Thoughts and conversation: Male-only groups, like the Tough Guys Book Club, make up just under three per cent of Australian book clubs according to the Hub’s survey. Photo: FILE

Clunes hosts a bash for book clubs

May 18, 2021 BY

CLUNES Booktown Festival will celebrate book clubs at the end of the month.

Run by the team behind the Book Clubs Hub website, the two-day program of literary events on Saturday, 29 and Sunday, 30 May will be the first national in-person gathering of book clubs.

Creative Clunes board member and Book Clubs Hub chair Leslie Falkiner-Rose said book clubs are a valuable Australian mainstay.

“They are incredibly important in terms of people’s inclusiveness, wellbeing, social life, but also for the book industry,” she said.

“Book club members love and critique books, a lot of writers are in book clubs, and they learn from that.

“The Book Clubs Hub site and weekend are about promoting book clubs in certain areas, or amongst cohorts that might like them, and magnifying the impact they do have, usually running along quietly in people’s loungerooms, in pubs, in little gatherings all round the country.”

Ms Falkiner-Rose said the site and weekend are also spaces for book clubs, and librarians facilitating some of these groups publicly, to connect, learn from one another, and access further education.

The results of a Book Clubs Hubs national survey will be released, and Booktown encourage groups to fill that out before the end of the month.

An interactive map of 417 national book clubs is already visible on the site.

“It’s the first lot of data that anyone’s got nationally on book clubs, showing who they are, what they read, who’s in them, where they are, and what the criteria is for groups’ membership,” Ms Falkiner-Rose said.

“We’ll have a panel session looking at what works and what doesn’t when running book clubs. What do you do when someone’s dominating the group, and how do you choose books?

“How do you make a book club stay on track and work?”

A panel session about connecting authors with book clubs will also run, alongside a ‘speed dating’ gathering with Heather Horrocks for members of literary groups to meet and share stories.

There will be further panels on rare books, and the business of book clubs, discussions about the future of book clubs, and a headline presenter in State Library of Victoria CEO Kate Torney.

Visit clunesbooktown.com.au and bookclubshub.com for further information, the read the full program, or to secure tickets.