Melbourne Rare Book Week

MRBW14_MediaRelease_07-14Commencing in 2012 as a partnership between the Australian & New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions, and featuring over 40 free events throughout Melbourne, Rare Book Week has become a major attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage.

Learn about literary take-downs, Charles Joseph La Trobe and Redmond Barry, Samuel Johnson, 19th century medical quackery, how beautiful books, prints and maps are made, the Robin Hood myth, colonial crime and punishment, syphilis as a forerunner of AIDS, what and why people collect books and print on paper – and what your treasured items are really worth.

Listen to an eclectic program of speakers including renowned author Robyn Annear will chart a queasy course through the rich history of quackery and questionable cures in 19th century Melbourne, which will be complemented later in the week by an insight into the little-known, but stunning, library amassed by Dr Leslie Cowlishaw to demonstrate the development of medicine out of witchcraft and mumbo-jumbo into an art, and then into a science

Visit Melbourne’s wonderful libraries – from the newest Library at The Dock to our oldest institutions – and numerous venues at the University of Melbourne as it opens its doors for the biennial Cultural Treasures Festival, Visit the Melbourne Museum at their Rare Book Discovery Day to view and discuss rare maps, prints and illustrations from nautical charts, exotic woodpeckers and birds of paradise to radicals, slayers and villains.

View the intricate world of book sculpture through two lectures and a residency by book sculptor Kyoko Imazu, whose amazing tunnel books will illuminate the Melbourne Athenaeum Library, or experience the synergy between the performing arts and the printed word—the way in which words can be interpreted in music and song and how physical books can become an art form.

Melbourne Rare Book Week culminates in the ANZAAB Australian Antiquarian Book Fair (Melbourne Rare Book Fair), held in the University of Melbourne’s historic Wilson Hall during the last weekend of July, coinciding with the biennial University of Melbourne Cultural Treasures Festival and the annual Open House Melbourne.

The 2014 Melbourne Rare Book Week runs 17 – 27 July. For more information and complete program, visit: for details.