Literary Victoria

Victoria in story, memory, and the imagination. A guide to stories and works about Victoria and Victorians in fiction, personal narratives and non fiction works.

Your Librarian

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Sarah Matthews
Contact me via our online reference service citing my name and the title of this guide
Subjects: Maps, Maps - Australian


Maxine Briggs, Koorie Liaison Librarian

Tim Hogan, Victorian & Australian Published Collections

Elizabeth Payne, Digital Resources Graduate

Residence of Joseph Furphy, Shepparton

Residence of Joseph Furphy at SheppartonH8833

When author Joseph Furphy returned to Shepparton from the Riverina, he lived in a house in Welsford Street, the back of which faced the River Goulburn. Here, in a small room at the front right of the picture he wrote his book Such is Life.   

You can read more about the places where our writers lived, worked, drank and are buried in the Oxford Literary Guide to Australia. 

Awards and literary prizes

Victoria is home to a burgeoning number of literary prizes and awards, including the following:

Australian Book Review calibre essay prize

Founded in 2007, the Calibre Prize is one of the world’s leading prizes for a new non-fiction essay.

The Davitt awards

Named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud, the Davitt awards are presented annually by Sisters in Crime in recognition of the best crime books by Australian women.

The Dromkeen medal

The Dromkeen Medal is awarded annually to an Australian resident for outstanding achievement in the creation of Australian children's and young adult literature.

Lord mayor's creative writing award 

Annual awards established to support the talent and creativity of unpublished writers living in Victoria.

Melbourne prize for literature

The Melbourne prize for literature provides opportunities for Victorian writers, recognising and rewarding  literary creativity, skill and contribution.

Ned Kelly awards

Annual awards celebrating the best of Australia's published crime fiction and true crime writing

The Readings prize for new Australian fiction

An annual prize awarded by Readings bookstore to an outstanding new work of published fiction.

Victorian Premiers' literary awards

The Victorian Premier’s literary awards were inaugurated by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers.

To find out more about these awards, as well as other competitions and fellowships offered to Victorian writers, visit the Writers' Victoria website.

Many local councils also hold writing competitions, with prizes and awards on offer. They can be a great way to boost your writing CV!

Examples include: Boroondara Literary AwardsMy Brother Jack Awards, Wyndham Writing AwardsImagination Creation Writing Competition & What's your Story? Writing Competition.

Google your local council and keywords such as: writing competition to find one in your local area.


Victoria has a long and proud literary history. In 2008, Melbourne became only the second city in the world, after Edinburgh, to receive designation as a City of Literature within UNESCO's Creative Cities Network.

This guide will help you find literary works with a Victorian theme, from fiction and drama, to poetry, personal narratives and nonfiction works, dating from pre-settlement days up until today.

Use the tabs across the top of the page to find information about specific areas or browse the Melbourne poetry map -  a series of eight poetry walks through the Melbourne central business district.

Victoria Literary Map

You can find more literary maps of Victoria in our Maps collection. The Library's map collection is held in storage and can be viewed by contacting Library staff to arrange an appointment in the Heritage Collections Reading Room.

Literary podcasts


Features extended interviews and major features from the Australian book review (ABR) magazine, such as essays, reviews, and short stories, recorded and discussed by their authors.Each episode focuses on a different subject or author.


Bibliotherapy with State Library Victoria is a free, facilitated self-reflective approach, using stories and poems read aloud over a series of podcasts, to give everyone access to literature's healing power.

The bookshelf

The bookshelf is a Radio National podcast for dedicated readers and those who wished they read more.

The book show

The book show brings you in-depth conversations with the best fiction writers from Australia and around the world.

Conversations with writers

Longform intimate conversations with writers, with a focus on discovering what has shaped their work and what drives them to tell their stories.

Desert island books

Catch up with Melbourne identities as they share what they would read on their desert island, hosted by Natalie Mason. ​From page-turners to poetry, guests reveal their reading habits, favourite books and a few surprises along the way. Guests include well-known Victorian writers such as Benjamin Law, Jane Harper and Robyn Annear.

First book club

First book club features ‘interviews, readings and discussions about books, culture and the arts in Australia and beyond’, brought to you by literary journal Kill your darlings. 

The first time podcast

Hosted by authors Kate Mildenhall (Skylarking, The mother fault) and Katherine Collette (The helpline), the First time podcast is part reality show, part writers’ master class – a podcast about the the first time you publish a book.

The garrett: writers on writing

Recorded at State Library Victoria, The garret: writers on writing podcast celebrates writers and writing, with in-depth interviews from Australia's most successful authors.

Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) podcast

Missed out on a session at the 2023 MWF? Want to relive a favourite festival moment?  You can listen to recordings from the 2023 festival on the MWF digital podcast.

The rereaders

The re-readers is a fortnightly literary and cultural podcast based in Melbourne that has been described as Melbourne’s answer to the Slate Culture Gabfest 


Hosted by Adele Walsh and Kelly Gardiner, Unladylike is a podcast about women and writing, featuring a rich array of women and non-binary writers, editors, publishers and bookish types, so you’ll hear new voices in every episode.

Why write?

Why write? is a super short podcast that asks one writer one question: why write? Of all the things they could do and ways they could spend their time, why sit in front of that blank page for hours, days, months or years? Noè Harsel, herself a writer, talks to different types of writers each week to find out why they do it; why they write! This podcast is supported by Writers Victoria.

UNESCO Melbourne city of literature

UNESCO - Melbourne City of Literature. Cartoon by Bruce Petty. This work is in copyright; H2009.27

Melbourne Writers Festival

Since its inception in 1986, the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) has been bringing writers and readers together to be inspired, challenged and thrilled by an intelligent, rousing and diverse program of books and ideas.

This year's festival will be held on 6 to 12 May, and once again the State Library is thrilled to be the festival's major venue partner! 

Signposts: stories for our fragile times

Signposts: stories for our fragile times is a web series presented in partnership with The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts.

Join award-winning author Alexis Wright as she talks to some of Australia’s finest storytellers, including Nicholas Jose, Peter Carey, Melissa Lucashenko and Christos Tsiolkas, about catastrophe, resilience and hope. 

Emerging Writers' Festival

The Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) is one of Australia’s most established and well-respected literary festivals. The festival aims to develop, nurture and promote Australia’s new writing talent, creating platforms for connecting writing communities and their audiences.

This year, the EWF will be held from 5 to 15th of September, so save the dates!

Literature bookshop

Literature Bookshop, 87 Collins Street, Melbourne. Painting by artist M. E. Lormer. This work is in copyright; H2000.40/18

Literary links

Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)

ASAL promotes the study, discussion, and creation of Australian writing. It also seeks to increase awareness of Australian writing in the wider community and throughout the world.

Literary listings

Literary Listings is a website dedicated to showcasing the vibrant literary culture in Melbourne, and greater Victoria. Literary Listings predominantly features Melbourne and regional Victorian based writers festivals, bookshop and library events. Given many festivals now afford the community online access, also included on this website is a concise list of national literary events. 

Melbourne - City of Literature

Explore Melbourne's unique literary culture and catch up with all the latest events in Melbourne's literary calendar on the website of the City of Literature Office.

Melbourne poetry map

The Melbourne Poetry Map is a series of eight poetry walks through the Melbourne central business district.

The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas

A literary and publishing centre founded as part of Melbourne's bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature. Opened in 2010, the centre is housed in the southern wing of the State Library of Victoria

Writers' Victoria

For more than two decades, Writers Victoria has been a leading provider of information, resources and skills development for its members and the broader writing community.

Children's literature

Fairy tales; IAN27/12/77/193

For information about children's literature, including resources at the State Library and elsewhere, see our Children's literature guide.