Conference online program


The Australian Booksellers Association is launching a mixture of live and pre-recorded sessions from the original 2020 physical program.  Pre-recorded sessions will be available on the video page to watch from Monday, July 6. The live sessions will be recorded and posted within 24hrs of each event, excluding the Richard Flanagan session which is a live-only event.

Bookings for the live events can be made via the links on the members' weekly e-newsletter or by emailing All events are free to attend.


Monday, July 6 at 6:00 pm via ZOOM

International guests Meryl Halls and Nic Bottomley in conversation

Join ABA CEO Robbie Egan in conversation with Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the Booksellers Association UK and Ireland, and Nic Bottomley, owner of Mr B’s Emporium in Bath and Executive Chair of the BA Board of Management. Meryl and Nic have a wealth of knowledge of the bookselling industry and are incredibly intelligent and engaging speakers. Mr B’s Emporium is a beautiful bookshop that Nic expanded and renovated with local crowdfunding. His approach to bookselling is entrepreneurial and inspiring, practising what he calls extreme customer service, and his ‘book spas’ are an example of this. Meryl ran the BA’s member services before becoming MD and has navigated her members through the global pandemic with incredible energy and sensitivity. Anyone who met Meryl at the ABA conference last year will know she is a fierce advocate for all things books and bookselling, and she has quickly established herself as a global leader in our industry.


Tuesday, July 7 at 6:00 pm via ZOOM

Ben Ball Scribner Publishing Director and Malcolm Knox in conversation 

How free speech became the new battleground in Australian society, from marriage equality to the COVID lockdown.

Join publisher Ben Ball as he explores with Malcolm Knox the divisions that underlie our recent history, from marriage equality to the COVID lockdown. Malcolm's upcoming book Truth is Trouble shows how free speech has become the new flashpoint of the ‘culture wars’, and how it remains our deepest national faultline. This promises to be a wide-ranging and thought-provoking session.


Monday, July 13 at 6:00 pm via ZOOM - bookings available from Monday 6th July

Live recording of The First Time podcast 

The First Time podcast is a podcast about the first time you publish a book. Co-hosted by Melbourne writers Kate Mildenhall (Skylarking, The Mother Fault) and Katherine Collette ( The Helpline), the podcast is now in its third season, having featured more than 80 Australian authors talking about their writing careers and followed Katherine and Kate through the highs and lows of their own first, and second, publishing experiences. With over 70 episodes and 65k listens, the podcast has grown a loyal gang of first time listeners, supporting Australian authors and our industry.

Kate and Katherine have been chasing Trent Dalton for a couple of seasons now and are delighted that Kate finally gets to ask him all the tricky questions about his writing life, process, and new book All Our Shimmering Skies in this special live recording for the ABA.


Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00 pm via ZOOM

Small business session with Fiona Killackey

In this action-packed live session, Fiona Killackey  (Passion Purpose Profit) will run through five ways you can improve your small business THIS (COVID!) WEEK.

Small business guru, Fiona Killackey’s work is all about helping business owners (and their teams) structure their offerings, culture, systems and marketing in a way that reduces stress while increasing profit, purpose and passion. Fiona brings a practical approach to finding the joy in our work lives, with strategies for improving all aspects of our businesses. From understanding how to truly measure your goals, through to planning your marketing, crafting cut-through content and leveraging your networks, this event will have you feeling energised and excited about getting things done! 


Wednesday, July 15 at 6:00 pm via ZOOM

Live only and exclusive event with Richard Flanagan 

Richard Flanagan will join us for a very special in conversation to discuss his upcoming novel, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams. Described as an ember storm of a novel Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan promises to be at his most moving – and astonishing – best. This event will be live only. 


Nielsen Session - ABA members ONLY

Nielsen Australia's territory manager, Bianca Whiteley will present a snapshot of overseas and local consumer trends in a pre and post COVID context. This content will be available to ABA members only.

Steven Conte and Meg Mason in conversation

In this thoughtful and revealing session Catherine Milne, Head of Fiction at HarperCollins, talks to Prime Minister’s Literary Award-winner Steven Conte and Meg Mason about their upcoming novels, The Tolstoy Estate and Sorrow and Bliss.  Catherine's insight and questions allow each author to open a window onto their writing process and reveal the drivers and stories behind their dazzling second novels.

Craig Silvey in conversation 

Join Craig Silvey and (super fan!) Chris Gordon from Readings Carlton in a delightful and wide-ranging conversation about his long-awaited upcoming novel Honeybee.

Sofie Laguna in conversation 

Join Sofie Laguna and Simon McDonald from Potts Point Bookshop in a revealing and passionate conversation about her highly anticipated new novel Infinite Splendours.

David McAllister 

Australia Ballet's artistic director and former principal dancer David McAllister will be speaking about his remarkable upcoming autobiography Soar: A Life Set Free.

Claire Christian

Award-winning author Claire Christian joins us to talk about the writing process and personal drivers for the main character in her upcoming new novel  It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake, her first title for adults.

Debut authors in conversation

Robert Watkins, Head of Literary at Hachette Australia in a delightfully honest and downright charming chat with three winners of prizes for Unpublished Manuscripts; Sam Coley (winner of Richell Prize 2017), Victoria Hannan (Victorian Premiers Unpublished Manuscript Award) and Nardi Simpson (black and write unpublished prize) about their 2020 debut novels.