Introducing the City of Literature Office

The Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office is tasked with serving the City of Literature.

The Office role involves supporting the work and networks that exist, nurturing and developing new opportunities and networks, making connections across industry and audiences and championing all things Melbourne as a City of Literature.

The Office has three broad areas of action that address the aims of the Creative City Network as well as the needs for Melbourne as a City of Literature:

  1. Connecting the City of Literature
  2. Reflecting the City of Literature
  3. Supporting the City of Literature

The Office works in three ways:

  • Strategic initiatives – one off programs that can cause a meaningful change in the City of Literature
  • Partnership programs – working with partners to deliver programs that have impact
  • International exchanges – initiatives that begin here in partnership with another Creative City then travel around the network.

The Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office is a joint initiative of Creative Victoria and City of Melbourne and is hosted by The Wheeler Centre.


 Creative Victoria The Wheeler Centre

The City of Literature Office in action

Opened in 2014 the Office works largely behind the scenes towards the Creative City goals as well as being the focal point for communications and reporting to UNESCO.

Past strategic initiatives have included the Booksellers in ResidenceTravel Fund, Known bookshops, the Lit map of Melbourne,  Reading Victoria, Sleipnir travels, Edinburgh Exchange and Writing our Melbourne. This website is a major initiative for the Office and is in a constant state of development, most recently with the addition of a Map and a newsletter for the events calendar

Past partnerships programs have included 20 minute Cities (with Digital Writers festival), Booked Up (with Emerging Writers' Festival)  D-Writers China (with Writers Victoria), Open Book (with Melbourne Fringe), Crafting a City of Literature (with the Melbourne Prize) Art Book Fair (with the NGV) and Visiting International Literary Programmers (with Melbourne Writers Festival)

Internationally the Office facilitates every request for Melbourne content that it receives. This has included MultiPoetry (in Krakow) The World  Poetry Book Poetic Encounters (with Heidelberg) and Geopolitical Crossings (Enghien las Bans).  The Office also publicizes every residency call out it receives via our News Alert list. The Office also publishes a quarterly newsletter for International friends as well as the annual snapshot of Melbourne publishing in Reading the City of Literature and Poetry in the City of Literature for distribution overseas. We were also the creator and first host for SlamOVision!

The Office has  mentored a number of emerging organizations and individuals, chaired some one off roundtables and holds an annual roundtable for regional literary programmers. The Office has supported many initiatives in their early stages, or with innovative exploratory international activity. These initiatives have included Books on the Rail, #LoveOzYA, The Lifted Brow, Funny Ha Ha and Peril Online Journal. We have partnered with initiatives like Blak and Bright and Literary Commons in delivering their programs and we champion literature, writers and writing wherever and whenever we can.

Also we're on Facebook where we highlight a lot of activity from our sister Cities and we're on Twitter where we run activities like City of Lit Advent Calendar, Postcards from Cities of Literature and City of Literature recommends. 

Working with the City of Literature Office

The Office is committed to working with partners across the City of Literature in both enabling an active City of Literature as well as in achieving the Office's strategic priorities.

Any partnership or support from the Office will be judged on the impact to the City, impact to the partner and the sustainability. The Office is not resourced to have an ongoing relationship or provide ongoing support. The Office is not interested in working on initiatives which replicate what is already provided within the City.

While the Office has provided one-off funding initiatives previously, and may in the future, its primary goal is not as a funder. Also the Office is not strictly an organisation, and as such is not placed to provide sponsorship for events.

The Office occasionally calls out for application for its initiatives from individuals and organisations. Check here.

Keen to know more or want to discuss how the Office can work with you? Contact the Director of the Melbourne City of Literature Office David Ryding.