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Melbourne Rare Book Week - Looking at the 2017 Programme

Since releasing this year's program on 22 May, the response to the line-up of events has been remarkable, with several being booked out very quickly. Melbourne Rare Book Week commenced in 2012 as a partnership between ANZAAB, the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions. Over 50 free events are scheduled for the 2017 festival which runs from Friday 30 June to Sunday 9 July.
Publié le 21 Juin 2017
"It is quite astounding, how, in such a relatively short period of time how well known and valued Melbourne Rare Book Week has become! This year is going to be as good as ever - even more events, a great diversity among them and people coming from far and wide to attend. Several people I know now have established a new habit - a winter holiday in Melbourne. These people come from hundreds of miles away just to immerse themselves in rare books discussions, rare book exhibitions and of course lots of rare book people. Kay Craddock's initial idea has taken off in a way few would have anticipated!", says Sally Burdon, member of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB) and Vice-President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).


Join Monash University Librarian Daniel Wee as he explores the adaptation of beloved canonical characters from the 18th century to the present. Journey through mystical islands, discover magical worlds, and witness the transformation of some of our most beloved literary forms and characters from classic novels to comic books, from wood cuts to chromolithography, from engravings to electrophotography.
From classics to comics: transforming the protagonist. Monday 3 July

Richard Overell will talk about collecting children’s books from the 19th century to the present, including board games, albums of swap cards, comics and annuals. [Collecting children’s books. Tuesday 4 July]

Dr Juliet O’Conor will show Shaped books: from die-cuts to laer production, and delve into the fascinating variation to the production of toy and moveable books developed at the end of the 19th century when publishers cut the cover of books into the outline of a scene or character.

Children and their carers can enjoy a reading session with Bernadine Nolen, based on the golden age of Little Golden Books.


Who would suspect that small squares of silk could save lives? Jonathan Burdon will trace the story of silk maps used as the primary tool for escape and evasion for downed pilots in the Second World War. He will also reveal their remarkable connection with the Monopoly board game.


Wine writer, broadcaster and historian Michael Hince takes a look at wine in print from the late 1950’s to today in its various guises.


Mick Stone, comic enthusiast and co author of Bonzer—the definitive book about Australian comics—will talk about the resurgence in Collecting comics.

What are the collectibles of science fiction? Members of the Nova Mob, the longest running SF reading group in Australia, will form a panel to discuss what they collect—from pulps to fanzines and small press publications. Discover how valuable the genre can be; learn about some of the rarities and the most prized works in An amazing and astound world: collecting science fiction.


Charles Stitz has just published the last two volumes in his massive 5-volume work: Australian Book Collectors – Some Noted Australian Book Collectors and Collections of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. His talk on Melbourne book collectors: 19th & 20th centuries will feature collectors including collectors of the 19th and 20th centuries. The talk will feature several collectors including John Pascoe Fawkner, Sir Redmond Barry, Marcus Clarke, Rodney Davidson and John Emmerson, who gathered one of the world’s most important collections of printed works on the English Civil War, which is now held at the State Library Victoria as The Emmerson Collection.


Dr Gary Presland will be Reconstructing Melbourne’s lost environments, using documentary treasures such as Robert Hoddle's field notebooks from the 1830s and 40s and other early sources.


Members of the Art+Australia team present an evening of short talks, discussion and Q&A around contemporary art and its relationship to broader theoretical, social and geo-political contexts, its history and future thinking around its delivery into the online world.

Join W.H. Chong as he chairs a panel discussion about Contemporary book design and the art of book covers in Australia.


Another feature this year is the introduction of three workshops, particularly designed with children in mind. The Learning Services division of the State Library Victoria is presenting a Children’s activity session: Calligraphy and the art of illuminated manuscripts—one is never too young to be inspired by medieval manuscripts and to learn how to create your own!

This free activity for children aged 5–12 years will be held in the Courtyard, State Library Victoria, where they can learn how to create their own manuscript page, experimenting with modern day calligraphy materials to invoke techniques of the past. No bookings are necessary for this event.

SLV also presents a School holiday book-making workshop, for children aged 8–12 years, which includes a tour of the Library’s wonderful exhibition: Mirror of the world: books and ideas, which will lead into the children using their imagination to create their own masterpiece to take home. Bookings are essential for this event.

Scientific books and specimens: a Museum drawing studio. Museums Victoria will create a unique opportunity for children from 12 years up, as well as adults, to stand in the shoes of a scientific illustrator, drawing birds and mammals from the Museum’s Heritage Collections which are displayed alongside books from the Museum’s Library. Bookings are essential for this event.


Melbourne Rare Book Week includes seven exhibitions, with subjects including the journey motif, both real and imaginary (Tall tales and true: journeys real and imagined, presented by Monash University Library and Plotting the Island, dreams, discovery and disaster presented by University of Melbourne Library), the world of Percy Grainger—whose ideas made him an outsider in his age (The Accidental Futurist, presented by the Grainger Museum), the work of freelance cartoonist, illustrator and writer, Judy Horacek (Random Life: the cartoons of Judy Horacek, presented by The Melbourne Athenaeum Library), and … brought to Melbourne by the University of Melbourne Library exclusively for this year’s Rare Book Week … a unique viewing opportunity (with associated lecture program) of the Clumber Bible (c.1395), a sumptuously illuminated Bible formerly belonging to the 7th Duke of Newcastle, noted for its extraordinary size. Generously loaned by the Kerry Stokes Collection.

These are only a handful of the events featured in this year’s Melbourne Rare Book Week program. To view the full programme, please follow this link.

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