All posts by Samuel

About Samuel

Samuel has worked at Mostly Books since he was sixteen years old. He’s now twenty-three. During his time as a bookseller, he’s also completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Creative Writing at Flinders University, with an Honours thesis on the representation of LGBT people in young adult fiction, for which he was awarded a University Medal. He's had a few short stories published, judged the Indie Book Award three times and been twice nominated for Random House Young Bookseller of the Year. He reads practically everything (except for sport biographies and self-help books), and particularly enjoys contemporary Australian literary fiction, young adult and children’s fiction, surreal and magic-realist fiction and long-form journalism. He is the person to ask if you need help finding a book for a reluctant reader. His favourite part of the job is running the Young Writers Group, which has been going strong since July 2012.

The Mostly Books Literary Awards

First Thursday Book Club Poster JPGWith three independently-run book clubs on the second, third and last Thursdays of the month respectively, we thought it was time to claim the remaining Thursday and start a club of our own!

Our new First Thursday Book Club will be open to all on a drop-in basis. Starting in April with the Indie Book Award, we’ll read our way through a year’s worth of literary prizewinners.

  • April: The Indie Book Award
  • May: The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • June: The Vogel Literary Award
  • July: The Miles Franklin Literary Award
  • August: The Women’s Prize for Fiction
  • September: The Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction
  • October: The CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers
  • November: The Man Booker Prize for Fiction
  • December: The Nobel Prize for Literature

We’ll schedule an extra meeting to discuss the winner of the Stella Prize on the first available leap-Thursday (that is, the fourth Thursday of a month with five Thursdays) after the end of April.

Then, while we wait for the award season to begin again, we’ll revisit some awards from the previous year that we couldn’t fit in.

  • January: The Best Australian Stories
  • February: The IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • March: The Patrick White Award

The discussion begins at 7:30 pm on Thursday November 7 with the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction – whatever it turns out to be. Then, on Thursday December 5, we’ll discuss Alice Munro, who has just won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Hope to see you there!

NaNoWriMo Approaches


Last year, seven of our intrepid young writers attempted the ultimate literary challenge: writing a novel in thirty days from November 1-30. Four of them succeeded. The other three (including myself) are winners anyway for having attempted it. Between us, we wrote over one hundred thousand words during the month of November.

NaNo CrestThis is the thirty-day period of creative mayhem known as National Novel Writing Month. You may have heard of it already – last year, nearly 350 000 people around the world participated.

Mostly Books will be facilitating NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program again this year. (As far as I know, we are the only people running the program in South Australia.) If you’re eighteen or under, you’re invited to join our team, set your own word count goal and be guided through thirty days of spontaneous writing.

nano_13_progress_chart_mainrgb[1]More information is available at The idea is to go into November with no idea what you’re doing, and let your imagination run completely wild. Quantity over quality is the rule. No self-editing is allowed until after the end of the month.

Once you’ve signed up on the website, you’ll receive email pep talks from professional authors, and be able to update your word count metre for all your friends to see. We’ll also have a word-count metre poster up in the shop, to be filled up with stickers as the month rolls on. It’ll look like the one on the right.

Email Samuel to register your interest and join our online classroom.

Meet Susan Duncan

Following the success of our events at Ginger’s Coffee Studio with Hannah Kent and Anna Goldsworthy, we’re gearing up for our final literary evening of the year.

Susan Duncan

Join us at 7:00 pm on Monday October 21 to meet Susan Duncan, author of The House at Salvation CreekThe Briny Cafe and, most recently, Gone Fishing.

Susan has had a twenty-five year career spanning newspaper, radio and magazines, including as editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly and New Idea.

We’ve brought the ticket price down to $25 a head. Food is included, drinks are available for purchase.

RSVP below (and on Facebook, if you’re a hip social media kind of person), then pick up your tickets from the shop.

Hope to see you there for what should be a great night!

Vote Now on the 2013 Inky Awards

Inside a DogIf you’re aged 12-20, you’re eligible to vote on the Inky Awards, Australia’s most prestigious young-adult-judged prize for young adult fiction, at the State Library of Victoria’s kids book review website Inside a Dog.

Last year’s winners were Shift by Em Bailey and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (of which we’ve sold so many copies that I’ve now lost count.)

The shortlisted books for this year are:

Gold Inky (Australian YA titles)

  • Friday Brown – Vikki Wakefield
  • Cry Blue Murder – Kim Kane and Marion Roberts
  • Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil
  • Girl Defective – Simmone Howell
  • My Life as an Alphabet – Barry Jonsberg

Silver Inky (International YA titles)

  • The Diviners – Libba Bray
  • This is Not a Test – Courtney Summers
  • Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
  • The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
  • See You at Harry’s – Jo Knowles

Read any of these? Vote at You have until October 18.

I’m too old to cast my vote – but in a way, that’s a good thing. It’s silly to have prizes for children’s books judged by adults, don’t you think?

Stocktake Sale

Most shops have their stocktake sale before the stocktake. That would be too mainstream for us.

Sale Table 4

Sale Table Sign

We’re discounting all our damaged and superseded titles, as well as a whole lot of perfectly good ones that have just been sitting on the shelf for too long. All are 50% off the marked price for this week only. Among the discounted books, you’ll find a lot of science fiction and fantasy, with authors including Terry Brooks, Paul Collins, Kylie Chan, Peter V. Brett, Kim Falconer, James Rollins, David Eddings, Sean Russell, Simon Brown, Joel Shepherd, Jennifer Fallon, Tracy Harding, Sean Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ian Irvine.

We may add to the table over the course of the week, but this sale is strictly while stocks last.

Sale Table 1

Sale Table 4

Win Tickets to Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson and the Sea of MonstersWant to be among the first to see the new Percy Jackson movie? The first five customers to buy a copy of Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters and mention that they saw this offer on our blog or Facebook will receive a free double pass to the film. Season begins September 19.

(I should probably let you know that the tickets have a lot of fine print on them: Valid at participating cinemas in SA only, not valid Tuesdays or Public Holidays, not valid after 5:00 pm Fridays or Saturdays, not valid Event Cinemas VMax & Gold Class or Reading Gold Lounge. Still – free movie tickets!)

Meet Danyse Crotti Next Thursday Night

Alkaline AliveThere’s still room for more people at our event with Danyse Crotti this coming Thursday evening, September 5, 6:30 pm in store.

Danyse will be discussing her approach to healthy eating, and signing copies of her recipe book, Alkaline Alive. She will be happy to answer any questions you have about alkaline food. Herbal teas and nibbles will be provided.

You can download our poster for the event here.

There’s no cost, but we’d love you to RSVP below (and also on our Facebook page, if you’re feeling enthusiastic.)

Eloise Quinn-Valentine Wins First Prize at the Salisbury Writers Festival

Congratulations to Young Writers Group member Eloise Quinn-Valentine, whose story ‘Clear Waters’ beat one hundred others from South Australia to win first prize in the Youth Division of the 2013 Salisbury Writers Festival Writing Competition. Eloise is fifteen years old.

You can read her prizewinning story below.

Continue reading Eloise Quinn-Valentine Wins First Prize at the Salisbury Writers Festival

An Evening with Anna Goldsworthy

Anna 1

‘I had never intended to become a memoirist – let alone a serial memoirist.’

But, after listening to her speak at Ginger’s Coffee Studio, we can add ‘serial memoirist’ to Anna Goldworthy’s extensive list of virtues. As well as being an award-winning classical pianist and writer, Anna is a warm, articulate and engaging speaker with a self-deprecating sense of humour. And, as everyone who met her on Monday night can attest, she is exceptionally tall.

Anna, Kate and Charmaine

Speaking to all three of her published works – her two memoirs Piano Lessons and Welcome to Your New Life, and her Quarterly Essay Unfinished Business: Sex, Freedom and Misogyny – Anna discussed issues of female subjectivity, motherhood, music and the craft of memoir.

She noted that, while memoir at its worst can be self-absorbed, she has always been attracted to the kind of memoir that focuses on characters other than the memoirist. Her first book, Piano Lessons, is as much a tribute to her teacher Eleonora Sivan as it is a reflection on her own youth. And, despite setting out to put mothers back in the spotlight with Welcome to Your New Life, she found herself writing the entire book in the second person; addressing it to you, making her newborn son the centre of the work.

Anna 2

She finished with a reading from this same work; a particularly incisive passage on motherly anxiety (specifically the anxiety that your infant child will somehow be dropped into a composting toilet) that had everyone in the audience laughing.

Anna’s next big writing gig is the premiere of the Victorian Opera’s production of The Magic Pudding. Come October, she will be a librettist as well.

CBCA Winners Announced

Today is the first day of Book Week, which runs until next Friday, August 23. The winners of the Children’s Book Council of Australia‘s Book of the Year Awards were announced yesterday, and they are:

Sea HeartsOlder Readers Book of the Year 2013

Winner: Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan

The Ink Bridge, Neil Grant
Friday Brown, Vikki Wakefield

Children of the KingYounger Readers Book of the Year 2013

Winner: The Children of the King, Sonya Hartnett

Pennies for Hitler, Jackie French
The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk, Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King

Terrible SuitcaseEarly Childhood Book of the Year 2013

Winner: The Terrible Suitcase, Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood

With Nan, Tania Cox and Karen Blair
Too Many Elephants in This House, Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner *

The CoatPicture Book of the Year 2013

Winner: The Coat, Ron Brooks and Julie Hunt

Herman and Rosie, Gus Gordon
Sophie Scott Goes South, Alison Lester

Tom the Outback MailmanEve Pownall Information Book of the Year 2013

Winner: Tom the Outback Mailman, Kristin Weidenbach and Tony Ide

Lyrebird! A True Story, Jackie Kerin and Peter Gouldthorpe
Topsy-Turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers, Kirsty Murray

* If I’d been judging it, Too Many Elephants in This House would have won the whole thing.