Booktown on Sundays

Clunes is a place where it’s possible to have great conversations every day, but each month the Booktown on Sundays Series steps it up a notch. The talks bring writers who’ve written outstanding books about important ideas to Clunes. Attendees get the chance to meet the authors and hear the stories behind the books.


  • Where? The Warehouse in Fraser Street, Clunes.
  • When? 2pm on the third Sunday of each month.
  • Cost? FREE  Talks are free, but the authors’ books are on sale at the event, so bring cash or card to satisfy the urge.

Also keep an eye out for writing workshops run in conjunction with Writers Victoria.

Bookmark us, or sign up to receive the Booktown monthly newsletter via email.

If you have any suggestions or feedback, please contact us at

Sponsored by Dilmac Media and supported by Hepburn Shire Council.

Current Event – 2017

October 2017 – Sally Rippin – Polly and Buster

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 15th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Sally Rippin

September 2017 – Anna Krien – Climate Deadlock

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 17th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

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August 2017 – Les Twentyman – The Mouth That Roared

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 16th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Les Twentyman Poster


July 2017 – Nick Richardson – The Game of Their Lives

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 16th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Nick Richardson Poster

June 2017 – Steven Amsterdam – The Easy Way Out

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 18th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

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May 2017 – The Constant Renovators

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 21st: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

constant renovators

April 2017 – Greg Pyers

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 16th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Greg Pyers Poster


March 2017 – Cath Crowley

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 19th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Cath Crowley Poster

February 2017 – Jane Harper

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 19th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Jane Harper Poster


November – Andrew Masterson

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 20th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

Andrew Masterson Poster

August – Trace Balla 

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 21st: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes

 Trace Bella Poster

July – Hon Tim Fischer 

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 17th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes


June – Frank Bongiorno 

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 19th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes 

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Past Events


MAY – Martin McKenzie - A Murder Without Motive

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 15th: 2 – 3 pm  | The Warehouse-Clunes, 36 Fraser Street, Clunes  | FREE

In 2004, the body of a young Perth woman was found on the grounds of a primary school. Her name was Rebecca Ryle. The killing would mystify investigators, lawyers, and psychologists – and profoundly rearrange the life of the victim’s family. It would also involve the author’s family, because his brother knew the man charged with the murder. For years, the two had circled each other suspiciously, in a world of violence, drugs, and rotten aspirations.

A Murder Without Motive is a police procedural, a meditation on suffering, and an exploration of how the different parts of the justice system make sense of the senseless. it is also a unique memoir: a mapping of the suburbs that the author grew up in, and a revelation of the dangerous underbelly of adolescent ennui.

APRIL – Tony Birch - Ghost River

MARCH – Olga Lorenzo - The Light on the Water 

Booktown on Sunday Author Talk | Sunday 20th: 1-2 pm  | Senior Citizens Hall, 25 Fraser Street, Clunes  | FREE

The Light on the Water

A little girl disappears in the wilderness. Two years later her mother is arrested for her murder. A provocative and unflinching literary novel of love, guilt and grief set against the wilderness of the Australian coast.

Recently divorced and trying to make sense of her new life, Anne takes her daughter Aida on an overnight bushwalk in the moody wilderness of Wilsons Promontory. In a split second, Aida disappears and a frantic Anne scrambles for help. Nearly two years later and still tormented by remorse and grief, Anne is charged with her daughter’s murder. She is stalked by the media and shunned by friends, former colleagues and neighbours.

A superbly written and conceived literary work about the best and the worst aspects of family life, this story asks difficult questions about society, the media, and our rush to judgement. This is a thoughtful, provocative and unflinching novel in the tradition of Helen Garner, Joan London and Charlotte Wood.

Olga Lorenzo

Olga Lorenzo is the author of The Rooms in My Mother’s House, which was published in 1996 and shortlisted for various literary awards. She has won the Felix Meyer Scholarship and the Percival Serle Bequest for her writing. Olga has taught writing at RMIT and other institutions for nineteen years. She previously worked as a journalist for the Melbourne Age.

‘The Light on the Water will be perfect for book groups – it explores many current issues and yet it is a page-turner.’ Annie Condon – Readings



MARCH - Ilka Tampke - Skin (Text)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 15th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE


Skin is the thrilling and captivating story about a young woman’s rise to power in Iron-Age Britain on the eve of the Roman invasion. This is a rousing novel about the collision of two societies, the making of a female leader, and the choices—both romantic and political—Ailia has to make amidst the storm-cloud of the Roman advance.

Ilka Tampke has undertaken incredible research and as a result, Skin is historically accurate in its depictions of the arrival of the modern world, and of what happens when an imperial culture imposes its power and crushes an ancient belief system.

Review – by Lily Mason

Coming soon!

Lily Mason is a yoga teacher, historian, works in the Booktown office and grew up not far from 23 AD in the UK before moving to Australia to party like it was 1999.


APRIL –  Alice Robinson - Anchor Point (Affirm Press)

Sns Author Talk | Sunday 19th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREEunday Selectio

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Alice Robinson“An eloquent and arresting Australian novel no reader will easily forget”


When her mother disappears into the bush, ten-year-old Laura makes an impulsive decision that will haunt her for decades. In her debut novel, local author Alice Robinson asks timely questions about our relationship to the land, the past and each other. Anchor Point is a moving addition to the emerging genre of Climate Change Fiction.

Review – by Tim Nolan

I loved this book. It started slowly, and at first I wasn’t really drawn into Laura’s experience of her world. I found that, for a ten year old, Laura’s life was too loaded with connections, memories and implications for me to find a comfortable way into her character or the story. But as the story unfolds it becomes clear that Laura is an incredibly well drawn character. In Anchor Point, Robinson edges us towards, and then right into, the deep emotional connections to place and to the ideas we have about ourselves that make change and loss such powerful human experiences.   Robinson does a great job of allowing the reader to feel time – to feel the length and depth of certain events, of their imprint on both people and places. Anchor Point covers four decades and across that whole span of time Laura continually tries to protect her sister, support her father, heal the land and, in all of that, to be the person who can bear the load. Over that time, everything around her becomes loaded by her involvement with it. Each fence post, each tree, each crack in the soil have her own struggles etched in them. In fighting the land, trying to nurture it, tame it, heal it, and untangle herself from it, we see that Laura can never really be disconnected from it. In some ways the land is indifferent to her, and despite all her efforts Laura is basically impotent and insignificant, but that doesn’t mean she can escape her connections to it. She is, like all of us really, completely tied to it.   This sense that Laura is the country, that everything around her is a fading reflection of her time on the earth, including all the people she has met and every decision she has made, is the thing that in the end makes the story, and the ache within it, so powerful.   Laura’s ache for country and for herself (for a life lived trying to do the right thing and being left wondering if it was really worth it) resonated with me. It’s easy to see how these questions make Anchor Point a book worth reading and talking about. Are we connected to place? How do “greenies” and “farmers” move beyond their differences to find ways to honour their connection to country? Is there a way to create a new and deeper understanding of indigeneity? How can we honour Indigenous connections to country and what can we learn from them? All change entails loss – either we lose the land or we lose a way of life that generations of people have struggled to create, always trying to “improve the land”. Do we have the energy to do it? And will we be left looking out a hotel window, watching the world burn, drinking a luke-warm cup of tea, and wondering if we should have made different choices?   I am really looking forward to sitting down with Alice and hearing how she crafted this brilliant debut novel, which is clearly full of heart as well as sweat and skill.

Tim Nolan is a teacher, with a special interest in environmental sustainability. He is also a Booktown volunteer and the curator of the 2015 Sunday Selections.

MAY –  Carrie Bailee - Flying on Broken Wings (Affirm Press)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 17th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

Carrie Bailee author photo

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A Journey of Unimaginable Betrayal, Resilience and Hope.

Carrie Bailee fled Canada and came to Australia when she was twenty. Once here she was assisted by a number of Australian women, and was ultimately encouraged to apply for refugee status in order to stay in this country. So began her battle to be granted asylum in Australia. Carrie stood before the Refugee Review Tribunal and revealed the dark underbelly of child sexual abuse and organized crime rings in our privileged, first-world neighbourhoods.

This is the story of one young woman’s heroic journey to survive, escape and soar above her shocking childhood experiences, and her powerful struggle for freedom and a beautiful life in Australia.

‘Moving, inspirational … Unforgettable! A compelling story of hope. I urge you to read this book.’ – Sigrid Thornton

Carrie Bailee currently lives in Melbourne with her two daughters. She is a spoken-word performer, poet, blogger, advocate and motivational speaker. Carrie tells her story to honour the capacity of the human spirit to rise above trauma. Her intention in publishing her memoir, Flying on Broken Wings, is to bring awareness to the fact that the severe abuse of children and organized criminal rings exist in our own backyards. Most importantly, to share her message of hope and resilience by transforming the victim trauma story, and speak to the possibility of what can be achieved when we have inner drive, a sense of worth, and the love and support of others in our lives.

Review by Tim Nolan

I read Flying on Broken Wings in one night. It is a harrowing and uplifting journey through unimaginable trauma and a testament to astonishing resilience. And not just the brutal resilience of someone with an iron will and the determination to survive, but the much more uplifting resilience of someone with a spirit, or soul, that would not be brutalised, even when so many of her experiences would have suggested that hopelessness or violence were the only sane options. Although it is tough going at times, and I think there may have been whole pages where my jaw was clenched and I wasn’t breathing properly, if at all, Flying on Broken Wings really is a beautiful book.

The story is shocking, but the message is about how the past does not have to define us. Even when that past is unimaginably horrible, it is possible to move towards healing and find a way to be a loving partner, parent and person.

Reading this book, I was struck by how lucky I am to be able to choose the authors that come to Clunes for the Sunday Selections author talks, and how lucky we all are that Carrie Bailee has agreed to come. Carrie’s story is about a vile aspect of society that we should be aware of, a very vulnerable group of victims we should never silence, but it is also about what she has achieved and what she is trying to encourage others to do as well. I am very proud to be bringing Carrie Bailee to Clunes. The book is inspiring and I am sure the session will be a memorable experience.

Note: This is one talk where I really encourage people to get hold of the book and read it before the event if possible.  Parents, please be really mindful of the contents of Carrie’s story before deciding to bring children or young adults along.

Tim Nolan is a teacher working with Year 9 students, a Booktown volunteer and the curator of the 2015 Sunday Selections.

JUNE - Anne Manne - The Life of I: The New Culture of Narcissism (MUP)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 21st: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

The Life of I - cover image

Manne, AnneWritten with the pace of a psychological thriller, The Life of I is a compelling account of the rise of narcissism in individuals and society. Manne examines the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the alarming rise of sexual assaults in sport and the military, as well as the vengeful killings of Elliot Rodger in California. She looks at narcissism in the pursuit of fame and our obsession with ‘making it’. She goes beyond the usual suspects of social media and celebrity culture to the deeper root of the issue: how a new narcissistic character-type is being fuelled by a cult of the self and the pursuit of wealth in a hypercompetitive consumer society.

The Life of I also offers insights from the latest work in psychology, looking at how narcissism develops. But Manne also shows that there is an alternative: how to transcend narcissism, to be fully alive to the presence of others; how to create a world where love and care are no longer turned inward. – See more at:

JULY - Lucy Sussex - Blockbuster!: Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab (Text)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 19th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

Web - Lucy Sussex

Web Fergus HumeBefore there was Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, there was Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab—the biggest- and fastest-selling detective novel of the 1800s, and Australia’s first literary blockbuster.

Fergus Hume was an aspiring playwright when he moved from Dunedin to Melbourne in 1885. He wrote The Mystery of a Hansom Cab with the humble hope of bringing his name to the attention of theatre managers. The book sold out its first run almost instantly and it became a runaway word-of-mouth phenomenon—but its author sold the copyright for a mere fifty pounds, missing out on a potential fortune.

Blockbuster! is the engrossing story of a book that would help define the genre of crime fiction, and a portrait of a great city in full bloom. Rigorously researched and full of arresting detail, this captivating book is a must-read for all fans of true crime, history and crime fiction alike.

AUGUST - Liam Houlihan – Once Upon a Time in Melbourne (MUP)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 16th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

Dirty Cops, Lying Politicians, Vampire Gigolos … An Unbelievable True Story

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Once upon a time Web - Houlihan Once Upon a Time in Melbournein Melbourne there was a gigolo who thought he was a vampire. He bit the tongue off a prostitute and was then murdered in broad daylight on a suburban street. His execution, top brass believed, was organised by police. The aftershocks of this killing—and the murder of a state witness and his wife inside their fortress home—rocked the police force and the Parliament, vanquished one government and brought the next to its knees.

This is the story of police corruption for years swept under the carpet to avoid a Royal Commission. It is the story of a police force politicised to the point of paralysis and a witness protection program that buries its mistakes. It involves a policeman still free and living in a very big house, a drug baron who survived the gangland war only to be murdered in the state’s most secure jail, and battles royale within a police force comprised of thousands of pistol-packing members.

SEPTEMBER - Ramona Koval - Bloodhound (Text)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 20th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

Web RamonaKoval_JamesPenlidis_2

Web - Koval_BloodhoundRamona Koval’s parents were Holocaust survivors who fled their homeland and settled in Melbourne. As a child, Koval learned little about their lives—only snippets from traumatic tales of destruction and escape. But she always suspected that the man who raised her was not her biological father.

One day in the 1990s, long after her mother’s death, she decides she must know the truth. A phone call leads to a photograph in the mail, then tea with strangers. Before long Koval is interrogating a demented nursing-home patient, meeting a horse whisperer in tropical Queensland, journeying to the backblocks of rural Poland, learning other languages and dealing with Kafkaesque bureaucracy, all in the hope of finding an answer.

A madcap, sometimes disturbing quest for identity recounted with Koval’s customary humour, Bloodhound takes hold of the reader and never lets go. It is a moving story of the terrible cost of war, and of family secrets.

“She’s a shining presence in the world of literature, here in Australia and right across the globe…Her voice is always recognisable, invigorating, familiar to us and greatly loved.” Helen Garner


An afternoon with Mark Isaacs

Sunday Selections Author Talk | NEW DATE Sunday 25th: 2-3.00pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

Poster3.The Syrian refugee situation has raised the profile of the discussion around how we as a community treat people who need help. This fundamental question is the biggest conversation happening in the world today: How do we, globally, nationally and individually, respond to the plight of refugees?


The problem with many of these conversations is that most opinions, articles and political promises lack either the historical perspective or the first-hand experience necessary for informed debate. Have we ever taken our fair share of refugees? Have our past responses been motivated by humanitarian concerns or economic self-interest? What’s it really like in a detention centre? Here’s a chance for you to get closer to understanding the reality by spending part of your Sunday afternoon with Mark Isaacs.

Mark Isaacs - The Undesirables: Inside Nauru (Hardie Grant)

Web - Isaacs The Undesirables


Web - Mark IsaacsMark Isaacs has a BA in Communications and a BA in International Studies from the University of Technology, Sydney. He became impassioned by the asylum seeker debate after a visit to Villawood Detention Centre while writing social justice articles for Oxfam. In October 2012, at 24, Mark was hired to work for the Salvation Army at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. He resigned after nine months.


In his book, The Undesirables, Mark Isaacs documents his experiences and observation working for the Salvation Army at the Nauru Regional Processing centre. In a time when government policy has actively tried to reduce the flow of information, Mark’s voice is vital in understanding the reality of “the Pacific Solution.”


Sarah Ferguson, from the ABC’s 7.30 Report, called it “a gobsmacking eyewitness account of the shambles and the shame that is Australia’s offshore processing policy.”


Creative Clunes and all the volunteers behind Booktown and the Sunday Selection Series invite you to come along and be a part of this conversation. Mark will be sharing his knowledge, insight, passion and experience, discussing his work and taking questions from the floor.

Check the Facebook event at: 

See you there,



Many of you are aware that Klaus Neumann was also booked to come and be a part of this discussion. Unfortunately, Klaus will be in Europe and was unable to arrange to return in time. However, I still wanted to share some information about Klaus and his book, for those who are keen to discover another great writer writing about this topic.


Klaus Neumann - Across the Seas: Australia’s Response to Refugees: A History (BlackInc)

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Web - Neumann Across the Seas

Klaus Neumann is a historian based at Swinburne University’s Institute for Social Research. His 2006 book In the Interest of National Security won the John and Patricia Ward History Prize. His Refuge Australia: Australia’s Humanitarian Record (2004) won the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2004 Human Rights Award for Non-Fiction.


In this eloquent and informative new book, historian Klaus Neumann examines both government policy and public attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers since Federation. He places the Australian story in the context of global refugee movements, and international responses to them.


Arnold Zable called it, “a riveting book, vast in scope and timely.”


NOVEMBER - Joshua Funder - Watson’s Pier (MUP)

Sunday Selections Author Talk | Sunday 15th: 2-3pm | The Warehouse, Clunes | FREE

Web Josh Funder

‘A remarkable re-creation … the real Gallipoli now emerges.’ —TOM

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Stan Watson was among the first ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and survived battle, fear and disease to build the pier at Anzac Cove from which so many men later escaped. He faced what seemed like an impossible mission: to get every man out alive. Watson never claimed to be the last man to leave Gallipoli, but through to the very end he played his part and became a hero.

Sixty-two years to the day after he stepped away from that fatal shore, Watson took a slow train to visit his family for Christmas and decided to finally tell his life story.

A beautifully told mixture of fact and fiction, Watson’s Pier traces not just one man’s journey, but the history of a nation. It also challenges the historical record of what happened in the final moments at Anzac Cove. In doing so, it offers a new perspective on the meaning of Gallipoli.


Sunday Selections Author Talk & Special Event | Sunday 13th: 2-3pm | Venue TBC, Clunes | FREE

At this stage it’s all still very HUSH HUSH! Keep checking for details.

A very special end-of-year pre-Christmas event combining books, music and a great cause, merrily brought to you by the Sunday Selections team.

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