The Wheeler Centre is based in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2008. The centre, originally established as a “Centre of Books, Writing and Ideas”, changed it’s name after securing the patronage of Maureen and Tony Wheeler, the founders of Lonely Planet (a company that originated in Melbourne). The centre is situated in the side of the State Library of Victoria. The entrance is from Little Lonsdale Street, between Swanston and Russell Streets. There is a long steepish ramp to the entrance doors. The centre has a series of talks by eminent writers, thinkers and celebrities. I usually find these a bit boring and pointless but they are very popular. Of more interest to me is Writers Victoria, based in the same centre.
Since I first wrote this post, a couple of friends have asked me why I dissed the celebrity talks. I explained that generally I find the questions banal and safe, and at best more about philosophy than craft. Since we are generally before an adoring audience I guess this is understandable. I also assume that most of the audience are interested readers rather than writers, so I am probably being unreasonable about the craft thing.
Okay, to be a little less dismissive, I have seen one or two interesting discussions amongst the boring ones. I have also done some seminars through Writers Victoria as well as a couple of online courses. I took a seminar on Ethics in Memoir that was pretty disappointing, but the Online Writing Courses can be useful if you want some feedback and a regular deadline to focus you as you hone your skills.