Category Archives: News

Introducing Ben and Jess

They’ve now been at Mostly Books for several months, so it’s about time we introduced them properly. Meet Jess and Ben, our newest booksellers.


Ever since she started working in her first bookstore at age 17, Jess has always loved selling, reading and talking about books. She particularly likes reading fantasy, science, history and gardening books, but often finds herself falling in love with nearly every other book that comes into the store too! Most of all, she loves the thrill of being able to make someone’s day by tracking down and finding a book that they’ve been searching for but haven’t been able to find anywhere else.


Ben writes and reads frequently. He has been selling books at Mostly Books since one of the months in 2014. When he is not in the shop he is probably working on a play, review, essay, short story, or tweet (@BenMBrooker). As of this writing, Ben is reading books by Eric Schlosser, Geoffrey Robertson, Margaret Atwood, and Albert Camus.

New Blogger in Residence: Adela

Introducing our newest Blogger in Residence, Adela, who will be joining Eloise, Niav and Jonathan in writing for us this year. Adela has been an excellent reviewer of books for our shelves for a while now, so we’re pleased to welcome her to the team.

AdelaAdela is in Year Eight, and has been reviewing novels for Mostly Books since late 2013. She likes to read quirky, original young adult fiction, and her favourite book at the moment is Laurinda by Alice Pung. (Though Looking For Alibrandi is a close second!) Adela also writes poetry. She has been published in the 2012 and 2013 SAETA Spring Poetry Anthologies, and in the ‘Poet’s Corner’ of Indaily twice. Adela is passionate about music. When she is not reading or writing, she loves to listen to her favourite albums, play her guitar and write on her music blog.

Camp NaNoWriMo: April 2014

Attention all writers aged 10-18:

Camp NaNoWriMo Participant Banner

After three years of running the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, this year the Mostly Books Young Writers Group will also be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo.

It’s not a literal camp – more like a mini version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) during the school holidays. Participants are assigned to virtual ‘cabins’ during April and/or July, and choose their own writing goal to work towards over the course of the month. This may be as small as a short story of a few thousand words, or as large as a full length novel of 50 000 words. (Or larger. By all means go crazy.)

You can also work on sections of existing projects, which is something we discourage you from doing during the November challenge. For example, this April you might want to blast through the next 20 000 words of a novel-in-progress, or edit 30 000 words of a completed manuscript.

Participants will have access to online support and motivation via the Camp NaNoWriMo website. In addition, our own team of participants will be able to pep-talk each other at the April meeting (Saturday April 11), catch-up on missed words at the write-in (Sunday April 19) and procrastinate in our online chat room while (theoretically) typing away at their novels.

All local school-aged writers are welcome to join our cabin, including those who haven’t been to group meetings before. Spread the word!

To register your interest, email

Indie Awards 2014 Shortlist

It has been the loveliest kind of torture knowing the shortlisted titles for this year’s Indie Awards but not being able to tell you. Now, at last, we are at liberty to announce the 2014 nominees for our favourite annual literary award.

Judged by independent booksellers Australia-wide, the Indie Award recognises the best book written by an Australian author during the previous publication year in each of four categories: fiction, non-fiction, debut fiction and children’s fiction.


Barracuda Coal Creek Eyrie Narrow Road

This shortlist was fairly predictable – so much so that Charmaine was able to call it before it even hit our inbox. The four Aussie lit-fic heavyweights of last Christmas are head to head in the Best Fiction category. Much to Kate’s displeasure, they are all men. A notable absence is Thomas Keneally, whose Shame and the Captives appears to have been upstaged by the other big POW novel of 2013 – Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, already being hailed as a masterpiece. Eyrie should provide strong competition – Winton’s prizewinning record is unmatched, and he’s a perennial favourite of Australian independent booksellers. Then again, so is Christos Tsiolkas, whose Barracuda, though rougher around the edges (in my opinion) than The Slap, has made waves with readers and attracted consistently favourable reviews. For all that, we can’t entirely discount Alex Miller, who, if Charmaine’s to be believed, is incapable of writing a bad novel. Coal Creek is no exception. It’s going to be close.


Murder in Mississippi Stalking of Julia Gillard Good Life Girt

We’re extremely pleased to see The Stalking of Julia Gillard on this list. (Because this bookshop doesn’t have a feminist bias at all.) The Gillard era was being picked apart by countless writers almost before it came to a close, and we’d be happy to direct you towards whole shelves of Gillard-related reading, but if we had to pick one title, this’d be it. David Hunt’s Girt was a customer favourite at Christmastime (because why on earth did no one think of doing an irreverent Australian history book before?), and The Good Life has been one of Hugh Mackay’s most requested titles yet – which is saying a lot. For us, the out-of-nowhere nominee is John Safran’s Murder in Mississippi. We sold a few copies, but none of us have read it, and there have been no first hand reports so far. Can anyone enlighten us?

Debut Fiction

Burial Rites Rosie Project Mr Wigg Night Guest

Nobody should be at all surprised to see our two favourite books of 2013 on this list: Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites and Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project. Without playing favourites, I think we can safely predict that the award will go to one of these two. And, even though The Rosie Project was the charmingest, feelgoodest book that has ever embarrassed me at a bus stop by making me laugh too loudly, we’re all secretly hoping it’ll be Hannah. Her overnight rise to fame has been the envy of Creative Writing students across the state (including myself) and her Burial Rites holds a special place in the hearts of a number of our staff members. 2014 should see Hannah rewarded with a string of literary honours and she deserves every one of them. All this, however, is not to overlook The Night Guest, about which critics – and some of our most critical customers – have raved. McFarlane is the underrated nominee on this year’s list, and a discerning panel might favour her. As for Mr Wigg – well, Charmaine just can’t work out what anyone sees in that book. To each their own?

Children’s Fiction

39-Storey Treehouse Alphabetical Sydney Weirdo Kissed by the Moon

The Children’s Fiction category is too often a case of apples versus oranges. How do you compare a picture book like Alison Lester’s Kissed by the Moon, lovingly illustrated and perfect for reading to babies and toddlers, to Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s The 39-Storey Treehouse, which has taken the Middle and Upper Primary semi-graphic-novel to hilarious new heights? In fairness to the rest of the book industry, Griffiths and Denton really shouldn’t win another award or sell another Treehouse book – they’ve already been the smash-hit of the pre-Christmas period three years running. But then again, neither should Anh Do, who won the Indie Award outright in 2012 for The Happiest Refugee. If Weirdo does win, we might just forgive Anh on the grounds that he’s the most emphatically friendly and genuine person you’re ever likely to meet. Not to mention he writes great books. The surprise nominee for us this year is Alphabetical Sydney, which never registered on our 2013 bookselling radar. It may well be a beautiful book – but we suspect its presence on this shortlist is an indication of the high concentration of independent bookshops in New South Wales.


We’ll know the category winners by the end of February. From there, bookstores across Australia will vote to choose their favourite of the four, to be honoured as ‘Book of the Year’. Their decision will be announced on Wednesday March 26, leaving our First Thursday Book Club just eight days to read the winner before their meeting on Thursday April 3. (Because book club on the edge. That’s how we roll.) We will attempt to help you by giving you some indication of who we think it’ll be, but we accept no responsibility for getting it wrong.

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.

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?

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

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.