Our story dispensers – food for the soul

Winning poems will be published on our Short Story Dispensers, featured here at the Atrium at Federation Square during the Arts Learning Festival 2019.

We’ve all used a machine to get a drink or a snack. But what about food for the soul?


This is exactly the role played by our Short Story Dispensers, on which the winning poems in our Student Poetry Competition will be published.


The short story dispensers are about 1.5 metres tall. Users choose stories of one minute, three minutes or five minutes reading time, simply by pushing a button.


The stories – in this case, our winning poems – are dispensed on a long strip of papyrus, just like a shopping docket.


The dispensers are the brain child of French publishing company Short Édition, with the first one installed at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport in 2011. They have since spread to more than 200 locations around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong – and now Australia. 


Independent Schools Victoria has brought the machines to Australia as a way of encouraging a love of reading and creative writing among young people. They made their debut at ISV’s Arts Learning Festival in May last year, dispensing winning and selected entries from our Student Short Story Competition.


We set up one of dispensers at the Atrium at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne.


They were a huge hit, with student writers, their family and friends, and members of the public lining up to push the buttons and have a story dispensed.  


Since then, they have been in several Independent schools in Victoria, becoming a popular feature among students who have been introduced to a whole new way of accessing literature.


Our plan is to provide another public venue for the dispensers, where everyone can read the winning and selected poems. (Of course, this depends on meeting all our new requirements for social distancing and hygiene during COVID-19.) We’ll keep you informed of developments!


Don’t forget – entries to our Student Poetry Competition close this Friday, 22 May. Find out how to enter.


Resources for teachers, parents and students


Paul Kelly’s message of Hope to young poets


Poetry podcast, part one: What is poetry? In conversation with Alan Wright and Corrine Kaplan


Poetry podcast, part two: How do you inspire young poets?


Why children need poetry – and how to inspire them


Want to write a poem? Here’s how to get started