Artists, designers and publishers come together to celebrate the return of NGV’s Melbourne Art Book Fair

Artists, designers and publishers come together to celebrate the return of NGV’s Melbourne Art Book Fair
Kaylah Joelle Baker

The Great Hall of NGV International is preparing to host the annual Melbourne Art Book Fair in a way that conveniently coincides with, and represents, Melbourne Design Week.

“Melbourne is such a great city of literature and it is fantastic when we can bring people together at one time at the NGV,” curator of NGV’s Melbourne Art Book Fair Megan Patty said.

Taking on a “newly distributed form”, the Melbourne Art Book Fair, which has been running since 2015, will take place across the entirety of the design-dedicated week and celebrate creatives seamlessly coming together.

Melbourne Design Week is a collaborative initiative of the Victorian Government and the NGV, and its sixth edition this year will run from March 17 to 27.

Referencing the vision of Melbourne
Design Week in a statement, NGV director Tony Ellwood said the 11 day event had a program full of “thought-provoking” events to “challenge and inspire” attendees.

“Melbourne Design Week is a festival of ideas and encourages audiences to look beyond the function and aesthetic, and to reflect on the environmental, social and personal impacts of design,” he said.

Considered a program highlight of the event, NGV’s Melbourne Art Book Fair’s in-person stallholders will be present in the Great Hall during the Fair’s first weekend, from March 18 to 20.

Unable to open in-person last year, the NGV turned to satellite programs.

But despite its success, Ms Patty reflected that the in-person aspect of the Book Fair is “super important” for both the creatives and the attending audience.

“There is a real buzz around the stands coming back to the NGV,” she said.

“It is an event where the public can meet publishers, authors, graphic designers and writers, and a key aspect of the Fair is that you are buying the book usually from a person that has either made it or been involved in its making.”


It’s a really special experience for an audience member as they can really chat about the book and learn more from someone who has been heavily involved in it.


Looking forward to being a part of the stallholder event for the second time is designer of small-press publisher Ornate Gesture, Edward Hubber.

“The Melbourne Art Book Fair is fantastic for emerging designers and book makers because it’s a chance to find an audience, network with other makers and feel connected to the Melbourne design scene,” Mr Hubber said.

With the last stall he was at being prior to the pandemic, Mr Hubber said he had been working hard on creating two new books that he was keen to share with audiences; Stained and Golden Age.

“I’m really looking forward to showing off some fabulous new books I’ve been working on which will both be available for purchase from my stall,” he said.

“I also love seeing mates from across the design sector who pop in to say ‘hey’. It’s going to be lovely.”

The stallholders’ weekend of the Fair is expected to have more than 90 national and international publishers in attendance alongside Mr Hubber and more to be highlighted online through other satellite events.

The NGV has also been busily preparing an exhibition called The Annotator Reader for its Great Hall which will invite viewers to read, critique and collate their own annotated reader.

A Performing Poetics program, where a group of poetry curators will curate and share new works and speak into their process and motivations, will also take place to help audiences explore the relationship between artmaking and poetry.

“It is interesting because it is reading, poetry and performance and it’s nodding to the fact that heaps of people have turned to poetry during this time, so it’s a way we could celebrate this at the Art Book Fair,” Ms Patty said.

“I am very excited by the exhibition piece, the stands being back and by the poetry program.”

“I feel the poetry program in particular is going to be somewhat more unexpected but it’s a really nice way for visitors to spend time in the stands talking to publishers, and then move through the NGV for a whole other experience in the gallery spaces.”

Melbourne Art Book Fair is supported by presenting partner Creative Victoria and design partner RMIT University, and numerous events will also be hosted at locations throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria.

For more details on the Melbourne Art Book Fair events around the city and NGV’s weekend of celebrating literature and design visit:

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