Melbourne’s relationship with writing has deep roots, stemming back to First Nations storytelling as a means to preserve history, lineage, culture and knowledges. Since then, many writers have challenged, considered or reflected upon life here, leading to a rich and diverse history of writers.

John Kinsella once wrote about ‘Australian’ literature that ‘… there is no one Australia and never has been. Neither is there an English-language-only Australia…’. This rings true for Melbourne, which is home to many different types of literature, writers and stories.

In the state that boasts the most readers in Australia, it makes sense that this city is home to many accomplished and internationally recognised writers such as Helen Garner, Tony Birch, Jennifer Down, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Kerry Greenwood, Christos Tsiolkas, Brian Castro and many, many others. This city also has some of Australia’s best YA and children’s fiction writers, such as Andy Griffiths, Paul Jennings, Shaun Tan, Sonya Hartnett, Alice Pung, and more.

There are many organisations that support our thriving writing and publishing industry. One of these is Writers Victoria, the state’s largest organisation for supporting writers. Express Media supports young writers through many developmental and publishing opportunities, such as Toolkits and Voiceworks. Australian Publishers Association (APA) and Small Press Network (SPN) are committed to ensuring that publishing thrives, bringing writers to readers all over Victoria and beyond.

Melbourne’s talented pool of writers is celebrated and acknowledged by many literary awards that span genre, form and style. Inaugurated in 1985 to mark the centenary of the births of Vance and Nettie Palmer (a formidable literary duo who deeply influenced Australian literature), the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards‘ suite includes the Victorian Prize for Literature. This prize is worth $100,000 and is the single most valuable literary award in this country. 

There are many other prizes that celebrate writers, such as the Stella Prize, SPN Book of the Year Award, Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers and Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and more.