Did you know that here in Melbourne we have a centre for Books, Writing and Ideas? It’s called the Wheeler Centre and it’s situated on Little Lonsdale Street just around the corner from the State Library. As it’s website proudly proclaims, it is “a Victorian Government initiative and the centrepiece of Melbourne’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.”
The Wheeler Centre is home to…
- The Victorian Writers’ Centre
- The Emerging Writers’ Festival
- SPUNC (The Small Press Network)
- Express Media
- Australian Poetry
- The Melbourne Writers Festival
- Melbourne PEN
- Overload Poetry Festival
The Wheeler Centre hosts a large array of writing and reading related activities, including regular events such as Lunchbox/Soapbox, Texts in the City and Debut Mondays.
Debut Mondays is a really interesting idea. Once a month, get four debut writers, working in very different fields, and let each of them to do a ten minute reading. As a result, the audience is exposed to a variety of styles and genres they would not otherwise necessarily read.
Last Monday I had the great pleasure of being one of the fours writers featured in March’s Debut Monday event. Krystin Low read from her first published short story, which appeared in Voiceworks magazine. Meg Mundell read from her first novel, Black Glass. Angela Smith read from her first poetry collection The Geometry of Flight. And I read from my first novel, Gamers’ Quest. So the audience got a small taste of short fiction, poetry, a literary novel and a teen novel. Quite a mixed bag. After the readings, the writers got a chance to mingle with the audience members over drinks.
I had a great time. It was a terrific opportunity for me to introduce my teen novel to an adult audience, and it was also a good opportunity for me to listen to other writers reading their work. It introduced to me some writing that I would probably not have otherwise heard of. I don’t tend to read a lot of poetry, for instance. Of what I have read, I tend to like the classics (Wordsworth, Keates, that sort of stuff), while not being all that fond of contemporary poetry, which I have mostly found to be either self-indulgent or confoundingly obscure. So I was pleasantly surprised by Angelas Smith. Her poetry was accessible and heartfelt, and very well read. I enjoyed listening to her and to the other two writers.
So, if you happen to find yourself in the Melbourne CBD on Monday 18 April, why not pop into the Wheeler Centre for their next Debut Monday event, to hear Elisabeth Holdsworth, Mara Coson, Felicity Everett and Leah Swann reading their work. And check out the Wheeler Centre’s Calendar of Events to find out what else they have planned in the upcoming months.
Catch ya later, George
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