The Literature Centre is unique – a place to nurture young people’s interest in reading and writing, using engaging techniques to explore and interpret literature. Uniquely located within the walls of the Old Fremantle Prison, it is the only centre of its kind in Australia.  

Established in 1992 and operational in 1993 by our Founder Lesley Reece AM, the Centre offers a diverse range of student programs in metropolitan, rural and regional areas of Western Australia. We work with many thousands of students each year, either at the Centre or in schools. Our dedicated Education Officers and talented Authors and Illustrators conduct inspiring and interactive workshops, often using a range of original manuscripts, preliminary drawings, and artwork. Just some of our services programs, events and services include:

  • Curated Picture Book Exhibitions - featuring original artwork
  • Literature Workshops - for Students in Metro and Regional WA
  • Author/Illustrator School Visits and In-Residence Program
  • Tailored Poetry, Writing and 'Make Your Own Picture Book' Workshops 
  • Young Writers Program - Collective (in person) and Online.
  • The Sound of Picture Books Performances
  • Professional Learning Workshops for Teachers 
  • Celebrate Reading National Conference (annual)
  • Bookshop - Selling Australian Books and Artwork  
  • Open Galleries at the Centre and Festival Appearances
  • Annual Leslie Rees Fremantle Lecture, Book Launches and Author Talks 

Open Galleries and Bookshop Events

We open our doors to the public during 'Open Galleries' afternoons/evenings from 4pm to 8pm. On these occasions, visitors are welcome to explore our Centre, with free entry. It's a chance to view several exhibitions of original artwork and browse in our Bookshop stocked with quality Australian literature for children and young adults. Typically, no scheduled talks will take place so visitors can come and go between 4pm and 8pm. For book, original art and print purchases we have EFTPOS facilities available.

To find out more about our next public event, keep an eye on our What's On section of the home page or join our emailing list by sending your details to info@thelitcentre.org.au

Book Launches

The Literature Centre is the perfect place to hold a book launch! The Centre has a regular program of book launches, with some of the titles launched in our main gallery over the years including:

  • Mr Bat Wants A Hat by Kitty Black and Laura Wood
  • Monkey Mind by Rebecca J Palmer
  • How to Make A Bird by Meg McKinlay and Matt Ottley
  • The Book of Stone by Mark Greenwood and Coral Tulloch
  • Someone Like Me by Elaine Forrestal (21st Birthday Celebration)
  • When Billy Was A Dog by Kirsty Murray and Karen Blair
  • Pearl Versus The World 10th Birthday Celebration by Sally Murphy
  • Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay
  • Under the Southern Cross by Frané Lessac
  • Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray and Karen Blair
  • Hive by AJ Betts
  • The Dog with Seven Names by Dianne Wolfer
  • Dog Lost by Jan Ramage and Brian Simmonds
  • Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson
  • Hello from Nowhere by Raewyn Caisley and Karen Blair
  • Annie's Snails by Dianne Wolfer and Gabriel Evans
  • Midnight by Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac
  • Losing It by Julia Lawrinson
  • The Greatest Liar on Earth by Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac
  • The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen and James Foley
  • Daywards by Tony Eaton
  • Ned Kelly and the Green Sash by Mark Greenwood and Frané Lessac
  • Chess Nuts by Julia Lawrinson
  • Simpson and his Donkey by Mark Greenwood and Frané Lessac
  • The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
  • Skyfall by Tony Eaton

Leslie Rees Fremantle Lecture

This event honours Mr Leslie Rees, who died in 2000, leaving behind a legacy of unparalleled diversity in journalism, travel writing, drama and, of course, children’s literature. Leslie won the very first Children’s Book Council Book of the Year award in 1946 with the picture book, The Story of Karrawingi the Emu, illustrated by Walter Cunningham.

To keep up to date with What's On at The Literature Centre, and for announcements of future lectures, please joining our mailing list on the home page of this website or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

Previous Leslie Rees Fremantle Lecture presenters include:

  • The Hon. Kim Beazley AC, Mark Greenwood, Meg McKinlay, James Foley and Sacha Burbridge (2019)
  • - 25th Year Celebration Events held in 2018 -
  • Coral Tulloch (2016)
  • Tony Eaton (2014)
  • Shaun Tan (2013)
  • Libby Gleeson (2011)
  • Jan Ormerod (2010)
  • Markus Zusak (2009)
  • Matt Ottley (2008)
  • Jackie French (2007)
  • Barbara Ker Wilson (2004)
  • Christobel Mattingley (2002)
  • Libby Hathorn (2001)
  • James Moloney (2000)
  • Mem Fox (1997)
  • Gary Crew (inaugural lecture 1995)

Our Founder

We wish to acknowledge The Literature Centre's Founder and Director Lesley Reece AM, 1992 to 2021.

Lesley Reece AM

Our Patron

We wish to acknowledge the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, as Patron of The Literature Centre in Fremantle.

Hon. Kim Beazley AC

Copyright Agency

The Literature Centre proudly holds a Statutory Education Licence. The Good Copyright Governance initiative recognises organisations who have the Statutory Education Licence in place, therefore hitting a benchmark for copyright compliance and fairly supporting Australian creators. Find out more at www.copyright.com.au.