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?


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.


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

Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • YouTube • Eventbrite

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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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!

Read More »

Mini Q&A with Danielle Binks

It’s hard to believe YA Day is just three weeks away! How exciting! We can’t wait to hear from 15 incredible Aussie authors who’ll be appearing on five epic panels. It’s a full day of bookish goodness, created in partnership with Writers Victoria! Click here to grab your tickets if you haven’t purchased them already.

Today we’re sharing a mini Q&A with literary agent, editor of Begin, End, Begin: a #LoveOzYA Anthology, and all-round amazing human being, Danielle Binks. Danielle will be appearing on the “It’s Alive!: How to Get Published” panel with Ellie Marney and Nina Kenwood on the day, and we can’t wait to hear all of them chat about their own writing and offer up tips and tricks on how to get published.

If you’re a writer and you’re looking to get published one day, this panel is sure to give you the insider knowledge you need to better equip yourself for this journey – so make sure you bring a pen and paper!

Read More »

Ask an Author Anything | Q&A

YA Day is coming up fast! We couldn’t be more excited for our #LoveOzYA-filled day, which comprises of five panels and 15 incredible authors! There’ll also be games with prizes up for grabs, and The Younger Sun will be our bookseller for the day.

In the lead up to our most anticipated event of the year, we’ll be sharing little Q&As with the attending authors to get a little sneak peek at what they might be talking about on the day. How exciting! And if you haven’t booked your ticket yet, places are going fast – reserve your spot here so you don’t miss out.

First up we have Michael Earp, Katya de Becerra, and Alison Evans from our ‘Ask an Author Anything’ panel sharing their tips and advice for all aspiring authors! Check it out!

Read More »


New Years Eve has finally arrived. This year has flown by too fast for my liking. But what a year it has been. More importantly, what a year to come. With YA Day on the horizon and all the fantastic upcoming book releases, what is there not to be excited about?  Who else plans on staying up until midnight on New Years Eve reading a good book? I know I will be. I plan on rereading the Grisha trilogy in order to get me ready for the release of King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. But enough of talking about the future. The year is not over yet. So lets take a walk down memory lane, and gush over our favourite books of 2018. Get ready to add some amazing books to your ever-growing TBR.


Sarah’s picks:

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy


I’m never going to stop gushing about The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy! I mean, how could I not be obsessed with a badass queer pirate doctor?! I aspire to be like Felicity. What a queen. This book is just such a fun, addictive read that will have you on the edge of your seat and cracking up over her wit and sarcasm. I also adored how Monty and Percy made a couple of appearances in this book too!

If you’re a fan of adventurous stories with snarky characters and some of the best banter you’ll ever read (let’s be real, of course you’re a fan of all of those things), then you need a copy of this incredible book on your TBR! I NEED ANOTHER BOOK WITH THE MONTAGUE SIBLINGS ASAP, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

City of Ghosts

9781407192765 GHOOOOOOSTS. *clears throat* Sorry about that. I’m just so excited to scream some more about one of my favourite books of 2018 – and QUEEN V! Those of you that know me will understand my love for Victoria Schwab. And she’s done it again! She’s stolen another piece of my heart with City of Ghosts, leaving me desperate to get my hands on the next book in this series, Tunnel of Bones. BRING ON 2019!

City of Ghosts is a middle grade book about a girl whose parents are making a paranormal TV show in Edinburgh, and her best friend is a ghost, and she’s able to pass through the Veil and into the ghost world. It’s absolutely, undeniably incredible. If you like Ghostbusters or Buzzfeed Unsolved, this is a must-read for you!

I Was Born for This

x293Oh look, it’s I Was Born For This. Because y’all know I haven’t screamed enough about that book this year! WHAT A NOVEL. Seriously, I don’t know why so many people are sleeping on this book. It’s such an amazing queer contemporary novel about bands and fandoms and anxiety and love and I’m highkey considering getting a quote from that book tattooed on my body. No joke.

Let me get this out there: Alice Oseman is just an incredible human. She’s a writer, and a webcomic creator, and she also made this amazing interactive game set around the characters of I Was Born For This. I’m already excited for her next book, even though I know nothing about it, nor when it will be released. But if it’s anything like I Was Born For This, or any of her previous books, I know I’m going to love it!

A Thousand Perfect Notes

36389267 Can you believe I read this book about five times this year, and it ripped out my heart every one of those times? WHY DID I DO THAT TO MYSELF?! It was just such a powerful, heart-wrenching book, and I feel like a part of me wanted to keep rereading it so I could check in with my characters and make sure they’re doing okay. I MISS THEM SO MUCH.

A Thousand Perfect Notes is a book about a reluctant piano prodigy and his strict mother who wants him to succeed as a way of living through his success and staying in the spotlight. It’s also about a girl who’s the human incarnation of sunlight, and cake, and park play dates. It’s just such a beautiful book that will stab you in the feels, and then you’ll say thanks.

What if It’s Us

9781471176395Ahh yes, how could I not love a book by two of my favourite authors of all time – Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli?! YOU DO NOT WANT TO SLEEP ON THIS BOOK, PEOPLE. I seriously cannot believe how much of myself I saw in What if it’s Us, from the character who’s a writer, to the worshipping of coffee, and even the abundance of musical references. And it’s set in New York City! COULD A BOOK BE MORE PERFECT?! I THINK NOT.

This is the kind of book that I’ve picked up in random bookstores and pressed into the hands of anyone even just glancing in the direction of the YA section. It’s a book that everyone has to read. Not only is it one of the most adorable romances I’ve ever read, it’s the kind of book that will just suck you into that world and make you want to live alongside these characters for ever. I do hope we get to see more of Arthur and Ben one day soon!


Shaun’s picks:

Truly Devious


For me, this is such an out of the blue choice (pun intended… get it, because the book is blue. It’s a good pun and I like it lol). It truly is an odd choice though, because Truly Devious is not a fantasy book. I repeat, not a fantasy book. As someone who only reads fantasy this is completely out of character. But this book, with its beautiful prose, transported me into a world that is just as imaginative and vivid as any fantasy. And that is not even the best part. Yes, this is a mystery/crime book, but its strongest aspect is its cast of characters, and ingeniously crafted dialogue that is far too relatable. My favourite character (who I want to marry) is Nate. He is an author struggling to write his second book. I haven’t even managed to publish my first, but all his anxieties and fears are just like mine, #soulmates.

Three Dark Crowns Series

two dark

Don’t tell me that choosing an entire series is cheating, because I don’t want to hear it. I love these books to bloody pieces, which is questionable considering we got off to a rocky start. That is right, I hated Three Dark Crowns. Something about the writing style didn’t fit well with me. That, and the small fact that the book felt like a prequel. Thank the heavens the ending had me hooked, giving me reason enough to even consider touching One Dark Throne. Now I am hooked! I love this world, its characters and its bombardment of plot twists. This is a deviously dark fantasy series for the ages, putting me in a constant state of shock, horror and utter bliss.

P.S. I no longer hate Three Dark Crowns. After a much needed reread, I am now in love with it.

The City of Brass


I came across this book after watching Read Between the Wine’s youtube review. She is such a fantastic BookTuber. And her review of Zenith, by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, had me drowning in tears of laughter. Go watch it. You will not regret it.

If you are a fan of An Ember in the Ashes, then you will love this book. Too me, it is like the adult fantasy equivalent, which means it’s amazing.

When creating this list, it came down to deciding between The City of Brass, and The Poppy War. That was possibly the hardest decision I have had to make this year. Yeah, that is what my life has dwindled down to. Sad, I know.

The City of Brass is a magical, spellbinding book that you will fall in love with. And, if that’s not enough, it is S. A. Chakraborty debut book.  I am green with envy.

Spinning Silver


Uprooted is my favourite fantasy book. Spinning Silver was my most anticipated book of 2018. I recommend this book to so many people, even before I had a chance to read it myself. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends didn’t like it. Their main complaint was that it was too slow-paced. Where as Uprooted is full of action, Spinning Silver lets you dwell in the every day lives of three very different, but awe-inspiring women. And I loved every moment of it. I love books that give you insight into what it is like to live as their characters, while still absorbing you in a magical world filled with ice fairies and fire demons.

Although, Spinning Silver hasn’t replaced Uprooted in my heart, it has left a permanent imprison on me and is a clear example of excellent story-telling and phenomenal writing.

Dance of Thieves

Dance of Thieves_FINAL 9.18

This year I managed to read all three books in the Remnant Chronicles. The last book in this series (The Beauty of Darkness) is comparable to a tome. Which made me all the more proud when I finally finished it.

I was so excited to read Dance of Thieves, yet some how I kept delaying. I am glad I didn’t let uni and work get in the way of the inevitable – me falling in love with this new cast of characters. This may very well be the last book I read this year. And what a way to end what has been an amazing year of reading. I have read more books than I have ever read before. Although, I didn’t make my goal of reading 100 books, #nextyearsgoals.

Dance of Thieves has Mary E. Pearson classic romance elements, but this books is so much more. It is filled with lies and deceit. Betrayal and murder. And a fast-paced plot that will have you up all night. I couldn’t have asked for more. This book trumps it predecessors, and has me on the edge of me seat waiting… no, begging for the next instalment.


Bianca’s picks:

A Map of Days


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of my favourite books OF ALL TIME so can you imagine my excitement when this new trilogy was announced? There was a lot of squealing. However, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book, since it’s set in America (and not the appropriate gloominess of Wales like in the first book) and would maybe turn out to be an instalment we didn’t need, but OMG I absolutely loved it and I’m sorry I ever doubted Ransom Riggs. It was the same, perfect haunting creepiness of the first trilogy but with a whole new wildness of the American peculiars. I loved seeing a new world with new rules (read: no rules), but still adventuring along with old characters. The writing is just so good, and Jacob Portman is my book boyfriend for life. I really, really can’t wait for the next one. I love this universe so much.

Queen of Air and Darkness


Speaking of universes I love so much, here’s another one! SHADOWHUNTERS! Cassandra Clare is the absolutely queen (see what I did there?) of characters. They’re my favourite aspect of her writing. And The Dark Artifices is my favourite trilogy out of all of them. I’m getting worked up all over again just writing this because this book was just so, so good. Emma and Julian are the greatest love story EVER TOLD and don’t even get me started on Thule. It was all so amazing, and so satisfying, and I couldn’t even be too sad when I closed the book because we are blessed with TWO MORE BOOKS in the Shadowhunter universe in 2019.

Queen of Air and Darkness was a really satisfying conclusion filled with so many twists and turns. I still think about it. And have you seen those illustrations?! I stared at the last one for a lot longer than a sane, healthy human should have.

Twice Magic


It should be no secret by now that I am a huge fan of Cressida Cowell, so of course her most recent release was going to be one of my favourites for this year! Twice Magic is the second instalment in the Wizards of Once series, and follows Wizard boy Xar and Warrior girl Wish, who have been taught to hate each other since birth. They joined forces in first book to stop the Witches, and the adventure was even better in this book. The story is filled with magic and adventure and wonderful places and characters. I could go on about Cowell’s writing all day. She also provides all the illustrations for her books, and they’re worth picking the book up on their own.

You didn’t know you wanted to read about a love triangle between a fork, a spoon, and a key, but trust me, you do.

Ash Princess


I’m going to be honest with you here and say I only picked this one up for the cover (I mean, are you seeing this?!) but I’m so glad I did, because it became a fast favourite.

It felt like a wonderfully fresh fantasy world with well-done characters and a plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. The writing was so gorgeous and captivating. There’s an extremely cool magic jewel system. As soon as I finished the book I just wanted to pick up the second one, so I’m beyond excited for its sequel, Lady Smoke, to be released in a few months. Even after almost a year of finishing this book, I still think about it. If you love fantasy, it’s seriously one you don’t want to miss.

I Am Heathcliff


I only discovered Wuthering Heights earlier this year and I fell so hard and fast. Like, low-key obsessed. So when I discovered this anthology of stories inspired by Wuthering Heights (through Juno Dawson’s Twitter, who is the only contributor to this anthology that I’d heard of) I bought it straight away.

I was not disappointed, this is an absolute must for any fan of Wuthering Heights! All the stories were different and uniquely written, and I loved not knowing what was going to come next or what element of Wuthering Heights the inspiration was drawn from. But every story had an atmospheric, dark Gothic feel that I loved so much, and usually had a possessive love feel. If you’re like me and just can’t get enough of Emily Bronte’s only book, make sure you don’t miss this one.



Happy New Years from all of us at The YA Room