Review | Friday 31 July 2009
Released to celebrate Melbourne’s recent crowning as a UNESCO city of literature, Literary Melbourne has an enormous task; that of chronicling the rich literary history of a city steeped in culture.
Editor Steve Grimwade has proved he is more than up to the task, with the book showcasing 60 Melbourne and Victorian writers as part of a greater exploration into the people and history of Melbourne. As he himself claims in the introduction, it is difficult to feature 60 writers when some 360 would be worthy of inclusion. Instead, the book covers major periods in Australian history, and, later focuses in on some of the genres Melbourne has become famous for, such as crime fiction, plays, poetry and children’s books. Writers featured include Helen Garner, Dorothy Porter, David Williamson, Henry Handel Richardson and Stephen Carroll, and excerpts are well balanced by images, publicity shots and other archive material from the State Library.
Put simply, this book is a fitting tribute to an inspiring city and a must for any literary enthusiast.