UNESCO City of Literature office to open in Melbourne

City of Literature_editorialArts Minister the Hon Heidi Victoria MP joined Lord Mayor Robert Doyle at the launch of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, to reveal that a Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office will officially open in June.

A key focus of the office, to be located at the Wheeler Centre, will be to support and highlight the existing literary scene in Melbourne and Victoria. A Director of The City of Literature Office will be appointed to oversee the coordination and promotion of literary activity which celebrates Melbourne as a City of Literature, and also represent the city on the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Arts Minister Heidi Victoria said the office would build on the Victorian Government’s City of Literature initiative, which seeks to raise the profile and role of literature across the state.

“In 2008 UNESCO celebrated our capital city’s literary credentials by designating Melbourne as the world’s second City of Literature.”

“This designation recognised Melbourne’s literary strengths while also acknowledging the breadth of the literary sector across the state. The office will build on the work undertaken so far and will ensure that people, across this city, and the state, can embrace and truly feel part of our City of Literature.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the City of Melbourne is proud of the city’s cultural status and literary heritage.

“Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital and our literary sector is an enormous part of this. We are the home of emerging and established writers, novelists, poets, publishers and publications, book stores, libraries, new media, literary festivals, events, reading and writing groups.”

“This office will unite our literary sector and ensure that Melbourne’s literary scene is supported so we remain a city of words and story-telling well into the future,” the Lord Mayor said.

Director at the Wheeler Centre Michael Williams said: “Melbourne has demonstrated time and again the qualities that earned us the designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Consolidating these qualities with the creation of a dedicated office is the next step in this process, and a valuable affirmation from the City and the State of their commitment to books, writing and ideas.”

Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival Sam Twyford-Moore said the office created an opportunity to make Melbourne’s literary sector part of the global City of Literature network.

“The support that Melbourne and Victoria show emerging writers’ is truly unique and we look forward to closely working with the office to celebrate and share this story,” Sam said.

UNESCO’s City of Literature program is part of its Creative Cities Network, which was born out of UNESCO’s Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity initiative which aims promote social, economic and cultural development of cities.

For more information, visit: www.arts.vic.gov.au/cityofliterature for details.

Image: courtesy of Arts Victoria