The historic hamlet of Clunes will transform into a booklovers’ paradise on March 23 and 24 with author panels, and outdoor book bazaar of new, second-hand and rare volumes, free music in the park, and family activities.

Festival entry will be free for the first time in a decade, with open access to the iconic outdoor book bazaar of new, second-hand and rare volumes, free music in the park, and family activities.

Creative Clunes CEO Sue Beal has curated a program of authors talks spanning history, romance, fantasy, poetry, self-publishing and journalism. Author panels will debate the ethics of crime writing, the role of booze in Australian culture, how to write books that matter for young audiences, and whether journalism is serving our democracy. Tickets are now on sale for events including:

  • LET ME READ TO YOU: Seasoned storytellers Helen Garner, Jane Clifton and Wayne Macauley will weave their magic with Jacinta Parsons.
  • KILLING WOMEN, FACT AND FICTION: We all agree men should stop killing women. Is it also time for crime writers to move on from serial femicide? Storytellers Kerryn Mayne, Robyn Walton, Emily Webb and Carmel Bird will discuss, with Kate Driscoll adding a researcher’s lens and Janice Simpson as chair.
  • BUILDING A CAREER: Three First Nations women – chef, restaurateur and author Nornie Bero, academic Crystal McKinnon, and actor and senior public servant Kylie Belling – will discuss achieving agency, self-worth and recognition in this place and time, with Tony Birch.
  • TELLING OUR STORIES: Nova Weetman (Love, Death and Other Scenes), Maxine Beneba Clarke (The Hate Race), Sam Drummond (Broke) and Sarah Myles (The Wolf Hour) will talk about transforming experience into story with Carmel Bird.
  • POLITICS, PLEASURE AND STIGMA – DRINKING IN AUSTRALIA: Historians Richard Gilbert and Alex Ettling will discuss the role of alcohol in our culture with sociologist Sarah MacLean and chair Bill Garner.
  • COMING OF AGE: Miles Franklin winner Sofie Laguna, Sharon Postlewhite and Shivaun Plozza will discuss tales by and for those who will inherit our biggest challenges, with Andrea Rowe.
  • MAKING QUEER HISTORY: Michael Earp, Wayne Murdoch and Ange Bailey will discuss the value of records being collected, conserved, transmitted and controlled by the folk whose actions and memories informed those records, with Dennis Altman in the chair.
  • TALES OF LOVE: Sometimes love conquers all. Often it hurts. Steph Vizard, Carrie Tiffany and Lillian Lumley will talk about representing intimate relationships with Alicia Thompson.
  • WHAT MAKES A GOOD READ: Alice Pung, Tony Birch and Joanna Murray-Smith have all written works on the Year 12 syllabus. They will talk with Rebecca Fraser about how we keep the next generation reading.

Victorian stories will take centre stage, with tales from the goldfields, a sneak peek into State Library Victoria’s work on conservation, collections and exhibitions, and great local food and wine available.

For the full details of music, workshops and additional author talks including events with Dennis Altman (Death in the Sauna), Toni Jordan (Prettier if She Smiled More), Megan Rogers (The Heart is a Star), Will Cox and Jess Ho visit

This article is based on a media release from Clunes book Town.