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September 1st Festival Stalker - the NBRF bunch!


Forget the Brady Bunch...Meet the NBRF Bunch!
L to R top row: Anna Loder, Claudine Tinellis, Sandie Docker
L to R bottom row: Cassie Hamer, Shelley Gardner, Rosemary Puddy

Welcome to this SPECIAL EDITION of The Author Stalker...THE FESTIVAL STALKER!

The countdown clock is ticking away...and it's only 22 more sleeps until the party begins. And you won't want to miss it!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE a good quote or saying. And two in particular come to mind when thinking about the upcoming Northern Beaches Readers Festival:

Victor Hugo's 'Perseverance, secret of all triumphs' & 'All good things take time' (author unknown).

The brainchild of women's fiction author Sandie Docker, who has been dreaming of bringing a not-for-profit, purely commercial fiction festival to life since 2016, she finally assembled the NBRF team towards the end of 2019.

Cue early 2020. Authors had been stalked...oops invited, a wonderful venue in beachside Avalon had been booked, and plans were well underway for a September 2020 festival.

And then Covid hit. And sadly the festival had to be cancelled.

But not to be defeated, the team hit 2021 running, with adjusted plans due to border closures, but with as much enthusiasm to bring the festival to readers far and wide in September 2021.

Alas, you know the story. We all went into lockdown.

But Team NBRF are a stubborn bunch, who are SO passionate about books and writers and readers that it never entered our heads to give up.

So as the saying goes, 'Third time's the charm' and here we are, only weeks out from what is going to be a festival beyond our wildest dreams.

Thirty FABULOUS Australian commercial fiction authors, covering multiple genres including crime, women's fiction, contemporary & historical fiction, domestic noir/thriller & romance, will all be under the one roof at the Avalon Recreation Centre on Sydney's idyllic Northern Beaches.

There will be panels and in-conversations galore and even four free events including a festival bookclub, a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making some of Australia's most popular writing podcasts, and a session on the Agony & Ecstasy of publishing a book.

And to close the event, the FESTIVAL GREAT DEBATE - 'THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE' which will see writers Julie Bennett, Dinuka McKenzie & Bruce Venables go head to head with Holly Wainwright, Tim Ayliffe & Judy Nunn! And keeping the peace during the debate, after taking time away from his Cabana of Cruelty, will be none other than beaches local Michael Robotham!

So grab some book-loving friends and make a weekend of it, or pop up for the day...only a 37km scenic drive from Sydney's CBD! Our festival hub is only a short stroll to loads of gorgeous cafés and restaurants to keep you energised, and there are so many quaint stores to explore between sessions.

We are so proud of what we have created and would love to see you all there.

If you would love to be involved on the day we are looking for volunteers! If you're interested you can sign up here:

Read on for all the details and to Meet the Team behind the festival.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and need to be pre-purchased. They are available via the link here or via our festival page but be quick. We'd hate for you to miss out!

Hope to see you all there.

Shelley, Sandie, Claudine, Cassie, Rosemary & Anna.x

Our THIRTY FABULOUS Australian authors are a mix of debut, emerging and
established authors of commercial fiction!



Founder/creator of the Northern Beaches Readers Festival & an internationally published Sydney-based author of contemporary women’s fiction – The Kookaburra Creek Café (2018), German edition - Das kleine Café der großen Träume, (2020); The Cottage At Rosella Cove (2019); The Banksia Bay Beach Shack (2020) and The Wattle Island Book Club (Aug 2021) Sandie has identified, through her book tours & strong connections with authors & publishing professionals, a need to promote & showcase the amazing work being produced by Australian commercial fiction writers & the desire for readers of such work to connect with writers.

'I wanted to create the kind of festival that I, as a reader, would want to go to - full of authors from genres I love to read and curl up in bed with from genres like women's fiction, historical, romance, crime, domestic noir.

We have so much literary talent here in Australia, to be able to showcase just a small fraction of that is a privilege. And to be able to create a festival that brings so much wonderful Australian talent together in one place where readers can connect with home-grown authors and stories from our own backyards is so important.

The Northern Beaches Readers Festival is all about championing the connection Australian authors and readers have. There’s a reason we are calling it a readers’ festival and not a writers’ festival – because being an author isn’t just about the words we put on a page, it’s about how those words transform in the minds of our readers in a unique and special relationship, and that’s what we want to celebrate.'

Rosemary is the Presenter/Producer of The Book Podcast, a podcast talking to Australian women writers of fiction and non-fiction. Inspired by the Stella Prize, the podcast also aims to celebrate Australian women writer's contribution to literature, and bring more readers to books by women.

As a resident of the Northern Beaches and a voracious reader, I was thrilled when Sandie Docker first floated the idea of a festival focused on genre fiction readers and writers.

Involvement in this festival has been a roller coaster ride for our fantastic team of 5. Now 6. We’ve learnt so much along the way. The highs and lows of creating an inaugural festival have taught us many things but the highlight has always been the sheer enthusiasm of authors, readers, and local businesses for this event.

We are now only weeks away from opening the festival doors and I can’t wait to meet our wonderful authors and the readers who love their work.

I hope to see you there, come and say hello.

Claudine is a Sydney-based writer & editor of Coastal Chef: Culinary Art of Seaweed & Algae in the 21st Century (Harbour Publishing House, 2014). She is currently working on her debut novel & since 2018 has hosted and produced popular podcast Talking Aussie Books where she interviews Australian authors about their novels.

Over the last four years my podcast, Talking Aussie Books has endeavoured to connect readers with their favourite Australian authors, and help them discover new ones.

There is nothing more satisfying for me than to learn I have introduced a listener to an author they are yet to read, or given them a heads up about a new book a favourite author has released.
So, being part of the Northern Beaches Readers Festival is on-brand for me. It means being in a special and privileged position to help promote Australian commercial fiction writers and give readers the opportunity to connect with them.
The 2022 NBRF author lineup is a carefully curated mix of debut, emerging and established authors designed to appeal to a wide book-loving audience. I have loved being involved in this organisation from its inception. The Team are not only amongst some of my dearest friends, but are an incredibly talented and clever group of hard-working women who are as passionate about Australian commercial fiction as I am. It has been an honour to work alongside them to bring this Festival to Sydney’s northern beaches.

Cassie is a Sydney-based author of two works of contemporary women's fiction - the bestselling After the Party (2019), and The End of Cuthbert Close (2020). Through membership of Writing NSW, the Australian Society of Authors & the Romance Writers of Australia, she has established a wide network of writing colleagues & has an innate understanding of the issues & challenges faced by them, & the challenges of cultivating & connecting with a reading audience.

I feel lucky to call myself a published fiction author and while I really love writing, my first love remains reading. I cannot go a single day without reading at least a few pages. When you have a great book 'on the go', it's like carrying around a delicious secret that only you know, one you're dying to share but ultimately remains a deeply private and wonderful experience between you and the page.

For me, the Northern Beaches Readers Festival is a chance for like-minded reading lovers to get together and really lean into our shared love of novels. We have a truly remarkable line-up of talent for the NBRF and we're showcasing authors who are beloved by their readers, but don't always get invited to the major literary festivals. Why? Well, that's a conversation for another day, but needless to say, I think we're filling a niche in the Festival market that's aching to be filled.

Former owner of Cronulla's iconic bookstore & café 'Anna's Shop Around the Corner', over many years Anna has connected readers with the writers they love via hosting her wonderful in-store author talks, with the writers being welcomed in by a bagpipe serenade. Anna's shop provided readers with a sublime haven to fully immerse themselves within the beauty of words.

Hi. My name is Anna and I’m the volunteer coordinator for the NBRF, and I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am to be a part of the team.

I am so glad my career at Anna’s Shop, in Cronulla, gave the team the idea that I could be of service to the festival. It's a great group of volunteers and we’ll be working quietly behind the scenes to make this the best possible experience!

This is our inaugural year so I’m sure whatever can go wrong will, but I’m quietly confident we are up to all of the challenges.

I’m just so pleased to be here! I’m super excited to see all the authors that we’ll have the chance to hear from over the weekend. Goodness, when I saw the program I was just beside myself! This is going to be a fantastic festival, and I am SO excited to be a part of it!

Shelley, real name Michelle Parsons, is a Sydney-based writer who is currently working on her debut novel The Forgotten Family. She is the creator (under the pseudonym Shelley Gardner) of The Author Stalker blog, an interview series which avidly promotes predominantly Australian commercial fiction writers. A graduate of Fiona McIntosh’s writing Masterclass, she has a passion for networking with (and stalking) writers & readers, both online & via attending author events and festivals.

What does the festival mean to me??? Well to start with, think of all the author stalking I can do, surrounded by THIRTY brilliant writers!!! It's almost more than my little heart can cope with.

But on a serious note, I absolutely adore reading. I love nothing more than being surrounded by piles of beautiful books, losing myself and inhaling the scent of the written word on crisp pages, being taken to places both real and imagined.

And the thought of being able to spend a whole weekend not only surrounded by some of Australia's best writing talent, but also seas of voracious readers just like myself, is beyond my wildest dreams.

I have loved every moment of being a part of Team NBRF. The friendship, love and support of these five fabuous women is something I treasure. The fact that we could all come together with a shared vision for the festival, and to now be on the eve of seeing it come to life, is breathtaking...and heaps of fun. What an adventure.

So come join us in Avalon and share the magic.


The Northern Beaches Readers Festival Inc is a not-for-profit organisation, run by a voluntary executive committee, consisting of six extremely passionate readers.

We look forward to meeting you in Avalon September 23rd - 25th.

Festival tickets need to be pre-purchased using the link below.
But be quick as some sessions have already sold out!

To download a PDF of the full program, click the link below:

If you would like to find out more about the NBRF, you can find us and follow us here:


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