Top 5 Clunes Booktown Festival Moments

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.Read More »

Q&A with Sarah Epstein | Clunes Booktown Festival

To finish off our series of interviews with #LoveOzYA authors attending Clunes Booktown Festival this year, we chatted to the lovely Sarah Epstein! Sarah will be appearing on the New Voices and Smart New Writing panel, Writing for the Millennial Mind panel, and the Building the Fictional World for Gripping Crime panel. We’re such a massive fan of Sarah, so it will be wonderful to see her there!

Check out our Q&A!

We’re so excited you’re appearing at Clunes Booktown Festival this year! If the weekend of the festival happened to be the zombie apocalypse, would you choose to team up with some other authors to try and survive (and if so, who would they be?), or would you try and survive on your own?

I would definitely team up with other authors because they’re crafty! They can imagine how each different scenario plays out in any given situation. In particular, I’d seek out thriller and horror writers because the combined knowledge of their gruesome internet search histories would come in handy. And they’d have the stomach to do what needs to be done.Read More »

Q&A with Danielle Binks | Clunes Booktown Festival

Another author we’re super excited to see at the Clunes Booktown Festival is the wonderful Danielle Binks! Danielle is the editor of Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and she’s also a literary agent with Jacinta Di Mase. She’ll be appearing on the Reading to Escape, Or Face, Reality panel, as well as the Writing for the Millennial Mind panel!

We had the pleasure of asking Danielle a few questions ahead of the festival, so we hope you enjoy this very special Q&A.

Have you been to Clunes Booktown Festival before? What do you love most about regional book festivals, or what are you most looking forward to?

A: I have never been! I’ve always looked on via social media with *great* envy (your channel did NOT help that, btw! I was extremely jelly of your very picturesque bookish shenanigans of last year especially!) So I am absolutely thrilled to be going on my very first Clunes Booktown adventure – and I apologise in advance for all the bookish goodness that’s going to be blanketing my Instagram feed *especially*! Read More »

Q&A with Nicole Hayes | Clunes Booktown Festival

We’re so excited to be heading off to Clunes Booktown Festival next weekend! We had an absolutely spectacular time last year, and we can’t wait to see more brilliant panels, grab some books, and soak up the lovely literary atmosphere.

Today we have a very exciting interview with Nicole Hayes to share with you! Nicole will be appearing at the Clunes Booktown Festival on the Reading to Escape, or Face, Reality panel and the Play Like a Girl panel. We’re so looking forward to both of them!

We can’t wait to see you this year at the Clunes Booktown Festival! Which other authors are you most looking forward to seeing?

Thank you! I’m chuffed to be invited.

Re who I’d like to see, there are so many! I’m on panels with some of my favourites including Alicia Sometimes, Danielle Binks, Kate O’Halloran, and Gabrielle Wang but I’m determined to catch the panel with Alice Pung and Tony Birch, plus Tony and Paddy O-Reilly are talking about short story writing. I need all the help I can get there! Sarah Epstein will be presenting, too, which I don’t want to miss. I’m also really excited about seeing some writers and storytellers whose work I’m not as familiar with. I’m basically going to wander from event to event the whole weekend, and try not to make a nuisance of myself.Read More »

Introverts’ Night Out

Come along to Melbourne’s bookish pyjama party!

As introverts, we understand the struggle of going out sometimes, when all you really want to do is stay inside and finish reading your book. WE GET IT. But this is a night out just for us! Wear your pyjamas or a onesie (or something super comfy) and come to this night of YA fun with #LoveOzYA superstars Jodi McAlister, Astrid Scholte, and Michael Pryor.

Introverts’ Night Out is on Saturday 1 June from 6 – 8.30pm at the Library at the Dock (Docklands, Melbourne). Tickets are only $5! Book yours now so you don’t miss out on this bookish party for introverts (don’t worry, we love extroverts as well).

What’s involved?

Food!

Who doesn’t love some delicious snacks?! There’ll be cupcakes, sweets and savoury items. Dinner won’t be provided, but hey, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t eat cake for dinner. We totally support that.

Trivia!

Brush up on your YA general knowledge, because there’s going to be a ton of prizes up for grabs! Think you can name the lead actors from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? What about recall the trades from all thirteen districts in The Hunger Games? Glory could be yours!

An AMA (Ask Me Anything) panel with three #LoveOzYA authors!

Ever wondered what the weirdest thing in an author’s Google search history is? Or what about how they overcome barriers or plot holes in their writing? You’ll have the chance to pick these three authors’ brains on everything from which fictional characters they’d like to team up with during the zombie apocalypse, to what their publication journey was like, and even what they’re working on now.

Readings from the authors!

There’s nothing more soothing than having stories read aloud to you, is there? These three authors will be reading from their novels, and they might even do the voices as well. After all, it wouldn’t be a pyjama-themed bookish party without a bedtime story!

Book your ticket here.

Location Information

Introverts’ Night Out will be held at the Library at the Dock (107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands). The Library at the Dock is a 12 minute tram trip from the tram stop opposite Dymocks Melbourne on Collins Street (just near Swanson Street), or a 6 minute tram trip from Southern Cross Station on Collins Street. Hop on the number 11 or 48 tram and get off at the end of the line at Victoria Harbour Docklands. From there, the Library at the Dock is a 1 minute walk, right near the waterfront.

Upon arrival, please proceed to the rear entrance of the building, opposite a small park. If you’re arriving by tram, you can’t miss it. Doors will open at 5.45pm, and as this event is held after hours, there will be no access to the library prior to 5.45pm.

This event is wheelchair accessible.

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About the authors…

Jodi McAlister

Jodi-McAlister001_web-2Jodi is an author and academic from Kiama, a seaside holiday town on the south coast of New South Wales. Her PhD was awarded by Macquarie University in 2015, and she is currently a lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University in Melbourne. Her academic work focuses on the history of love, sex, women and girls, popular culture and fiction. It means that reading romance novels and watching The Bachelor is technically work for her.

You can find Jodi on Twitter at @JodiMcA, where she tweets regularly about her research, her writing, cool things she finds interesting, her hero worship of Kate Bush, and her slightly-too-intense passion for The Bold and the Beautiful. She is the author of Valentine, Ironheart and Misrule in the Valentine series.


Astrid Scholte

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.21.21 amRaised on a diet of Spielberg, Lucas and Disney, Astrid knew she wanted to be surrounded by all things fantastical from a young age. She’s spent the last ten years working in film, animation and television as both an artist and manager. Career highlights include working on James Cameron’s Avatar, Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin and Happy Feet 2 by George Miller.

She’s a visual writer and aims to capture the vivid stories that play like movies in her head. When she’s not writing, she’s painting her favourite fictional characters and obliging her furry overlords, Lilo and Mickey. She lives in Melbourne.


Michael Pryor

Pryor1-lo-resMichael Pryor is one of Australia’s premier Science Fiction and Fantasy authors.

He has more than a million words in print, publishing more than thirty-five books and over fifty short stories.

Michael has been shortlisted seven times for the Aurealis Awards and seven of his books have been CBCA Notable Books.

For more on Michael and his books, go to http://www.michaelpryor.com.au.

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The YA Room

What to Read Next If You Loved… A Curse So Dark and Lonely

So I really loved reading A Curse So Dark and Lonely. I enjoyed the retelling of a much-loved classic, I loved the characters, I loved the twist at the end… everything! I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I was at a bit of a loss over what to read next. In case you were feeling the same, I’ve compiled this handy list on what you might enjoy next based on your favourite element in A Curse So Dark and Lonely!

You’re welcome.

If you loved the retelling…

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While it doesn’t follow the tale of Beauty and the Beast quite as closely as A Curse So Dark and Lonely does, A Court of Thorns and Roses (I just realised how similar the rhythm of those two titles are, hm) is still a tale of a cursed land ruled by a cursed leader, and a girl who can only break that curse with love. Plus it has that heart wrenching moment of letting go of the one you love, even if it dooms yourself. I’m a sucker for that kind of torture.

If you loved the dual perspective…

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I am such a huge fan of multiple points of view in a novel, so I was thrilled when I was only expecting Harper’s, and was blessed with Rhen’s perspective as well. There’s just so much it adds to the story, especially when the characters’ worlds are vastly different. The same is true of the two main characters in To Kill A Kingdom. One is a siren princess, the other a pirate prince who hunts her. It’s such a joy to experience both worlds of sea and land, and watch their stories slowly entangle.

If you loved the shapeshifting…

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It wouldn’t be a Beauty and the Beast retelling without the beast. I loved being able to experience the full force of Rhen’s curse after hearing about the monster for so long, even if he sounded terrifying. Sky Hawkins in Fire and Heist isn’t quite so terrifying, but she does have some wicked powers. Fire and Heist is such a fun book about a were-dragon family and a coming-of-age heist, as well as learning how to stretch your wings… literally.

If you loved the parallel world…

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It’s the kind of magic I know we’ve all dreamed about before: Going about your daily life and suddenly finding yourself transported into a fantasy world. Just like Harper, Alexandra Jennings finds herself whisked away into a parallel universe known as Medora. She studies at the school of Akarnae until she can be sent home, but becomes completely wrapped up in her new world. I would be too – Medora sounds amazing and I’m booking my trip there ASAP!

If you loved the curse…

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Curses are one of my favourite elements in a fantasy novel. Blue has been told her entire life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Her solution was to just stay away from boys – especially those who attend Aglionby. But when she becomes caught up in Richard Gansey’s quest to find the resting place of a dead Welsh king, she finds it hard to keep from fulfilling her curse. The Raven Boys also features multiple perspectives, a little bit of magic, and a whole lot of Latin.

I hope this list helps while you’re scanning the shelves of your local bookstore! What was your favourite element of A Curse So Dark and Lonely? Will you be trying any of these ones?

See you at the book meet on Tuesday!

Keep Them in Suspense | Q&A

It’s hard to believe YA Day is only two weeks away! We couldn’t be more excited for the epic day of #LoveOzYA goodness we have planned. With 15 Aussie authors and five panels (plus the chance to get all your books signed, and even win some prize packs), this is a day you won’t want to miss out on.

Make sure you’ve booked your tickets through the Writers Victoria website if you haven’t already!

Today we’re sharing a little Q&A with Fleur Ferris, Anna Snoekstra, and Sarah Epstein, who’ll be appearing at YA Day on the ‘Keep Them in Suspense’ panel, which is all about crime, thrillers, and what it takes to write an unputdownable novel. This is just a taste of what’s to come on Saturday 9th February!

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