Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sunday Salon: Rachael Johns Book Club Reader Retreat 2024

Last weekend, I spent the weekend with around 100 other readers and 18 authors at the Rachael Johns Book Club Reader Retreat. After the success of last year's event in Hahndorf, this one had a bit of a different feel as it was held at a big hotel which was located one block off the beach on the Gold Coast. It was nice to head up to Queensland where the weather was warm, the water was even warmer (at least according to the pilot when we were coming in to land), and there was much fun to be had! Robert came with me as it was an opportunity for him to visit his son who lives just up the road in Brisbane! Pretty sure I can't write a post about going to the Gold Coast without having at least one photo of the beach so here it is

The Friday night event was an Op Shop Glamour Cocktail Party. I don't really like shopping at Op Shops but I did find two outfits. One was a black dress with a glitzy part on the side. The other option was a purple ruffled number which is what I went with because I knew that I was bringing out the sparkles on Saturday night. 

For those that were keen you could either choose a run or some yoga early on Saturday morning. I chose to sleep! 

First up on Saturday, we had some readings from upcoming books from our hosts, Rachael Johns and Anthea Hodgson. I am a big fan of Rachael Johns - she was one of only two authors I continued to read when I had a reading slump that lasted years. I have only read two books by Anthea Hodgson. As soon as she started her reading, I knew exactly where the book was set and I already know I want to read the book when it comes out, presumably some time next year!

All through the weekend there were many different bookish related activities and plenty of chances to make catch up with old friends and to make new friends, all of whom have one things in common - a love of books! It was great to spend some time with Bree from All the Books I Can Read too! Here we are at the Op Shop Glam event. Bree is the administrator extraordinaire for the book club, and she also hosted one of the panels over the weekend!

It amazes me how much some people read. Some of the people on the retreat have read nearly every book club selection over the last few years. Back in the day I used to read a lot, but not so much these days.

Over the course of the weekend there were two book club sessions. The first was for Rachel Treasure's book Milking Time, which I hadn't read. I did read Tilda is Visible, so it was good to hear the author, Jane Tara, talk about the book.

One of the highlights is the author speed dating sessions which we had on both Saturday and Sunday. Each author comes around to the tables in turn, and in some way interact to tell us about their books, or just to have fun in some ways! I have definitely added books to my TBR list after these sessions! I posted about just some of these in last week's Top Ten Tuesday post.

There were also some interesting panels, and the weekend finished with a debate where the question asked was basically What's more important - plot or character. I found myself changing my vote with each speaker!

On the Saturday night it was the formal dinner where the theme was black and white. I bought out the sparkles big time. We were lucky enough to have author Anita Heiss at our table and we had a lot of fun!

There is so much more I could say, but I think I will leave it there by saying that this is the kind of event that  fills my cup! There won't be a retreat next year, but I already know I will be doing my best to attend the one in 2026, wherever it will be. There might be some dinners. Who knows, we might just find ourselves tripping up to Sydney so that we can go and see our table mates!


  1. That sounds like a terrific event. I love the idea of author speed dating so that everyone gets a chance for an interaction.

  2. That's a cool event and what fun you had! Love the beach photo.

  3. What a fun event! I'd love to attend something like this here. I need to look around and see if anything like this is scheduled soon!

    The photos are fantastic!