Did you know that Melbourne is an official UNESCO City of Literature?
In 2008, Melbourne joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network when it was designated the first and only City of Literature in Australia, and the second in the world. There are currently thirty-nine Cities of Literature in total, spanning twenty-eight countries and six continents; from Reykjavík in Iceland, to Manchester in the UK, and Iowa City and Seattle in the US.
You don’t need to tell us twice that Melbourne deserves it’s place in the Creative Cities Network, and you can read a little more about what the designation means from Melbourne City of Literature here.
Bookstores in Melbourne
At Hidden Secrets we believe in supporting and shining a light on small and independent small businesses, and we acknowledge that independent bookstores and booksellers contribute to Melbourne’s rich literary community through the hosting of events and launches and the championing of local authors.
Independent bookstores have been quick to adapt to the changing landscape, so while some may have closed their doors or reduced browsing hours during COVID-19 they have extended their services to include pick-up, free or discounted local delivery, as well as postal options to booklovers who may find themselves with a tad more time on their hands.
In the spirit of Back Your Bookshop, the movement to support local Australian bookshops doing, we’d like to highlight some of our Melbourne City favourites.
In between tours the Hidden Secrets team regularly love to browse the bookshelves of Readings in the State Library of Victoria, along with it’s flagship store in Carlton.
We adore both the beauties at the top end of Bourke Street - Hill of Content (the meeting point of our Cafe & Coffee Culture Walk) and Paperback Books.
Then there is the delightful Metropolis hidden inside Curtin House, with it’s focus on graphic design, architecture, photography, popular culture, fashion, film, music and art books .
For rare and secondhand wonders it’s hard to go beyond Kay Craddock – Antiquarian Bookseller.
Outside of the city and want to support your local?
You can find a map of Melbourne & Victorian booksellers offering delivery and postage services here, and there’s a huge roundup of bookstores here.
While some Victorian writers festivals have postponed their events until 2021, like Bendigo Writers Festival and Clunes Booktown Festival, others are taking thier festivals online.
The Yarra Valley Writers Festival has taken their program online, with a full day of streaming with authors on May 9 2020 such as Tony Birch, Alice Pung, Rick Morton, Christos Tsiolkas and Claire Bowdich. Tickets available here.
The Emerging Writers Festival is taking their entire festival online 16-23 June. This festival allows for opportunities for emerging writers, and supports them to engage with new and larger audiences.
And while the Melbourne Writer’s Festival has announced an online program for its upcoming festival across 7–16 August 2020, you can catch up with some of last year’s best events here, from Ben Folds to Ben Quilty.
Some other suggestions via our libraries and bookish institutions
You can check out a podcast or two or three -
We suggest Desert Island Books from City of Melbourne Libraries – Catch up with Melbourne identities as they share what they would read on their desert island, hosted by librarian Natalie Mason.
If you’re more into the writing side of things then there’s The Garret: Writers on Writing with Astrid Edwards, in partnership with State Library of Victoria, Writers Victoria and RMIT University.
The Wheeler Centre of Books, Writing and Ideas has a whole slew of past events recorded and available to watch or listen to here, along with upcoming online live-stream events here.
You can also explore the State Library of Victoria from the comfort of your own home with their online galleries including past and present exhibitions here.
Finally, if you’d be interested in Melbourne tours with a literary focus in the future, please sign up to our newsletter here , as we’re always looking to develop our tours and special event tours to cover what interests you.