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Reading Aloud: Historical Fiction Readings


This is a collaborative event between the Prahran Mechanics Institute Victorian History Library and the Historical Novel Society Australasia Melbourne Chapter. If you don’t know about either organisation, this is a fantastic opportunity to meet and learn.



On Thursday 25 July 2019 at 6:00pm
Come hear local historical fiction authors read from their latest works. A featured author will read for up to 15 minutes followed by an ‘open mic’ for audience members to read for up to 5 minutes from their own writing or a snippet from one of their favourite authors.

Stories might be set in any country and in any historical era. There might be stories from mid-twentieth Europe in the aftermath of WW2, to 19th Century immigrant ships to Australia; from the steppes of Russia to the mean streets of Melbourne in the Roaring Twenties. Hear about bakers, botanists, bards or bawds. All readings will be opportunities to engage with the vibrant literary culture of contemporary Melbourne.

It’s like a lucky-dip, but different.

What to expect on the night

6:00pm: mingle. Have a coffee. (Optional) Put your name down to deliver your own 5-minute reading.

6:30pm-6:45pm: A reading from the featured author, reading for up to 15 minutes.

6:45pm-7:25pm. ‘Open mic’ for audience members to read a short passage from either their own work, or from a favourite author.

7:30pm: Close and (optional) dinner at a local restaurant.

Featured Author

Chris Bell

Chris is an award-winning Australian author. Her debut historical novel The Swing Tree will be published by Impact Press (an imprint of Ventura Press) in March 2020. Chris has 35 short fiction titles published for children. Her short stories have won or been commended in national writing competitions and published in various anthologies. Chris is a Varuna fellow and holds a Master of Creative Writing from RMIT. Currently Chris is working on her second adult historical novel set in France in the aftermath of the Great War. When she is not writing, Chris is attempting to learn to play the piano and day-dreaming of her next research trip to France.


Prahran Mechanics' Institute Victorian History Library
39 St. Edmonds Road, PRAHRAN, VICTORIA 3181


Driving: Several options for car parking:
  • Onsite at PMI: Parking is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
    • 3 spaces at the front of the building
    • 7 spaces in the garage (accessed from the front of the building on St Edmonds Rd)
    • Buzz the front door and request entry (say that you’re attending this event). Park only in the numbered spaces to avoid blocking cars in.
  • 1-hour parking in St Edmonds Road and Greville Street (please note the Cato Street carpark in Izett Street is now closed for redevelopment)
  • Or check the local council website for details on parking nearby. The Chapel Street Precinct have also put together a parking map.

Trains: The Institute is one block from Prahran Station (Sandringham Line), turn right into Greville Street and then right again into St Edmonds Rd.

Trams: There is the #6 tram running along High Street, the #72 tram along Commercial Road and the #78 tram along Chapel Street.

Buses: Buses #216, #219 and #220 run along Commercial Road. You can alight at the Prahran Market stop.

Contact Details