Mary Dalmau

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.


Should I stay or should I go…and 87 other serious answers in questions in songs.

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James Ball

Published by Boxtree

I find these sorts of books – the products of chance conversations (often, it seems, in pubs) as a mixed bag. Some are dull and really make you question publishing decisions while others, such as James Ball’s book, are entertaining and diverting and its very silliness is cause for delight.

Think of a song, think of a memorable line, and then imagine applying some form of scientific (loose interpretation to be sure) test of its veracity, and you have this book.

How many tears does it take to “Cry me a River”? :

“Research published in 1966 showed the average tear is 6.2 microlitres in volume, suggesting that for a single litre we need around 161,000 tears.”

How do you solve a problem like Maria?:

“You adjust your institutional expectations to properly accommodate her. A simple answer might be a more precise job description, allied with a rigorous appraisal structure and regular contact with a line manager. As with many questions, the answer is ‘better HR’”. 

As they say…too much fun! Enjoy this quirky but oddly diverting book.

(broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday17 March 2019)

Written in History: Letters that Changed the World

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson

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At a time in history when we ‘assume’ letter writing is a thing of the past, it is encouraging to find that in fact letters remain a form of communication that has permanency. I say encouraging because when the art of letter writing is executed well, it provides a source of material that is without peer.

Letters of import, letters of intimacy, letters between friends and enemies, and letters as official documentary evidence are all included in this collection. And, people from all walks of life are represented. Politicians, royalty and artists are among those whose words are captured on paper forever.

The author contextualizes letter writing at various stages of history and discovers, surprisingly, that it is enjoying somewhat of a comeback. As we realize that modern technology has its limitations, we turn to those social activities that have proven their worth over time.

The chapter headings indicate the breadth of the material contained within. Some examples: love, family, creation, tourism, war, discovery, disaster, decency and fate. Two samples: “I am an enthusiast, but not a crank…” (Wilbur Wright to the Smithsonian); “I pray the gods that whatever time is left for me I may pass with you safe and well with our country in a flourishing condition…” (Augustus to Caius Caesar).

The author frames each letter with historical background on the writer and recipient, and thus provides a fascinating, comprehensive account of the art of letter writing over the centuries.

 (broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday17 March 2019)

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