Back to Booktown


Clunes Booktown. Image by MOJO Photography.

Clunes Booktown. Image by MOJO Photography.

Back in 2007 the millennial drought was well under way. The country was dry and farming communities were hurting. Clunes, the historic town 40km west of Daylesford, was suffering. Shops were closing and there was an uneasy sense of decline in the community. A group of locals put their minds together and decided to gather some book traders and turn Clunes into a mini book fair for a day. They expected a few hundred people. Six thousand showed up. Not only that but out of a population of 900 people 100 volunteered to help. They called it Booktown and next month sees the 12th annual Booktown at which 18,000 are expected to attend. 

Clunes Booktown Festival, held on the first weekend in May, will draw thousands to this historical towns beautiful streetscape with shopfronts highlighting the town’s love of books. 

Clunes is Australia’s only booktown – a town dedicated to books and writers – and you can see this throughout the year as the community is the home to many writers and artists who find inspiration in the historical village. Local Ballarat poet, Nathan Curnow, will be one of the many authors presenting at this year’s event. His latest publication, The Apocalypse Awards, is a collection of his writings, pinpointing his eye for detail and ear for exquisite music. Nathan will be joined by some of Australia’s most prolific and fascinating authors at this year’s Booktown Festival including Jane Caro, Sarah Epstein, Christian White, Georgina Reid, Alice Pung, Jock Serong and Clunes local resident writer JP Pomare. 

Curated discussions including “Do the best crime stories take place in fictional worlds?” draw upon the popularity of true crime stories and the enormous surge of podcasts in this genre. Australians simply can’t get enough. Leading authors and experts will join to discuss this and other hot topics trending on social media including our current political climate, slowing down at home and modern-day feminism. 

The Clunes Booktown Festival takes place on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May. Tickets are $10. For further information and to book tickets, visit 

P.S. Author talks are quickly selling out, so secure your seats now:

Image by MOJO Photography

Image by MOJO Photography


For your chance to win a weekend double pass to Clunes Booktown on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May, simply fill out the form below and tell us what you are looking forward to the MOST about Booktown Festival.

Entries close at 5pm on Friday 26 April 2019. Winner will be notified by email.

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