Booktown returns to Clunes this weekend but it will be a very different literary festival to previous events.
There will be no big crowds and no mass collection of book traders in the main street, but the literary essence of the festival remains.
After COVID forced the cancellation of last year's event, this year's version was "reimagined" to run over three weekends in May - but one of those weekends has now been postponed until October.
"To keep people safe during COVID times we've had to reimagine Clunes Booktown so unfortunately the usual 10,000 to 15,000 people, the street festival, and book traders has had to be changed a bit," said Clunes Booktown programmer Maryanne Vagg.
'We decided to very ambitiously spread across three weekends in May, but then we realised we were clashing with the Sydney Writers Festival and Queenscliff Literary Festival in that middle weekend, which was going to be for authors to focus on writing and people interested in writing."
That weekend will now take place in October.
Ms Vagg said this weekend, hundreds of book lovers would be in Clunes to hear from some of the country's most interesting authors in a series of author talks, conversations and panels.
Ticket sales have picked up in the past two weeks as COVID restrictions have eased and the state has settled in to COVID-normal.
"It won't be quite the same but I do know that local traders are really delighted we've gone ahead and are doing something, although not quite its usual format. It's still really important to the town that we are bringing really interesting speakers in ... and reinforcing to people that Clunes Booktown is still happening even though it might look a little different this year."
She urged visitors to book early for any sessions they want to attend because, with reduced capacity, many sessions and venues would fill early.
"We can't to door sales to people wanting to attend sessions, but they can book online right up until the event starts," Ms Vagg said.
This weekend's program features dozens of authors working across a wide variety of genres.
Tickets available now! Clunes Booktown Presents... Turn The Page: a month-long celebration of the book with author talks, panel discussions, writer workshops and really great conversations taking place across three weekends in May. https://t.co/ujK56HhCsEpic.twitter.com/n2owfBmzID— Clunes Booktown (@clunesbooktown) March 28, 2021
Ms Vagg said the Stealing the Scene session was shaping up to be popular with Rosalie Ham (who wrote The Dressmaker), Margaret Hickey and JP Pomere discussing their use of landscape almost as a character in their novels, and whether the story told out of that landscape would resonate in the same way.
Aboriginal photogapher Wayne Quilliam will talk about his new book Culture is Life, a celebration of the diversity of first national people, at Clunes Town Hall, and there will be sessions delving in to women's contemporary fiction, crime and rural noir.
Although the traditional book traders market will not take place, several book traders will move in to shopfronts along Clunes' historic main street so book lovers can still browse, or they can buy books direct from the authors who are presenting.
"Booktown will look a little different but it's really important we show the community a return on their investment over the years and get back - it's really important," Ms Vagg said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: