For about the last ten years Clunes, a small country town in Victoria, run a book festival over a weekend. I’ve been wanting to go for a number of years but distance and other commitments have prevented me, until this year.

There were about 70 stalls, selling new, second-hand, or collectable books. There were also a variety of author talks, panels, and discussions on book related subjects. I went to one of the panel discussions which was fascinating as the authors spoke about their own experiences of reading and writing.

There was also entertainment and activities for children including a maze constructed out of 300 straw hay bales. The two-day event attracts about 18,000 people each year. Not all these people are book lovers. Some just come for the entertainment as it’s a great day out. It’s also not expensive. The cost of food and drink was about what you would normally expect to pay.

It’s quite remarkable that a town of less than 2,000 people can pulled together such a successful event on an annual basis.

The Clunes Booktown Festival is a member of the International Organisation of Booktowns which is described in their brochure:

A book town is a small rural town or village in which second-hand and antiquarian bookshops are concentrated. Most Book Town have developed in villages of historic interest or of scenic beauty.

Dates for next year are: Saturday 4th May – Sunday 5th May 2019

I hope to go!