The Wheeler Centre and Writer’s Victoria

The Wheeler Centre
176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
(03) 9094 7800

And
Writer’s Victoria

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Fax: 03 9650 8010
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm



The Wheeler Centre, located down the side street of the State Library, is a part of the Melbourne’s criteria as a City of Literature. I guess the Melbourne city council are modelling off Edinburgh, which is cool. Both places are Cities of Literature, both cities have international comedy festivals, it shall only be a matter of time before Melbourne embraces Scottish culture completely and kilts become mandatory for all formal occasions. 

In addition, instead of celebrating New Year’s Eve, we shall celebrate Hogmanay. What is Hogmanay you ask? Well it is the Scottish New Year Celebration and in Stonehaven, they make ball-like objects out of chicken wire, fill it with newspaper and sticks, attach about 3 feet of wire, chain or non-flammable rope, set it on fire and swing it about. In Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, they set a Viking longboat on fire, for no apparent reason. I, as an Australian, cannot help but think that this is something we should all be able to get behind.  

However, getting back on topic, The Wheeler Centre is a nexus of reading, writing, public speaking, books and author events.  The first time I went to the Wheeler Centre for an author event was when Michael Connelly came to Australia and, like the giddy fan-girl I am, I was so nervous that when I received an opportunity to ask a question, I babbled so fast I had to repeat my questions, twice. However, I shall always remember how I felt sitting in the audience, that there before me was not a god of books but very much a laid-back man made of flesh and blood, it was little surreal to talk to him and to find him so very normal.  

Then through my TAFE course, the Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing, I had a guided tour of the Wheeler Centre and found out that while level 1 is host to author events, writing workshops and public speaking events, level 3 on the other hand is host to Writer’s Victoria. Writer’s Victoria is a not-for-profit, government-funded organisation with a focus on Writers living in Victoria. I have signed up with the organisation and it cost me $68 for a yearly individual membership, though there are lots of membership options and choices. 

Writer’s Victoria Member benefits include:
• Access to Writers Victoria staff for information and advice
The Victorian Writer magazine, published ten times per year, with articles by writers on their craft, and the best round-up of competitions and opportunities. Recent topics include writing for the web, maintaining motivation, mentoring, manuscript assessment, publicity and more
• The weekly enews with writing news, events and opportunities
• Access to the Writers Victoria library’s great collection of writing-related reference books, literary magazines, and trade weeklies
• Up to three free classifieds a year in The Victorian Writer or enews
• Competition entry forms available from Writers Victoria
• Discounts on Writers Victoria services including:
• All Writers Victoria workshops and events
• Writers Victoria’s professional manuscript assessment service
• Rental of a writers’ studio at Glenfern and The Old Melbourne Gaol
• An extensive range of books for sale through Writers Victoria, including the Australian Writer’s Marketplace, A Decent Proposal and Australian Book Contracts

But one of the best things about joining Writer’s Victoria is that you can just rock up to the joint, sit down in the library, browse through the heaps of writing books they have available there, or just start writing, or both. Alternatively, if you want to do your writing in a group (even on the weekend), you can just email Writer’s Victoria and they will set aside a room for group writing activities. I figured with NaNoWriMo coming up in just a month, this might be the time to start organising, if that’s what you want to do. I truly recommend any writer currently living in Victoria, beginner or professional, to join up and reap the communal benefits. 

The Wheeler Centre is also host to the following organisations:
Emerging Writers’ Festival 
Melbourne Writers Festival 
Express Media 
Australian Poetry 
The Small Press Network 
Melbourne PEN Centre 

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