SUNDAY 18th June 2023

8:00 – 8:45: Registration 

8:45 – 8:50: Welcome – Jay Lansdown BookPeople Immediate Past President

8:50 – 9:05: Welcome to Country (Kaurna) – Major "Moogy' Sumner

9:05 - 9:30: CEO Update

Robbie Egan speaks on key issues for bookselling and the ongoing work of the association.

9:30 – 10:00: Opening Keynote – Julia Baird

We are thrilled to welcome award-winning journalist and author Julia Baird to open the 2023 conference. She is a brilliant writer, one of Australia’s great thinkers, and is a must-see in Adelaide.

Julia Baird on Bright Shining: how grace changes everything

When Phosphorescence came out, I was stunned by the response; by the yearning of so many people to talk about our need for wonder, awe, transcendence and the natural world. Even now, I regularly get messages from people about it, it's genuinely been a joy. But in this wave of people responding to the book, I was also struck by something else. It was something a little more mysterious and hard to define. People were talking about a need to reckon with our own smallness, the need to find meaning and dignity in connection with each other, in an era of Twitter spats and rapid-fire condemnation.  To be kinder, bigger, better. To give people the benefit of the doubt. To reach for moral beauty. To me, this read like a desire to see, experience, and express grace. So what does grace look like in our world, how do we recognise it, nurture it and express it, even in the darkest of times?

Sponsored by HarperCollins Australia

10:00 – 10:20: Morning Tea - Sponsored by TitlePage

10:20 – 11:00: Nielsen report – Bianca Whiteley

Always a must-see at the BookPeople conference, Bianca Whiteley will present the annual Nielsen state of the industry report, analysing trends and breaking out performance by channel. The session will include analysis of the recent BookPeople Health of Business survey and how the results have practical application for day-to-day operations.

Sponsored by Nielsen BookData

11:00 – 11.30: International Perspective – Fraser Tanner

Fraser Tanner, Managing Director of Batch, the BA UK and Ireland’s fully owned payments and returns system, will present on the evolution of Batch and its more recent development of Batchline, a POS system for bookshops. Batch was a hot topic at Winter Institute (they also operate in that market) and provides fascinating insight into technological possibilities at the association level.

11:30 – 11:45: Indigenous Literary Foundation presentation

ILF CEO Ben Bowen and ILF Ambassador and author Dr Jared Thomas will outline the foundation’s Book Supply program which gifts books to remote communities across Australia.  Highlighting the importance of providing books that allow kids to see themselves and their culture reflected in the stories and how these book lists can provide a framework for First Nations books in your bookshops.

11:45 – 3:00: Trade Exhibition

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch – served during the trade exhibition

3:00 – 3.40: Author in Conversation – Molly Schmidt with Melissa Lucashenko and David Marr

Two powerhouse authors with books coming out in October, one fiction and one non-fiction, that examine the colonial era in Queensland. Moderated by debut author Molly Schmidt, together they will discuss the importance of truth-telling and the role books and reading have to further the conversation and encourage readers to confront and deepen their understanding of Australia’s ugly and uncomfortable past.

Sponsored by Black Inc. and the University of Queensland Press

3:40 – 4:00: Afternoon Tea

4:00 – 4:45: BookPeople member forum

Robbie Egan and the BookPeople management committee will discuss and take questions on the association’s initiatives and plans. Member-only session.

4:45 – 5:00: Annual General Meeting

Member-only session

6:30 – 7:30: Pre-dinner drinks

Special guest speaker Suzie Miller joins us pre-dinner to talk about her upcoming novel Prima Facie. Suzie will discuss the success of Prima Facie as a dramatic production, the challenges in going from stage to page, and what has driven her to tell this story.

Sponsored by Pan MacMillan Australia

7:30 – 10:30: Gala dinner and awards night – Celebrating Bookselling

Our guest MC is a dancer, actor, LGBTIQ spokesperson, advocate and soon to be published picture book author.

The special guest dinner speaker is the multi-award-winning author Richard Flanagan. Richard will speak about his forthcoming book Question 7, described as at once a love song to his island home and his parents, and a hypnotic melding of dream, history, literature, place and memory.

Sponsored by Penguin Random House

MONDAY 19th June 2023

8:00 - 8:30: Registration

8:30 - 9:00: Special guest speaker Mem Fox

Globally renowned as a bestselling children’s picture book author Mem Fox is also a fierce proponent of the myriad benefits of reading books aloud to children. In this keynote she shares her passion for the magic of books and their power to change lives, sharing stories from when Possum Magic was first published through 40 years of her writing career, her work advocating the importance of early childhood literacy, and celebrating the role of booksellers in helping foster a love of reading. 

9:00 – 9:40: Children’s bookselling session

Engaging with diversity and First Nations cultures isn’t something that can wait. With children as young as 6 beginning to notice and engage with cultural and social biases, it is imperative that parents and educators expose their children to diverse stories and cultures from an early age. In this insightful session, First Nations authors Aunty Munya Andrews, Dr Jared Thomas and Victor Steffensen discuss their books and the importance of ensuring everyone has access to a diverse range of First Nations stories across the bookselling landscape. Chaired by Gleebook’s children’s specialist bookseller Rachel Robson

Sponsored by Kids Reading Guide

9:45 – 10:25: Panel session – Selling genre fiction

A panel session discussing genre bookselling and how a general interest bookshop can create effective strategies for reaching the devoted and sizeable groups of genre readers. Chaired by Kinokuniya Books buyer Helene Byfield.


  • Stefen Brazulaitis - the owner of Stefen’s Books
  • Jeremy Neal - Product Manager for graphic novels, comics and manga at Simon & Schuster 

10:25 – 10:45: Morning Tea - Celebrating 40 years of Possum Magic

Join Mem Fox for a cup of tea and a cupcake to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Possum Magic – the perennial bestselling Australian children’s classic that has entertained and enchanted six generations around the world.

Sponsored by Jenny Darling & Associates

10:50 – 11:30: Author panel 

Behind the headlines – the cost of telling and selling the story

Non-fiction authors Ben McKelvey, NIck MacKenzie and Rachelle Unreich take us behind the headlines and share how they tell difficult, sometimes confronting stories and the steps authors need to take to protect themselves from vicarious trauma. All have reported on stories that go to dark places, and all have faced tough days because they have immersed themselves in those harrowing stories. Chaired by Dr Tim Jarvis, owner of Fullers Bookshop.

Sponsored by Hachette Australia

11:30 – 12:20: Bookseller panel – The business of bookselling

Hear from your bookselling peers in a session covering best practices, hosted by Robbie Egan, BookPeople CEO.


  • Rob Arambasic, owner of Brunswick Bound
  • Stacey Moore, owner of Bookgrove Bookshop
  • Gavin Williams, BookPeople board member and owner of Matilda Bookshop

12:20 – 1:20: Lunch – Join your colleagues for a special taste of South Australia lunch

Sponsored by Walker Australia – celebrating 30 years!

1:20 – 1:40: Australia Reads

Australia Reads is a unique cross-industry initiative that seeks to promote the benefits of books and reading. Head of Communications at the Australian Publishers Association, Anna Burkey, will provide an update on this year's activities and research.

1:40 – 2:30: Industry Forum – Panel session

The annual book industry forum chaired by Robbie Egan BookPeople CEO


  • Anna Burkey, Head of Communications at the Australian Publishers Association
  • Jaye Chin-Dusting, BookPeople board member and owner of Mary Martin Bookshops
  • Dan Ruffino, Managing Director at Simon & Schuster Australia

2:30 – 3:10: Author Panel – Creative Lives

Deborah Conway and Wendy Harmer have both made a significant contribution to the Australian cultural landscape. Their combined resumes cover political journalist, stand-up comedian, author, playwright, producer, broadcaster and musician. In this session, they share how their early lives continue to shape their creative output. Chaired by Christine Gordon, Community Engagement and Programming Readings.

Sponsored by Allen & Unwin

3:10– 3:30: Afternoon Tea

3:30 – 4:00: Marketing session

A session focusing on customer loyalty, with Andrew Ritchie and BookPeople's marketing manager David Parritt discussing loyalty – at the individual store level, at an industry level, and how we can leverage BookPeople Gift Cards to keep customers coming to our bookshops. 

4:00 – 4:30: Closing keynote

Not to be missed… our extra special closing keynote speaker Nedd Brockmann embodies an inspiring message of never giving up, and always showing up that will resonate with all ages and demographics.

Sponsored by Simon & Schuster

4:30: Conference wrap and close