Jennifer Down, Alexis Wright, Patricia Cornelius, Andy Griffiths and Sumudu Samarawickrama.
This event was presented in partnership with the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office.
Select an image to view in detail
Hot Desk Extract: K - Box
An excerpt from Ra Chapman's K - Box, a play drawing on her own experience as an inter-country adoptee, and her work and research with Korean-Australian adoptee networks, to tell a story of how a young woman finds herself inside and outside of a culture, stuck in between two…
The Wheeler Centre
Stories from Home: Layla and Majnun: A Persian Love Story
Serpil Senelmis, Aida Huseynova and Shokoofeh Azar
An ancient, epic tale of star-crossed lovers, Layla and Majnun is more than 1000 years old. The story is revived at this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival, in a magnificent dance production choreographed by Mark Morris.
As a complement to these performances, the Wheeler Centre hosted a conversation about the significance of the Layla and Majnun legend, in the past and today, and on the nature of Persian storytelling traditions more broadly.
Hear from musicologist Aida Huseynova, an expert in the music and culture of Azerbaijan, who consulted on the Layla and Majnun production; and from Shokoofeh Azar, acclaimed author of The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree, who drew on Persian legends when writing her Stella Prize-shortlisted novel.
With host Serpil Senelmis, the pair discuss deep, burning love in Persian storytelling, the traditions of mugham music, and the role of adaptation and interpretation in keeping traditional stories alive.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne International Arts Festival.
Woolf and Wilde: A Queer Party
Has it really been four years since the last Woolf and Wilde party? Don’t worry, we haven’t changed a bit. Still weird, wilde and woolfy after all this time.
As the cherry on top of another fantastic Melbourne Fringe, we're inviting you, once again, to party with some of the festival’s brightest LGBTQ+ stars, including Creatrix Tiara, Selina Jenkins and…
Stories from Home
Gabrielle Wang: A Ghost in My Suitcase
Ghosts, secrets, travel and adventure – Gabrielle Wang’s spooky, page-turning young adult novel A Ghost in My Suitcase is now a thrilling theatre production.
It’s the story of 13-year-old Celeste, who travels to China to visit her grandmother and uncovers a family secret there. Ultimately, Celeste must learn to make use of her strange, powerful gift as a ghost-hunter.
Alia Shawkat in Conversation
It's almost like that episode of Arrested Development when Maeby accompanies her father to an audition, and ends up becoming a film exec: Alia Shawkat is calling the shots.
Maeby Fünke, the droll teenage con-artist, was of course the role that made Shawkat famous. In the years since the original Arrested Development series wrapped, Shawkat has sought out offbeat roles…
Anything and everything in Theatre from across our archives.
The Morning After - Making Models: The Collaborative Art of Wendy Ewald, The Somali Peace Band and Disarm
Explore these other subjects, across our site.