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
Books and Ideas at Montalto
In a media environment crowded with polemicists and opinionators, George Megalogenis is something of an outlier. His commentary is relentlessly, rigorously – and somehow compellingly – even-handed.
An award-winning, veteran journalist who served for many years as a senior feature writer at News Ltd, his analysis of Australian political, economic and demographic history is indispensable. Megalogenis has been described by Annabel Crabb as ‘Australia’s best explainer’ and in recent years he’s applied that gift to the medium of documentary, writing and presenting two acclaimed ABC productions: Making Australia Great and Life Wasn’t Meant to Be Easy. Megalogenis is still writing books, too. For his most recent, Australia’s Second Chance, he looked back to 1788, tracing our political and economic history and crunching the numbers to present a narrative of resilience, missed opportunity and latent potential.
Megalogenis joins Sally Warhaft to discuss his latest book, his body of work and the challenges and freedoms of working across television and print media.
Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.
The Fifth Estate
Sally Warhaft and Kerry O'Brien — Photo: Jon Tjhia
Kerry O'Brien at the Wheeler Centre — Photo: Jon Tjhia
‘We absolutely cannot make any assumptions about the future of democracy in this country.’Kerry O'Brien, in conversation with Sally Warhaft
He’s interviewed Nelson Mandela, David Bowie, Margaret Thatcher, Herbie Hancock and Mikhail Gorbachev. As a journalist, he’s watched 13 Australian prime ministers come and go and he’s personally interrogated most of them, live on The 7.30 Report. Kerry O’Brien is a singular figure in Australian journalism – a broadcast journalist, foreign correspondent, columnist and feature writer – who has interviewed some of the most influential Australian and global figures, across politics, art and sport over a career of 50 years.
In Kerry O’Brien: A Memoir he shares behind-the-scenes tales of talks with the likes of Tony Blair and the Dalai Lama as well as his insights on the social, political and media upheavals he’s witnessed up close.
Appearing in conversation with Sally Warhaft, O’Brien talks about what he’s learned from grilling the great, the good and the not-so-good over five decades.Subscribe to our podcasts Podcast series The Fifth Estate / History, politics & current affairs Podcast series The Wheeler Centre Podcast series The Messenger / Migration Podcast series Better Off Dead / Life & death Podcast series Books and Ideas at Montalto / Australian stories
The Wheeler Centre
Collective Spirit: First Nations Poetry
From left to right: Ali Cobby Eckermann, Ryan Prehn, Emily Munro-Harrison and Monica Karo — Photo: Anne Algar
‘The Christianity you hold so high / Is but a lie, / Justice a cant of hypocrites, content / With precedent.’ (Oodgeroo Noonuccal, in ‘Colour Bar’.)
Poetry has always been a powerful vehicle for ideas. As a genre, it’s often entangled with the moral and social conflicts of the age, and rich with references to politics, history, joy and pain. Forms like spoken word, lamentation and illumination offer unique critical possibilities. And for many First Nations Peoples, poetry has been an incredibly potent space for addressing country, relationships, community and identity.
This discussion, hosted by Ali Cobby Eckermann, showcases three emerging Victoria-based Indigenous poets – Monica Karo, Ryan Prehn and Emily Munro-Harrison – fresh from a residency at Kalang Retreat. They discuss their writing, the residency and poetic licence, and perform readings of their work.
This event is presented in partnership with Kalang Retreat. Collective Spirit is supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program, the Victorian Government through Creative VicArts Grants and Australian Poetry.
The Fifth Estate
Sally Warhaft and Greg Sheridan
In 1966, 88% of Australians identified as Christian in the census. By the 2016 census, the proportion had dipped to 52%. The number of Christians who attend church regularly is even lower. How has Christianity gone from being at the centre of Australian cultural and social life to something that's important to a dwindling number of Australians?
In this Fifth Estate conversation, host Sally Warhaft is joined by journalist and author Greg Sheridan, whose new book, God Is Good for You, makes a case for the achievements of Christianity. He argues that the Judeo-Christian tradition can offer a framework for tackling our increasingly complex and connected world.
Through their discussion, Warhaft and Sheridan talk morality, hope, disillusion and the changing shape of faith today.
The Show of the Year 2018
Line up your partridges and your pear trees – 2018’s almost done with us. Feeling confused? Foggy on the details? Hark! The Wheeler Centre’s Show of the Year is here to help you reflect, review and revel in the year that was – with a little help from our friends.
Sports fans were spoiled with a FIFA World Cup, the Pyeongchang…
Anything and everything in Australia from across our archives.
Kim Scott First Indigenous Commonwealth Winner
Congratulations to Kim Scott, who has been named the winner of the southeast Asia and Pacific regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Nominated for his novel, That Deadman Dance, Scott thus becomes eligible to win the overall prize.
Scott is an indigenous Western Australian writer - a descendant of the Noongar people - and he previously won the Miles Franklin Award in 2000 for his…
New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism
Media Policy: Has Australia Got One, and Does it Need One?
Explore these other subjects, across our site.