Creative Program explores Melbourne stories as part of the Writers Festival

Creative Program explores Melbourne stories as part of the Writers Festival

Being creative is all about thinking outside the square, and that’s exactly what the Metro Tunnel Creative Program has done to deliver some beautiful illustrations and stories as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Working collaboratively, the Creative Program and the festival commissioned 11 original Melbourne-focused works of fiction and non-fiction, as well as an illustration to reflect each of those stories – all in different styles by artists using different mediums.

With lockdown lingering, a plan to install illustrations and story excerpts at the Metro Tunnel’s City Square site has been delayed, but the impressive offerings are available online, via the Melbourne Writers Festival website at

Metro Tunnel Project creative engagement manager Sarah Robins said each of the works told an important story and showed the diversity of our city and the diversity of experiences within it.

“The illustrators were selected by the Creative Program from our artist pool, and the writers were selected by the Writers Festival, from a combination of artist pool members and Writers Festival contacts,” she said

“There are 11 wonderful pieces of writing and 11 beautiful illustrations to go with them. If I had to single one out, it would be Marc Martin’s image for Thuy On’s piece Melbourne Symphony.”

“It’s one of my favourites in terms of imagery for a very evocative piece of writing about Melbourne.”

The image features children in front of the National Gallery of Victoria’s water wall and is one of four illustrations from Marc Martin.

“I have tried to respond to each piece of writing in a way that takes into account each story’s unique voice and tone,” the artist said.

“The illustrative style for each piece is loose and expressive, interpreting the text in a way that gives the viewer a starting point to build their own internal visualisation without being too prescriptive.”

Artist Jackie Nguyen’s creations, illustrating the work of writers Luke Horton, Melanie Cheng and Laura McPhee-Browne, show a passion for storytelling.

“I have always been fascinated by the relationship between colour, lighting and form,” she said. “They have the power to combine and completely transform a space in the most magical way.

“Painting and sketching is a way for me to capture and document those fleeting moments which I can then revisit time and time again.”

While the Melbourne Writers Festival has had to cancel live events, there is still plenty of activity online. A 10-event digital festival is taking place with a Pay What You Can model, or a $90 pass for the entire online festival •

Image credit: Marc Martin.

Like us on Facebook