We’re going on a book hunt: Clunes Book Festival in pictures

One weekend a year, Clunes – a small, old gold mining town in regional Victoria, Australia – is host to a book festival. The main street of this international book town is closed off and there are literally thousands of (mostly) second hand books for sale, spread across makeshift marques, stacked in unused shop fronts, shelved in established book shops and crammed into mobile book vans. Some of the book tents smell like moth balls, some are a bit dank, but all of them have that wonderful smell of pre-loved books.

It’s a lovely event, full of old hippies, middle-aged book worms, twenty-something book nerds and even younger booksters. It’s unpretentious, relaxed, rustic bordering on eccentric, and usually a bit cold.

Can you imagine the delight of being surrounded by books, authors, bookworms and cafes for two whole days? In case you can’t, here are my photos to help.  Enjoy – vicariously!

This is what bookish types look like en masse. Can anyone take a stab at what the collective noun would be? (Please note the various large bags for inevitable book haul).


Boy looking at books
Master Five took no prisoners as he rifled through the spoils.


Pile of books
I never knew this book existed! I had to buy it (being my surname); the blurb makes it sound pretty gritty. Anyone read it?


Boy reading book
This is basically all I saw of Master Seven all weekend. He read 5 books in 2 days.


Open fire
It wasn’t like northern hemisphere cold, but it was chilly enough to warrant a bit of open log-fire action.




Row of Kate Grenville books
Kate Grenville was part of a panel discussing writing about Aboriginality. She is my now my most favourite author that I’ve never read. She is wise, articulate and full of grace. The Secret River is suddenly high on my to read list.


A bit of farmyard-inspired maze play.


Hannh Kent talking
I listened to Hannah Kent talk about The Good People. Oh my, oh my. Thirty-two years old and a bloody legend. She is destined for some major, major book prize.


This was my catch of the day.


Clunes, I salute you.  Until next year…

This is a site about books and about tea, and how we should read more books and drink more tea. Sometimes, it's hard to know what books to read and what tea to drink. This is where I can help out.


  1. This sounds like paradise! What a gorgeous festival. 5 books in 2 days reminds me of me as a child, before pesky things like income earning and meal preparation got in the way of my reading time – something has gone seriously wrong in my life somewhere…! I wish you & your family many happy hours reading through your Clunes book hauls 🙂

    • I loved that they found it properly exciting to be at a book festival. They were as focussed and driven in their fossicking as any adult there!

  2. What a wonderful event that sounds – pity about those grey skies. How many books did you aquire? I think I would have found resistance very hard…. especially with those pristine looking Penguins

    • I was incredibly restrained and bought a grand total of two books! (I couldn’t face adding anything more to my TBR list!) The boys’ book haul was way more impressive; they came away with a towering stack.

  3. How glorious! Those Penguins are to die for!

  4. Heidi Catherine

    I just read The Secret River. Definitely move it up your reading list. There’s so much to take away from it. Think I might need to make my way to Clunes next year!

    • I’m sure you’d love it. There was a few authors there with their own stalls. Something to think about?

  5. Our collective noun should be a binding of bookish types. I’m holding off from getting The Good People until I’ve read a few more of the books I already own, but I’m itching to read it. I loved Burial Rites. I get overwhelmed at book gatherings. I’ve ​been to Hay-on-Wye once (not the literary festival, the town) and found it exciting but terrifying – so many books in one place, all of them a potential serendipitous encounter, how do you begin to know what you’re going to buy? I sometimes feel the same way in book shops when I haven’t gone in with a strategy. I should probably seek help.

    • I get the overwhelmed feeling of being faced with too many books. This time round, my strategy was just to not buy anything (although I did buy two books). This meant I could look with interest, but not have to haggle with myself. It kind of worked. Yes, do put The Good People on your list – I’m sure you’d love it.

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