Wheeler Centre

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Wheeler Centre
Melbourne 2011 019 cr pc.jpg
ChairmanSusan Oliver
DirectorMichael Williams
LocationMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Address176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne 3000

The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas is a literary and publishing centre founded as part of Melbourne's bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature.[1] Opened in 2010, the centre is housed in the southern wing of the State Library of Victoria. As well as programming literary events, debates and awards, the centre hosts literary organisations including the Australian Poetry, Emerging Writers' Festival, Express Media, Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne City of Literature Office, Small Press Network and Writers Victoria.

Staff and board[edit]

In October 2008 the centre's board of directors was appointed including Eric Beecher (chair), Peter Biggs, Joanna Murray-Smith, Reading's owner Mark Rubbo, Penguin Australia managing director Gabrielle Coyne and Andrew Hagger.[2] Initially Caro Llewellyn was appointed director of the centre, but she soon left the position citing personal reasons. In February 2009, Chrissy Sharp became the centre's new director.[3] In April 2009, Michael Williams was appointed head of programming. [4] When Sharp left in 2011, Williams became director of the organisation.


In 2008, Melbourne was designated a UNESCO City of Literature, and this heralded the establishment of the Centre of Books, Writing and Ideas by the Victorian state government.[citation needed]

On 26 November the centre was renamed "The Wheeler Centre" after a donation by Lonely Planet founders, Tony Wheeler and Maureen Wheeler.[5]

The Wheeler Centre officially opened on 12 February 2010 with a gala night of storytelling[6] featuring several of Australia's most significant writers and performers including Paul Kelly, David Malouf, Cate Kennedy, John Safran and Shane Maloney.


The centre presents several one-off events with speakers including Irvine Welsh, Peter Carey and Naomi Wolf in co-operation with resident organisations and external partners including Sydney Writers' Festival and the ABC. The Meanland series of talks is a partnership with literary journals Overland and Meanjin that look at how books will be affected by technological change.

Regular events[edit]

The centre hosts regular monthly events, many of which are free. Debut Mondays features several first-time writers reading brief samples of their work. Reading on Vocation is a series about writing about work featuring professionals from various industries presented in partnership with ABC Radio National's Book Show by Ramona Koval. Lunchbox/Sopabox is "an old-fashioned Speakers' Corner in the middle of the city"[7] allowing guests to present their views on a variety of issues. The Writer's Mixtape is produced in partnership with radio station 3RRR as an interview series with a writer talking about music that influences their work.

From 2014 the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards will be presented in January as an annual event for the Centre.[8]


  1. ^ "The Wheeler Centre: Books, Writing and Ideas".
  2. ^ "Board Announced for Australia's First Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas".
  3. ^ "Return of the Aussie posse - the couple with bright ideas head south".
  4. ^ "Financial crisis may pay off - Books - Entertainment - theage.com.au".
  5. ^ Steger, Jason (27 November 2009). "Wheelers help turn new page at centre" – via The Age.
  6. ^ "Big Ideas - ABC TV".
  7. ^ http://wheelercentre.com/calendar/program/lunchbox-soapbox/
  8. ^ "About the Awards".

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°48′35″S 144°57′53″E / 37.809801°S 144.964787°E / -37.809801; 144.964787