Windows on Writers

Tomorrow I will spend an hour sitting in the window of Eltham Bookshop writing a particularly tricky chapter of my latest novel. It’s probably going to feel a little weird, but it’s a fun idea dreamt up by the completely awe-inspiring bookseller Meera Govil,

August 11th is National Bookshop Day and turning authors into a window display is one of Meera’s ways of celebrating. And we all need to celebrate and support bookshops. Although I buy some of my books on line, nothing can replace the pleasure of browsing the shelves of a well-stocked bookshop. They are places of inspiration and connection to a universe of writers and readers.

I’ll be in the window seat of Eltham Bookshop from 3.30-4.30 pm tomorrow afternoon. There’ll be other authors making themselves comfortable earlier in the day – we’ve been promised a cosy seat and a cup of best EBS coffee/ hot chocolate/cardamom tea or a glass of wine to spur us on to complete our magnus opuses.

Meera Govil is the Australian Booksellers Association and Text Publishing 2012 Bookseller of the Year and it’s not hard to understand why. 
Here’s Meera’s take on tomorrow:

Window on  Writers – celebrating the written word

Booklovers are invited to visit ELTHAMbookshop and find a shifting  windowscape on writers as writers and poets sit in our window composing  their next masterpiece.

You are allowed to ask them 3  terrifying questions about the kind of book they are attempting to write to  try and guess who they are.  A signed copy of their masterpiece will be  given to the booklover who comes closest to the truth.

If you  don’t win you can still get copies of their books signed, browse and buy  more books and raise a toast to the good health of books, readers, writers  and the bookshop.

All  happening from 10.30am until  4.30pm at:

ELTHAM bookshop
970 Main  Road

Christmas Shopping at Collected Works

I’m heading into the city this morning and hoping to make a dint in my Christmas list. First stop, the wonderful Collected Works Bookshop.

I love Collected works. It’s on my list of top places in Melbourne to hang out so I was alarmed when I heard that it’s struggling to keep its head above water.

It would be awful to come back from our year on the road and discover that Collected Works had shut its doors. It’s a Melbourne institution, a haven, and the only place in town where you can find a huge selection of poetry. So many bookshops these days don’t keep many backlisted titles on their shelves but Collected Works has shelves chockablock full of beautiful anthologies, single volumes – you name it.

So if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping, begin the adventure at Collected Works.


I know the above reads like an advertisement but visiting Kris Hemensley at Collected Works is a seriously fun adventure. Kris always helps me to discover new authors and reminds me of old faves. I came home with a swag of lovely tiles which will be hard to part with as I like each book so much. I can’t blog about them or I’ll spoil the pleasure for the people who will receive them very soon.

The End of a Favourite Haven

It’s closing! City Basement Books, one of my favourite second hand bookshops in Melbourne, if not the world, is having its final, end of everything sale and will close its doors at the end of April.

I’ve spent so many hours in their basement bookshop, sitting on a stool, scanning shelves, making little ‘must have’ piles beside me, lugging more books than I can afford up to the front desk and then reluctantly leaving some behind for my next visit.

When my kids were small, it was one of our favourite city haunts. We could easily lose an afternoon wandering from the classics to the kids books with a long detour past the travel and reference sections. We loved the musty, dusty odour of the basement, the piles of unshelved books that teetered at the end of the aisles and the life-size cardboard cut-out figure of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer that stood behind the counter.

Trips into the city just aren’t going to be the same. I’ll have to develop a whole new travel routine, which is going to be really hard. Any time I went into town, City Basement Books was always the last stop-off before I jumped onto the train home, a favourite haven at the end of a long day.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Every adult was once a child and the child inside them never completely disappears.”

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