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Melbourne: UNESCO City of Literature

Since its foundation in 1854, State Library Victoria has been an active part of Melbourne's literary and cultural landscape, fostering scholarship and creativity, and preserving Victoria’s literary heritage and culture through its collection and programs.

The Library was a key supporter of the Victorian Government's bid for Melbourne to become a City of Literature within UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. This initiative was successfully realised in 2008, with Melbourne becoming the second city in the world to be awarded this status.

In 2021 the Library hosted Virtual Writer in Residence Sue Dymoke as part of UNESCO's innovative pilot program designed to unite writers across the world.

Melbourne’s City of Literature designation is an acknowledgement of its vibrant literary culture and communities, which include:

The Melbourne City of Literature office, a joint initiative of Creative Victoria and City of Melbourne, builds on this rich culture, developing, sustaining and promoting literary activity across the city and Victoria.

As the major repository of Victoria’s literary history and a centre for learning and literacy, creative endeavour and research, the Library shares the City of Literature's values and aspirations and supports these in many ways, including:

  • caring for and conserving a large rare books collection, including authors Shakespeare to Charles Darwin to Patrick White
  • holding events in the City of Literature calendar at the Library which encourage reading and writing at all ages
  • housing the offices of both the Melbourne City of Literature and Wheeler Centre.

Visit the Melbourne City of Literature website to explore more of Melbourne's literary features, attractions and highlights.