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.


A Spanner in the Works

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Loretta Smith

Published by Hachette 2019

So little is known of many who have gone before us and made significant contributions; however, the relatively recent upsurge in the publication of local biographies is addressing this ignorance. This biography of Alice Anderson introduces us to a woman who was the quintessential trailblazer. Born in 1896, Alice would become a motor mechanic and open and operate the first all-female garage business.

It is the story of a tenacious, driven and entrepreneurial woman who defied the prejudices at work in society, refusing to accept the common wisdom that women were incapable of being mechanics. Based initially in outer Melbourne, in the Dandenong ranges, Alice eventually based herself in the affluent suburb of Kew. Smartly, she began by operating a touring service through the Dandenongs that eventually brought her to the attention of both a local mechanic and a well-read motoring magazine of the time.
Alice’s story is full of adventure and courage, and her untimely and mysterious death adds another layer to her fascinating life.

(broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday 2 June 2019)

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The Incidental Tourist

Peter Doherty

Published by Melbourne University Publishing 2018

Peter Doherty, the much-celebrated 1996 Nobel Prize winner, invites us to share his very particular perspective on world travel, that of the professional attending conferences and living for a few years at a time in foreign cities.

Whether it be Italy or Zimbabwe, Peter debunks the myths of conference-attendance being an ‘overseas jaunt’ and explains the difficulties in trying to get a feel for a city that you are only glimpsing. He also shares his discovery of places such as Edinburgh and Memphis, where he spent considerable time as a visiting professional.

Peter brings his gentle, enquiring nature to the task and presents us with a world seen through a somewhat rarified lense. He also reminds us that return visits to places you’ve loved do not often ‘live up’ to the memory – our imagination has imbued the real memory with nuances that subtly change our perspective. 

The title is apt and reflects the nature of the extensive travelling Peter and his wife have undertaken over the course of his stellar career.

(broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday 2 June 2019)

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