Writers on 50 years of Readings

This year marks Readings’ 50th birthday. To celebrate, we asked some of our favourite authors to reflect on what Readings has meant to them, and rummaged through our photo albums for a trip down memory lane.


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Robert Manne

‘I have two homes – one in bush on the outskirts of Melbourne, the other in the thinking heart of the city, Readings in Carlton. I have been browsing, buying, listening and speaking there for the past fifty years. Its genius is to have adapted seamlessly to all the trends in the book trade and to have seen off any rivals while always, in essence, staying the same.’

Pictured: Readings Carlton in 1988


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Alex Miller

‘Readings has been enormously important to me personally and to me making my way as a writer and to finding the book I want when I want it.’

Pictured: A sold-out event at Readings Kids


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Kate Grenville

‘All bookshops are my favourite places but Readings is one of my favourites. As a reader I love the staff – so warm and knowledgeable – and the huge, eclectic range of books. As a writer I always look forward to a “Readings event”, knowing my work will be enthusiastically supported and that I’ll have a chance to meet so many Readings readers – thoughtful people who love books.’

Pictured: Readings staff celebrate winning Bookstore of the Year for the first time


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Zoe Morrison

‘Over 50 years, Readings has become a significant cultural force in our community. They champion Australian writing like no one else. Their shelves offer a curation of the most powerful and tantalising stories and ideas from around the world. Personally speaking, the support they have given my writing has been hugely important to me. Whoever knew a book shop could change the world?’

Pictured: Maxine Beneba Clarke (left) in conversation with Zoe Morrison (right) at a bookstore event


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Tony Birch

‘When my first book Shadowboxing was released in 2006, one of my greatest pleasures was seeing it in the window of the Readings store on Lygon Street, the bookshop where I had spent many, many hours browsing and buying books.

I have written another six books since that day, and have bought hundreds more. Like many people, I think of Readings as my shop, and the staff as generous and helpful friends.’

Pictured: Readings Carlton in 2012


You can also read our managing director Mark Rubbo’s letter reflecting on his history with Readings and his hopes for its future here.

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