Clunes Booktown Festival is an annual celebration of Australian literature, authors, and industry professionals. Overnight, the town is transformed into an outdoor library, with bookstores, nicknacks, and homemade sweets lining the streets. We’re so excited to be back here for the second year in a row. We’ve already had a spectacular start to the weekend.
Although there have been many highlights so far, here is our top five from today!
1. Clunes Booktown Atmosphere
Nestled in the Victorian countryside, Clunes is a gorgeous little historical town situated in the Central Goldfield region — only about two hours out of Melbourne. As we descended down from the hills, it was like entering another world cast in the golden and bronze hues of autumn. Streets are lined with oak trees, brick buildings and the busy hum of morning chatter. The chilly air was scented with freshly baked goods, old books and strong coffee. There was a sense of wonder rippling through the crowd. What more could you ask for?
2. Panel One: Reading to Escape, Or Face, Reality
One of our absolute highlights was visiting the Free Lending Library, where we got to listen to Gabrielle Wang, Jack Henseleit, Nicole Hayes and Danielle Binks. All of these amazing industry professionals had so much knowledge to share about whether we read to escape, or face, reality. They also talked about the need for better representation, authenticity, and the moral obligation authors hold.
3. Panel Two: New Voices and Smart New Writing
Our second panel of the day was with the ever-lovely Sarah Epstein, Robbie Arnott and Josh Pomare. They gave us so much insight into their publishing journey, the current literary landscape in Australia, and importance of finishing your first draft. It was great to listen to the varying pathways these authors have taken to publication, and to realise that everyones’s writing journey is different.
4. Browsing Old Books
There’s something magical about wandering down isles of old books; the scent of dusty pages and worlds yet to be explored lingering in the air. We could have spent hours lost in the ambience of the stalls. Clunes Booktown really is the perfect place for readers to congregate and faun over the books spilling out of the historic buildings and onto the streets. It’s like stepping through your bookshelf and into Wonderland.
5. Visiting Historic Buildings
As a historic town, and a vital part of Victoria’s past, it’s no wonder Clunes is made up of elegant, centuries-old buildings. It’s like stepping through time along the main street. Looking up from the numerous book stalls and cafes, we couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful architecture behind them — nor could we resist passing by the old churches on the hilltop.