A woman surrounded by books
Interview with Mary Dalmau
Mary at her bookstore Mary at her bookstore Sara Bosch
Reader's Feast:
162 Collins St 
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9662 4699

I can't sell anything; I just want to tell people about books

Mary Dalmau owes a bookstore with a story: Reader's Feast. With Spanish and Irish ancestry, Dalmau has reincarnated a small Australian business at a time when the traditional bookstore is thought to have lost relevance.

- Are books somehow related to your Spanish background?
Not really! I had a late awareness on my Catalan heritage through my grandfather Francisco Dalmau, who migrated to Australia and opened a fruit shop.

- Have you been in Spain then?
Of course. When I travelled to Catalonia for the first time, I visited a bookshop in Girona called Dalmau. I don't speak Spanish nor Catalan so it was hard to speak to the owners but, somehow, we understood each other. I also visited the Fundació Miró in Barcelona, and they gave me a book where there was the Gallery Josep Dalmau featured as the first one in curating Miró's work. Small world.

- You were the first one in backing Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafon's bestselling literary thriller, 'The Shadow Of The Wind', unknown at the time.
That's right. I read it, loved it, and sold plenty of copies. Then the Spanish novelist included a character in the follow-up called Dalmau, who coincidentally works in a bookshop... (laughs) You have definitely more chances to succeed if you love what you do.

- You keep yourself and the businesses busy
Look, I can't sell anything; I just want to tell people about books. That's why we organise events such as the Writers at the Convent festival, which has been running for over 10 years, and Crime & Justice, a unique event that embraces basically what humans do in extreme circumstances.

- Commitment for human rights and the community
Our sense of belonging it's important, how the environment shapes you and your community.

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