In April 2010, Joel Becker will be leaving the Victorian Writers’ Centre after eight years at its helm. Under his direction, the VWC has grown to be the largest writers’ centre in Australia, with more than 200 workshops, seminars and events each year, a membership of more than 2,700.
As well as playing a key role in what eventually became the Wheeler Centre, Becker worked with stakeholders to develop writers’ spaces in the National Trust (Vic) property, Glenfern, and a residential fellowship program at Mary Delahunty’s country property, Rosebank. He also played a key role in the creation of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and was on the was on the Steering Committee of Melbourne’s successful bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature.
Becker said, ‘I leave the VWC with a sense of pride about how the organisation has developed during the last eight years. I have seen the VWC through a dramatic series of changes and growth. From the rather humble surrounds of the Meatmarket to the CBD, first in the Nicholas Building, and now as part of the Wheeler Centre: Books Writing and Ideas.’
‘I am proud that over the last few years much has been achieved for the organisation and this has been reflected in membership growth, an increase in activities and a heightened awareness within the literary and broader arts community of the role of the VWC, and the importance of supporting a strong literary culture.’
‘There are significant challenges lying ahead for the sector, but I am confident that I am leaving the VWC at a stage and time when a new CEO/Director will build upon past achievements and take the VWC even further.’