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Melbourne's Literary Life

Writing, publishing, retailing, reading, translating, public discussion

Melbourne has the highest concentration of bookshops and publishers in Australia and a proliferation of writers and readers.

In September 2008, the city succeeded in its bid to be recognised as the second 'City of Literature' by the United Nations' cultural arm, UNESCO.

The city's literary focus is the State Library of Victoria. It is Victoria's premier reference and research library, and its collections include over two million books, newspapers, pictures, maps and other references. Committed to supporting lifelong learning, the library is open to everyone every day. The domed La Trobe Reading Room houses the library's Australiana Collection and is a magnificent destination in its own right. If you need a break from reading and research, Mr Tulk Café, the library's onsite café named after its first librarian, is one of the best places in Melbourne for refreshment.

The Wheeler Centre: Books, Writing and Ideas - situated on four floors of the heritage-listed south wing of the State Library - is home to a number of key literary organisations, including the Victorian Writers' Centre, the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers' Festival, Express Media and Australian Poetry. It provides public spaces, venues for events, a café, and a bookshop.

A short walk from the library over Latrobe Street takes you to RMIT University's main city campus and the RMIT Gallery, one of Melbourne's most vibrant public art and design galleries. It presents a broad exhibition program, exploring all aspects of visual culture.

Installation shot from permanent exhibition 'Mirror of the World - Books and Ideas'. State Library of Victoria La Trobe Reading Chairs. La Trobe Reading Room, State Library of Victoria.