Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city and the capital of the State of Victoria, is widely acknowledged as Australia’s cultural capital. From the times the State Library of Victoria was founded in 1854 as the first major cultural institution in the city till today, Melbourne continues its long cherished literary tradition. It is foremost recognized for its rich literary culture, history and creative talent.
The city boasts the largest literary publishing sector in Australia, showcased by more bookshops and readers than anywhere else in the country. It hosts a wide range of literary festivals, including Melbourne Writers’ Festival, the Overload Poetry Festival, the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures and the Emerging Writers’ Festival.
With its new title and status, the city aims to increase its international profile by increasing its commitment to literary life. It expects to draw new audiences and participation, local and international, in the variety of literary activities and create new partnership initiatives across public, private and civil society sectors as well as in cooperation with the other member cities of the network. As a part of its bid to be a UNESCO City, the Victorian Government has also increased its financial support for projects such as the establishment of a Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas and the expansion of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.