Sunday, August 31st 2014

Welcome to LitHop

Explore Melbourne by foot and the 96 tram and celebrate Melbourne's independent, emerging and fringe writers on this curated literary hop through the city. Choose your own adventure along the route, through 14 separate events, with pop up events including book readings, debates, music, trivia, races and literary karaoke!

Supported by

1 - 2pm : Get started

Exchange your ticket for a wristband and a map at Federation Square and take part in If:book's exciting live literary installation Memory Makes Us before embarking on a literary crawl of your choosing.

Events are scheduled to account for travel time between phases. There are plenty of places to eat and drink along the route, and refreshments are available at many venues to help fuel your day.

2 - 3pm : Stop one

Join literary journal Meanjin and guests, Lachlann Carter (100 Story Building), Alice Gage (Ampersand), Liam Pieper and Sofija Stefanovic (School of Life) at Young and Jackson's for a game of Canon Foder! If you've ever called Evelyn Waugh a 'she' or George Eliot a 'he', if you keep an unopened copy of Ulysses on your bookshelf, or refer to Frankenstein as the monster, then this is the event for you. With your help, Meanjin will put our select group of contestants through their paces to separate the literary wheat from the illiterate chaff, and once and for all decide whether the canon is all it's cracked up to be, or whether you can be a literary master without ever cracking a spine.

Join poets and performers and reflect on poetry of World War One at St Michael's Uniting Church with Simon Armitage, Maxine Beneba Clark, Alison Croggon, First Dog on the Moon, Sian Prior, Mark Seymour, Sigrid Thornton and Richard Stubbs.

Catch a tram straight down Flinders St to Mission to Seafarers. To celebrate fifty years of Harriet the Spy, comedian Jennifer Wong alongside Claire Hooper, Nath Valvo, Chelsea Hughes and Jack Druce, share tales from children's books that made them laugh and cry well before they got their pen license. Join the Australian comedians most likely to have spent school lunches in the library, as they introduce you to fictional friends who've endured as trusty companions well into adulthood.

Head down to the School of Life classroom for a session reflecting on and sharing with others the books that have shaped you, in an atmosphere of open-ness and literary curiosity. Literature can transform us. Gripping stories of familiar characters and strange plot lines can provide us with deep insight into the profound and the everyday. Characters we love – and love to hate – can say things that challenge who we are and what we think of the world around us. The School of Life is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. Whether it is contemporary crime fiction or the Greek classics, there is a good chance a book has helped you understand your world in a different way. In Preparation, think of a book that has changed you in some way, and how it has shaped you. Bring an extract from the book, printed out in hard copy, to share with others in the session.

3 - 4pm : Stop two

Head down to Rancho Notorius at 1000 Pound Bend for Play by the Book with Freeplay Independent Games Festival. Life is full of perfect combinations, from chocolate and chilli, to florals and stripes, to Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula. To that, we can now add literature and videogames. Join Freeplay as they curate a selection of matching videogames and literature to be staged against each other. While each game is played, an extract of a thematically matching work will be read simultaneously, juxtaposing, merging, and creating a weird and offbeat hybrid performance across media. What would a game of exploration feel like when played with poetry about nature? What would a horror story sound like when read over the top of an eerie, unsettling videogame? Find out, at Play by the Book.

Could you spell 'manoeuvred' under pressure? How about 'laodicean' or 'Kosciuszko'? Unleash your competitive streak and test your vocabulary against a group of smart literary women– Alice Garner, Louise Swinn and Estelle Tang – and celebrate the second year of the Stella Prize with a spelling bee hosted by Monica Dux at Queen Victoria Women's Centre.

Join muso Willy Vlautin of The Richmond Fontaine at The Toff in Town to gain an insight into the art and craft of songwriting and making music. Hosted by Chad Parkhill.

4 - 5pm : Stop three

Pick up a menu at Loop Bar and hone your audio delivery in 'Your words not mine', Radio Karaoke with Paper Radio. If this truly is, as they say, a 'golden age of radio' ... where's the fandom at? Paper Radio is offering you a rare opportunity to play along with some of Australia's best and most creative audio features – and to hone your delivery 'til it's pitch perfect. Introducing Your words, not mine: radio karaoke. It's just like any other karaoke, except you don't have to sing. Instead, step into someone else's clothes. Tell a story – in your own voice, but not in your own words.

Sydney vs Melbourne: The tale of these two cities is really one of decades long rivalry, but let's decide once and for all which city is Australia's true cultural capital? Join host Sam Twyford-Moore at Carlton Club as two teams of locals will battle it out in a raging interstate debate, with bonus trivia round and plenty of audience participation. Melbourne has the hometown advantage here and super alert after a laneway latte, but Sydney has just got off the plane and looks glamorous.

If you believe that a good story is important but it's how it's told that really counts, then step right up for Literary Karaoke with Jess McGuire (ABC, RRR) at Boney. Literary Karaoke will see participants stand up and read – nay PERFORM – a three minute passage from a book (BYO or we'll have some on hand). The best of them will face off in a scintillating final where they'll not just read aloud from a literary classic, but they'll SELL it through their impassioned speech and probably slightly awkward hand gestures! Great prizes on offer, plus food and drink available from Boney.

5 - 6pm : Stop four

Join literary magazine The Lifted Brow in The Wheeler Centre Performance Space launching TLB24: The Medicine Issue. Expect figurative sawboning and theatrical experimentation. Giving totally legitimate, absolutely deadpan and scientifically accurate medical lectures will be Dr Laura Jean McKay and Dr Luke Ryan. We couldn't spring for a projector or even a whiteboard for the accompanying visuals for each of Dr Laura and Dr Luke's lectures, so instead Tobias Manderson-Galvin has volunteered his own body. He cares about medicine, and if you do too, then come and gawk, and gawk hard. Painting anatomically-fun visuals on this fleshy canvas will be two renowned artists: Nick Modrzewski and another TBC for an hour of weird and literally wonderful medicine-themed stage antics.

Join the National Young Writer's Festival and writers Rose Callaghan, Clem Bastow, Lauren Bok and Ben McKenzie in the Gallery Space at Thousand Pound Bend in a game of speed and creativity for two teams of writers going head to head to entertain YOU. NYWF answers the question "what happens when you make writers run?" Over three hilarious rounds four writers will compete for the title of Ultimate Storytelling-and-Running Champion. MC'd by Anthony WP O'Sullivan.

Join The Wheeler Centre at The Moat for the New Book Swap Meet. What is this, you ask? Well, exactly what it sounds like. You'll meet new people, get a new book … all while indulging in a drink. All the good things in life! When you arrive, you'll get a present – a new book. Of course, you don't always get the present you want, but you can always sneakily re-gift. In fact, we encourage it. The aim of the game is to use your wits to swap your book with a stranger … or hold onto yours for dear life. Hopefully, you'll leave with a new book you really want to read. And maybe even a new friend or two.

6 - 7pm : After party at The Toff

Dance to the tunes spun by DJ Kid Presentable as you catch up with other Lit Hopper's at the After Party at The Toff in Town, grab a drink, have a dance, meet the curators and find out what kind of adventure everyone else went on! Space is limited.

About the curators

Freeplay is Australia's longest-running and largest independent games festival, located in Melbourne, Australia. Freeplay promotes independent game developers and culture through both professional development, engagement with the public, and through interaction with the city. Since 2004, Freeplay has brought together a unique mix of players, makers, critics, artists, academics, students, and the public for a celebration of games and makers in all their forms.

Sam Twyford-Moore is the founding host of The Rereaders podcast and the current Director of the Emerging Writers' Festival. He is now based in Melbourne after ten years in Sydney, and so is feeling oh so very conflicted about his Lit Hop event.

The Stella Prize is a major literary award celebrating Australian women's writing. The prize is named after one of Australia's iconic female authors, Stella Maria 'Miles' Franklin, and was awarded for the first time in 2013. Both fiction and nonfiction books by Australian women are eligible for entry. The inaugural winner of the Stella Prize was Carrie Tiffany for Mateship with Birds, and this year's winner was Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

Paper Radio is an independent podcast based in Melbourne, founded by Jon Tjhia and Jessie Borrelle. They make creative radio work driven by Australian writers and producers.

Their most recent project is a collaboration with Radio National's Creative Audio Unit on a co-commissioned collection of stories – each reflecting Paper Radio's distinctive mix of narrative, sound design and illustration – for broadcast on the Creative Audio Unit's two new programs, Radiotonic and Soundproof. These stories, of which some are true and some are not, exist to provide compelling sonic evidence of Australia's unique cultural geography.

Your words, not mine is being assembled by Paper Radio's Jon Tjhia. In addition to making radio, he's a writer and multimedia producer. He's currently the Wheeler Centre's Online Manager, where he helps to deliver stories and ideas through video, sound, editorial and web.

He's also in a band called Speed Painters, which is for letting loose.

Jess McGuire is a writer and broadcaster. A former co-host on Triple R's Breakfasters, she can be found regularly on 774 ABC Melbourne and weekly on 720 ABC Perth's Drive show. She was the editor of pop culture website Defamer Australia and has written for assorted publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Meanjin, the Daily Life, and the Sunday Age (among other periodicals of varying quality). She also featured in the 'Women of Letters' anthology, a collection published by Penguin Australia.

She's hosted many events and featured on panels at esteemed cultural institutions the Wheeler Centre and ACMI, appeared at the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival and Melbourne's Face The Music conference, and has been interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald, Nova, ABC Local Radio, JMag, and The Project among others.

Currently, Jess is working on a television show with collaborator William Mills - it has a working name of 'Untitled Noni Hazlehurst Project' although it is worth noting that the former Play School presenter and acclaimed Australian actress has not agreed to participate and, truth be told, is not even aware of the project.

She runs weekly rock and pop culture trivia nights in Melbourne, and also DJs around town under an assortment of ridiculous monikers, playing tunes at the Big Day Out and Falls Festival, as well as at various bars (and more weddings than she cares to count).

In her spare time Jess enjoys consuming coffee, reading well written long-form essays, watching documentaries online, hanging out with cute dogs, and she recently discovered that gardening makes her feel like a god.

Jennifer Wong is a writer and comedian from Sydney, Australia.

She's performed solo stand-up comedy shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival, Perth International Comedy Festival, and Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Offstage, she's used her knack for wordplay on Australian TV comedy shows as a writer on Good News Week, writer and social media producer on Can of Worms, and editor of the Rove website RoveDaily, which featured the work of Australian comedy writers.

In 2011, she was one of five Australian comedians selected for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's new talent showcase, Comedy Zone, and included in The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age's list of top ten new comics to watch.

In 2014, she was one of five writer/performers in the sold-out Sydney Festival hit, The Serpent's Table, a theatre and food production by Performance 4a and Griffin Theatre Company. She brought her comedic chops to the show by serving dumplings to the audience while lambasting them for enjoying Chinese food.

Jennifer's latest work, Laughable: The One-Liner Show, will play at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. She will also perform in the comedy festival's showcase of women in comedy, Upfront, and play two sidekicks in the Barry Award-winning Miss Itchy's Late-Night Larvae.

The Lifted Brow is a magazine from Australia and the world. We publish:

  • A giant print version every two months
  • A digital version every fortnight, which features new and different content from the print version
  • And a whole lot of other new and interesting content on this very website.

Since its inception in 2007, The Lifted Brow has featured in its pages the work of a wide variety of writers, including Christos Tsiolkas, Helen Garner, David Foster Wallace, Neil Gaiman, Rick Moody, Karen Russell, Tom Cho, Douglas Coupland, Heidi Julavits, Tom Bissell, Tao Lin, Rebecca Giggs, Margo Lanagan, Jim Shepard, Frank Moorhouse, Anna Krien, Romy Ash, Matthew de Abaitua, Diane Williams, Sam Lipsyte, Sheila Heti, Jim Shepard, Chris Somerville, Elizabeth Gaffney, Andrιs Neuman, Angie Hart, Blake Butler and Benjamin Kunkel.

Our regular contributors include Alice Pung, Laura Jean McKay, Eddie Campbell, Anna Krien, Rebecca Harkins-Cross, Gilian Terzis, Noel Freibert, Lorelei Vashti, Briohny Doyle, Simon Hanselmann, Renee French, Dion Kagan, Benjamin Law, and Vijay Khurana.

We've staged many fun events including over 60 live music gigs, at which we've hosted performances by acts like Spiral Stairs, Mere Women, Post Paint, Jonny Telafone, Milk Teddy, Mining Boom, Golden Blonde, Circular Keys, Bachelorette, Angie Hart, and Washington.

Jessica Alice is the co-director of the National Young Writers Festival. She is the poetry editor of Scum and the outgoing poetry and short prose editor of The Lifted Brow. Jessica presents and produces Australia's longest running feminist current affairs show Women on the Line for Melbourne's 3CR. She tweets @jessica_alice_.

The National Young Writers' Festival is the country's largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop music, journalism, autobiography, comedy, songwriting and prose. NYWF will be held in Newcastle as part of This is Not Art from October 2 to 5 2014. The program will be released in August. Visit for more information or follow us

Meanjin was founded in Brisbane by Clem Christesen (the name, pronounced Mee-an-jin, is derived from an Aboriginal word for the finger of land on which central Brisbane sits) in 1940. Meanjin moved to Melbourne in 1945 at the invitation of the University of Melbourne. It currently receives funding from the university, the Literature Fund of the Australia Council for the Arts, CAL and Arts Victoria as well as receiving vital support through subscriptions and other sales. At the beginning of 2008 Meanjin became an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing.

Known primarily as a literary magazine, Christesen ensured that Meanjin reflected the breadth of contemporary thinking, be it on literature, other art forms, or the broader issues of the times. This breadth has characterised Meanjin for more than 70 years, continuing under its nine subsequent editors – Jim Davidson, Judith Brett, Jenny Lee, Christina Thompson, Stephanie Holt, Ian Britain, Sophie Cunningham, Sally Heath and Zora Sanders. A list of the contributors to Meanjin includes Australian writers Judith Wright, Kylie Tennant, Manning Clark, Vance & Nettie Palmer, A D Hope, Dymphna Cusack, Martin Boyd, Alan Marshall, Dorothy Hewett, Peter Singer, Vincent Buckley, Donald Horne, Patrick White, Gwen Harwood, Bruce Dawe, David Malouf, Humphrey McQueen, Jack Hibberd, Roberta Sykes, Helen Garner, Alex Miller, Frank Moorhouse, John Morrison, Hal Porter, Rodney Hall, A A Phillips, Peter Carey, Alice Pung, Michelle de Kretser, J M Coetzee, Carmen Callil and Dorothy Porter. International authors published include Jean-Paul Sartre, and Kurt Vonnegut. Meanjin is one of Australia's best, and oldest, literary journals.

The Wheeler Centre was created in 2010 when Melbourne was officially designated a UNESCO City of Literature, recognising the city's international leadership in books, writing and ideas. In just four years, the Wheeler Centre has established itself as one of Australia's leading arts organisations, dedicated to making public conversation an art form. The Wheeler Centre passionately believes in the power of ideas and conversation and we have created a hub for the literary and ideas activity that defines this city.

Each year, the Centre designs and produces a rich programme of 200+ lectures, events and discussions on literature, arts, identity and public affairs to over 40,000 audience members. Accessibility is a guiding principle and the Centre strives to ensure that over eighty per cent of its programme is free and the remaining events are low cost.

The Wheeler Centre supports writers of today and tomorrow through the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, the Children's Book Festival and the provision of residencies and fellowships. Its digital publishing arm consists of original video and audio of its programme and daily articles – reaching regional, national and international audiences.

The Wheeler Centre is dedicated to being the cornerstone of Australia's literary activity, contributing to a deeper thinking society and to building a community around the sharing of ideas and conversations.

Vikki Woods is a skilled Event Producer with more than ten years experience in event production, most notably as the Events Manager at The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, where over three years she oversaw the planning, implementation and delivery of over 600 events all over Melbourne. She has successfully delivered The Children's Book Festival, an event that attracts 15,000 patrons for the last three years, and recently completed a successful stint running the About an Hour weekend at Carriageworks for Sydney Festival.

More than 15 years employment in the arts has given her a thorough knowledge of arts, culture and venue management. Vikki has also gained broad international experience, predominantly in the UK and Europe where she worked as an Artist Manager for high performing musicians, such as Blur and Gorillaz, and has toured extensively with The Famous Spiegeltent. She has recently returned from Singapore, where she undertook an Asialink Arts Management residency with The Arts House, taking on an artist liaison and logistics role for the 2013 Singapore Writers Festival, and a project management role for 10 year anniversary celebrations of The Arts House.