Clunes is a quiet, charming Goldfields village about 34 kilometres outside Ballarat, but once a year it becomes a haven for lovers – book lovers.
Clunes is an international booktown – one of those rare communities with a disproportionate number of second-hand and antiquarian book shops and a passion for all things literature.
The Clunes Booktown Festival on May 6-7 will see the usual population of 2000 swell to more than 18,000 as bookworms descend on the community with bibliophilic fervour.
There are seven bookshops in town and all will throw open their doors, place tables laden with literary offerings on pavements and streets, and welcome those wanting to stock their bookshelves with novels or even find a rare edition.
Some of the best rare, antiquarian and art booksellers in Victoria will attend and many heritage buildings will open to the public.
Author talks are a great favourite and this year will feature writer, broadcaster and Fight Like a Girl author Clementine Ford, Hannah Kent (Burial Rites and The Good People), A.S. Patric (Black Rock White City), Jock Serong (Rules of Backyard Cricket), Mark Smith (The Road to Winter) and Kate Grenville (The Case Against Fragrance).
Various workshops will appeal to young and old including Magazine in a Weekend, where participants will learn about researching and writing magazine articles, before their stories are combined into an online magazine.
Drama students will stage pop-up Shakespearean performances and there will be poetry recitals and musical performances including the Wesley College Big Band, Daylesford Brass Band, Creswick Brass Band and the Ballarat High School Whizz Band Orchestra.
A series of Scrabble games will be hosted by the Ballarat and Victorian Scrabble Associations.
Entry to the general festival $10 adults, $5 (ages 12-18), under 12s and postcode 3370 residents free. Price of author talks extra. Bookings open.