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City of Literature Parliament

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by Olga Junek (subscribe)
I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
Event: -
No Politicians Here
Yes, you read the title correctly, it is Parliament, but don't worry this a Parliament of different sorts, no politicians as we know them, just people from all walks of the literary world seeing Melbourne as a City of Literature past, present, and future. Presented at The Wheeler Centre this 2-day sitting of Parliament ( 1.5 -2.5 hours each session) will surely prove to be informative, imaginative as well as a bit of fun. While it runs over two days, you can also attend single sessions and there is no cost involved.

Thursday 29th November
It's 2008. We're about to become a City of Literature but what does a literary city have to do and be? And what would a Parliament of the City of Literature look like? Step back in time and into the hypothetical chamber as the shape for Melbourne as a literary city is debated and hammered out (not literally).

Between 10 am -12.30 am, The Speaker of the House will formally open the first parliamentary session, call people to order and introduce the press gallery. Then, elected representatives from across the literary world including writers, librarians, publishers, and booksellers will be sworn in on a book of their choosing, before delivering maiden speeches outlining their visions for constituent readers and writers in Melbourne.

Between 1.30 - 4 pm, now it's time to take you back to the present and Parliament will take a look at the last 10 years and how far Melbourne has come or evolved as a City of Literature. And importantly, where will Melbourne be in the next 10 years in the literary sphere?

The House of Representatives will put together a set of hypothetical bills to govern the City of Literature for the next ten years, and you'll have a chance to vote both in the room and online for which bills should be considered by the Senate the following day.

Friday 30th November
From 10.30 am to 12 pm Parliament will reconvene to consider possible futures of our literary city. This time, attendees will be in the Upper House with a City of Literature Senate.

The senators will introduce themselves with readings and short performances. Then, they'll consider the bills put to them by the House of Representatives, lead a forward-looking discussion and pass verdict on this Melbourne's bookish potential.

In the final session between 1.30 - 4 pm, the Senate Estimates committee will have the opportunity to grill members of the House of Representatives directly, one difficult question at a time.

Parliamentary privilege will be invoked and questions will be taken on notice. The Parliament will finish with a new constitution, articulating a vision of our City of Literature in 2030.

This is a parliament of different sorts, with lots of fun and some frivolity thrown in for good measure. Best of all it's free but you do need to book.

Thursday morning session book here
Thursday afternoon session book here
Friday morning session book here
Friday afternoon session book here

You can read more about Melbourne as a Unesco City of Literature (2008) here.

City of Literature Parliament The Wheeler Centre Unesco City of Literature
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Why? A literary Parliament for all interested in the world of literature
When: 10.30 -12 and 1.30 - 4 pm
Where: 176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Cost: Free
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