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Our City of Literature Parliament: Maiden Speeches

Read Wednesday, 10 Apr 2019

Presenting a selection of maiden speeches from our City of Literature Parliament sessions.

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Photograph of parliamentarians on the second day of the City of Literature Parliament, with Michael Williams standing at the lectern

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 2018, we marked the anniversary of our designation over three days of fun and gloriously indoor celebrations – including our two-day event modelled around the idea of a City of Literature Parliament. We brought together writers, librarians, publishers and booksellers to dive into various questions: 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? And what does it really mean to be named a City of Literature – does it help or hinder our culture? 

Below are a selection of the maiden speeches our parliamentarians delivered, covering history, comedy, children’s literature and more.

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