The Wheeler Centre, or New Love Blooms

This morning, bleary of eye, dishevelled of dress and tousled of hair and beard, I opened my A2 section of The Age to peruse the pitifully few pages devoted therein to books.

What a pleasant shock, then, to be confronted with a four-page advertising spread for the Wheeler Centre’s Books Writing Ideas program – virtually a year-long literary festival featuring talks, debates, interviews and readings.  Check out their website here.

In that somnambulistic state which is common to me between my shower and my first coffee, it took some little time for the full impact to sink in – but by golly it’s sunk in now.

I’ve already booked my seat to see Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting, Filth, The Acid House, Marabou Stork Nightmares, Glue, Porno) on the 10th of March, and if you’re quick and you’ve got a modicum of sense, you’ll do the same.  Not just because the guy’s the last word in Scottish druggy cool, but because the session is free. GratisPro bono publico.

And there are some other fantastic up-coming events.  There’s Peter Singer (Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Ethics of What We Eat, The Reproduction Revolution) in the Lunchbox/Soapbox series on the 25th of February at 12:45pm (likewise free, no booking required), A Spotlight on Graphic Novels (featuring Shaun Tan, Bernard Caleo and Andrew Weldon amongst others) will be on between the 23rd and the 25th of April…

It just goes on and on in a dizzying array:

Guests from every major literary festival held in Australia; Intelligence Squared debates (topics include ‘Feminism has failed’, ‘Old people should pay for themselves’ and ‘Australia should embrace nuclear power’); tie-ins with the ABC’s Radio National Book Show…

While a pretty sizeable majority of events and sessions will take place at the Wheeler Centre on Little Lonsdale Street, we can expect a fair few to be held at Federation Square and other locations around the city yet to be announced.

Dunno about you, but I’m tumescent.

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