Mary Dalmau

My vocation is an open book

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Meet Mary

Curator of Books, Literary Event Specialist, Marketing and Management Expert and avid reader.

Mary spent the first four decades of her working life in the book trade in Melbourne, Australia.

Dedicated and passionate about books and literacy, she ran, in succession, the three largest bookselling outlets in Melbourne, a UNESCO City of Literature.

During that time, she initiated annual literary festivals, hosted hundreds of events, welcomed local and international authors launching their new books, and nurtured twenty-two booksellers who had an average tenure of twenty-five years.

The cultural heartbeat of our great city was aided by her endeavours. She was instrumental in bringing a major exhibition to the State Library of Victoria, donated to the restoration of the famous Reading Room in that library, and gifted a James Joyce Seat of Learning to the library forecourt.

Mary commissioned the installation of Hands in Print at The Melbourne Athenaeum Library, the rendering in sculpture of the writing hands of twelve prominent authors including international and local award winners.

With a personal library of thousands of books with emphasis on the crime fiction genre, and the history and culture of Ireland, she addresses audiences on books, genres, trends and undertakes book reviews for radio and social media.

She immersed herself in the world of bookselling, doing two terms as president of the Australian Booksellers Association; was shortlisted for the Telstra Business Woman of the Year award in 1996 and for the Melbourne Business Awards in 2010; and her bookstore, Reader’s Feast, was runner-up in the Victorian Small Business Retailer of the Year award in 2013.

Over the decades she developed several strands of expertise - marketing, business development, event management, public relations and leadership skills, all of which are transferable to other fields of endeavour. Mary currently works with libraries and undertakes freelance projects in proofreading and events consultancy and management. She is also a book reviewer on radio. Go to the "Engagement" tab to learn more.


Follow me on social media: @booksbydalmau

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areas of Expertise

  • Proofreading

  • Book reviews

  • Speaking engagements

  • Interviews

  • Business development

  • Leading, Developing and Motivating Work Teams

  • Strategic Library Collection Management

  • Project management

  • Marketing & Promotion

  • Management of people and resources

Event Management

From small groups to audiences of thousands, I can organise your event.

Specialities: author interviews, “In Conversation”, Launches, Exhibitions, Commissions, Public events.

From the back catalogue of events:



  • Melbourne Writers’ Festival Bookseller

  • Writers at Como

  • Writers at the Convent

  • Crime & Justice

Author Events and Interviews:

  • Charles Salzberg

  • Ian Rankin

  • Sir Roger Moore

  • Jo Nesbo

  • Rod Laver

  • Camilla Lackberg

  • Graeme Simsion

Cultural Events:

  • Catalan St. Jordi Day / World Book Day Celebrations

  • Translation Awards (AALITRA) Ceremony

  • Ned at the Dead Exhibition – Dublin, Ireland 2006

Public Events:

  • Harry Potter releases – State Library of Victoria and Federation Square

  • Luka Bloom Concert – National Theatre, St. Kilda

  • Steve Waugh autobiography launch – Queen Victoria precinct

Book Launches:

  • Maureen McCarthy

  • Ben Albrecht

  • Paul Filev

  • Judith Lucy and Denise Scott

In Conversations:

  • Phillip Adams

  • Stuart Macbride

  • Scott Bevan

Readers’ Theatre:

  • 84 Charing Cross Road

  • Voices of Democracy

  • A Christmas Carol

  • Literary Seasons




Proofreading service available for all types of documents, including manuscripts, essays, articles, design briefs. Rate is $80.00 AUD plus GST per hour or part thereof.  Minimum engagement 2 hours. Payment 14 days from invoice.

Mary has worked with Balarinji on numerous occasions delivering editing and proofreading services. Mary is reliable, thorough and competent. She is accommodating and punctual and saves a lot of time in our Studio. Mary is our go-to Editor and I would highly recommend her. Rachel Taylor, Balarinji.

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Latest Reviews

Read current reviews here. For more reviews, click on the Archived Reviews tab.

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Mr. Guilfoyle’s Honeymoon: The Gardens of Europe & Great Britain

Edited by Diana Evelyn Hill & Edmee Helen Cudmore

Published by Miegunyah 2019

In 1890, the then director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, William Robert Guilfoyle, embarked on his honeymoon. He would take nine months to complete the holiday and visit the famous gardens of Britain, Italy, Belgium and France, with a side trip to Sir Lanka.

Mr. Guilfoyle was an accomplished watercolourist and, as we discover, writer. This collection of, as he described them, “tourist’s notes on the picturesque in gardens, parks and forests”, is informative and illuminating. For the gardener, his interest in design and plants is to the fore while for other readers, his art and evocative descriptions of the beauty he is seeing on his travels is genuinely captivating.

These notes are more than musings of a travelling man; they help to explain his vision for the Botanic Gardens we know today. He brought back with him definite ideas on the plants to include; the intention (fulfilled) to build a conservatory; and the notion of having commemorative trees in the gardens.

Along with other directors, Mr. Guilfoyle has left us with a wonderful addition to the city of Melbourne and, in this beautifully produced book, a glimpse into the world as it was at the turn of a century.

(broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday 5 May 2019)


Extraordinary Insects

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Published by Mudlark, 2019

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The subtitle says it all: “Weird. Wonderful, Indispensible. The Ones who run our world.” Professor Sverdrup-Thygeson takes inspiration from a quote from Pliny the Elder – “Nature is nowhere as great as in its smallest creatures” – and opens our eyes to the wonder that is our ecosystem, on its most micro level.

 She identifies the insects that inhabit our world; explains their relationship to other animals and plants; and then concentrates on our relationship with them. We understand how the tiniest insect has a profound effect on our food supply, our health, and our daily environment.  

 The book is peppered with examples of how and where insects make a difference in every aspect of our lives. The author is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) but takes a world view on her subject, including interesting stories about the Australian environment.

 Unexpectedly, I found this book fascinating – after all, who among us thinks about how grateful we should be to insects? – and genuinely educational. It is, though, not a dry, academic text, but an accessible, enjoyable read. Every time I see an ant or brush away a fly, I’ll think more kindly towards them!

 (broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday 5 May 2019)


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If you wish to contact Mary please use the contact form.