Clunes Booktown booming with 20,000 readers to visit

Clunes Booktown director Tess Brady at The Known World Bookshop in Ballarat. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Clunes Booktown director Tess Brady at The Known World Bookshop in Ballarat. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

WITH the eighth annual Clunes Booktown just around the corner, organisers continue to be surprised at how successful the festival has become. 

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Clunes Booktown

WHEN: May 3 and 4

COST: $5 badge gives all access

INFO: clunesbooktown.com.au

Creative Clunes chair and artistic director Dr Tess Brady was part of a group of four who instigated the festival. 

“I’m constantly amazed and flabbergasted by what it’s turned in to,” she said. 

“I was in a group and together we were noticing a change in the community and put the festival together. 

“It was a bit of an experiment in its first year. We were just seeing how it worked.

“About 6000 people came and we ran out of everything: food, water and even electricity.”

Now the festival expects 18,000 to 20,000 visitors. It has 50 book traders who come to town, as well as the eight traders based in Clunes. 

"It’s finding the book you didn’t even know you were looking for... It may have belonged to their grandmother, or the favourite book that got lost."

“There are all types of books, from new to antique, out-of-print to rare.”

She said they had expanded the children’s centre, which has been designed so that children will feel like they are walking into a book. 

Dr Brady said art featuring books would also be included, with artist An Kyunghee flying in from South Korea. 

“The University of Melbourne library and State Library of Victoria are also bringing in some of their rare books.”

She said the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka would display a list of banned books across the world and why they were banned. 

Dr Brady said she loved seeing people sitting down and showing the books they had found to others.

“It’s finding the book you didn’t even know you were looking for,” she said.

“It may have belonged to their grandmother, or the favourite book that got lost.” 

Michelle Coxall, who owns The Known World Bookshop in Ballarat, is returning as a trader for the seventh year. 

“I went the first year to look and was encouraged by the people there all interested in and loving books,” Ms Coxall said.

“It really is a celebration of books, which is incredible in the 21st century when we’re in a technology-drenched world, that people still enjoy a hard copy book.” 

Creative Clunes manager Sheila Hollingworth said you had to be open to something different to attend the festival.

“It truly does showcase a beautiful old town, where you transport yourself through the looking glass into another world.” 

Dr Brady advised wearing sensible walking shoes and warm clothes to ensure enjoyment of the day.

Extra trains to Clunes for Booktown festival

Sheila Hollingworth,Tess Brady, Simon Ramsay and Peter Gibson announcing extra V/Line train services to Clunes Booktown this weekend. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Sheila Hollingworth,Tess Brady, Simon Ramsay and Peter Gibson announcing extra V/Line train services to Clunes Booktown this weekend. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

EXTRA trains will run to and from Clunes over the weekend for the Clunes Booktown festival. 

Two extra trains on top of the daily service will run from Ballarat to Maryborough, stopping in Creswick and Talbot and returning to Ballarat. 

V/Line regional manager Peter Gibson said there was usually one return service from Melbourne to Maryborough through Ballarat each day.

He said adding the services would give people greater access to Clunes and given them the option not to drive.

"It's to encourage more people from Ballarat and Maryborough to go, as well as give Melbourne people the option to use public transport," Mr Gibson. 

He said they had worked closely with Clunes people to fill a void.

"The town are providing the opportunity to go to the event, and we're providing a means of transport to get there.

"We're supporting the event this year. If it's well received and supported by the public we'll look to continue it in the future." 

Member for western Victoria Simon Ramsay said each train would be a three-car VLocity train with seating for 228 people. 

"A mini-bus and horse and cart will also operate between the Booktown Festival and the station for visitors." 

Normal V/Line fares will apply. 

The proposed timetable is available here: clunesbooktown.com.au/contact-us/directions/

What's your favourite book and why?

Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris

Actually, I have two. The first is The Outsider by Albert Camus. I first read this in Year 12 and it gave me a great insight into the human condition. My second is a children's book, The Night We Made The Flag, by Carole Wilkinson, which shines a light on the important role played by women during the Eureka uprising.

Best-selling author Marion Lennox

My all-time favourite book is Anne of Green Gables. It's the first book I fell deeply in love with. I read the book to my mother in her last days before she died after she had a stroke. She said the words along with me. It's one of her favourite books too. It resonates with all generations.

Booktown director Dr Tess Brady

Liquid Nitrogen by Jennifer Maiden. I've only read it in the past six months. It's a fantastic collection of poetry which portrays characters we know like Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Hilary Clinton. She gives her view of the world in the world we know with brilliant poetry. It's the best poetry book I've read for 50 years.

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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