on February 15, 2017 See + Do

Making Clunes a book haven

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A GROUP of passionate book lovers are making it their mission to prove that rural and regional communities are not always “slow, dusty and uncreative”.

Since 2007, the team at Creative Clunes (the group responsible for the organisation of the renowned Booktown Festival) have been solidifying Clunes’s name as a book haven.


The township was dubbed Australia’s first international Booktown in 2012, five years after the first festival was held. But Creative Clunes chair Tim Nolan says an annual event wasn’t enough.

“It became obvious to the Board of Creative Clunes that we needed to develop programs that showed Clunes was a Booktown all year round,” Tim says.

And so the Sunday monthly Booktown on Sunday sessions were established, placing an emphasis on Clunes being a Booktown rather than simply having a book festival.

Tim says the sessions aim to make Clunes synonymous with a hub of ideas and the arts, rather than a rural community that is slow, dusty and dry.

“This (stereotype) is something that Clunes, with the help of Creative Clunes, Booktown and a number of other people and organisations, is turning on its head,” he says.

“Booktown on Sunday is just one of a whole range of things to do in Clunes, but it does bring in an outstanding list of talented writers and thinkers that are just one extra entry point into a truly remarkable creative community and region.”

“We hope people get inspired to visit Clunes, read books and re-imagine what being in a rural community can be.”


The first Booktown on Sunday for 2017 will be held in February, featuring award-winning novelist Jane Harper.

The author will be discussing her debut work The Dry, which explores the intricacies of small-town relationships and rivalries, but with a mystery element.

“These sessions feature author talks (that) bring outstanding writers and thinkers to the town,” Tim says.

Booktown on Sunday will be held on Sunday February 19 from 2pm to 3pm at The Warehouse, Clunes.

For more information, visit clunesbooktown.com.au