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.


The Big Book of Rock & Roll Names

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Adam Dolgins

Published by Abrams Image 2019

“Some are brilliant, some are terrible, and some are brilliantly terrible.”  This is the author’s take on the names of rock bands over the decades. I also like his application of  Spinal Tap’s quote to the question of band names : “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

This is an entertaining A-Z of rock and roll band names, starting with ABBA and ending with, of course, ZZ Top.  Probably most of you reading this review already know that John Lennon was making a play on words when he suggested Beatles as the name of the band, referencing the Beat scene of the day. But, you may not know that The Beach Boys learnt of their band name when they took delivery of a box of their new single from the record company.

Sometimes, a band name comes about because friends have done a gig at a pub and a record label takes an interest and wants to know what they are called. Sometimes your sister is looking at a Singer sewing machine and sees the letters ACDC and suggests that for your band. And, sometimes you take the name of a British Unemployment Benefit Card (UB40).

You can appreciate that this book is your ‘go to’ book if you are contemplating the name of your band. For the rest of us, it is an enjoyable dip into the world of rock and roll.




Simon Garfield

Published by Canongate, 2016

How to Build a Boat

Jonathan Gornall

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2019.

I combined these books for my monthly session on radio station 3AW, as examples of contemporary publishing that is introducing us to both ‘potted histories’ and niche ‘personal reflections’. These types of publications are typically enjoyable (think Bill Bryson for Simon Garfield’s works) and pleasant vicarious entree into the lives of others.

Simon Garfield has a flair for bringing together facts and anecdotes in a manner that engages the reader and gently educates them along the way.  He explains how, through history, “our obsession with time and our desire to measure it, control it, sell it, film it, perform it, immortalise it and make it meaningful” has lead to all manner of odd behaviours. One example is the man who returned from Calcutta to London and decided to stay (for the rest of his life) on Calcutta time, thus being completely out of sync with his physical environment.


Reading this concurrently with Jonathan Gornall’s book was itself a reflection of the impact of time.

The author, at 59, became a father and decided (inexplicably to himself and others) to set about building a clinker boat in the traditional manner for his daughter. For him, time effectively stopped on his old life and he took time to rediscover solitude, ancient skills, and time efficiencies as he juggled his journalistic commitments with boat building.  Taking time to do this for his daughter gives him the space and time to think about other relationships in his life – his mother, his first-born son, now in his thirties – and to think about what it has all meant.

The reader is rewarded in taking the time to read both books and enjoy their individualistic approaches to their subjects.

(broadcast by 3AW’s Alan Pearsall, Sunday 8 September 2019)


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