The first Sorrento Writers Festival is bringing over 100 wordsmiths to the Mornington Peninsula this April

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

Pack your bags bookworms, the inaugural Sorrento Writer’s Festival is bringing 4 days of stellar literary programming to Sorrento and surrounds.

Having made a permanent sea change after closing her Melbourne bookshop during COVID-19 lockdowns, Festival Director, and award-winning journalist Corrie Perkin, is passionate about bringing her mantra “words matter” to the Peninsula’s creative community.

Over the last weekend in April, literary lovers can expect a 4-day-long, packed program of meet-the-author events, in conversations, panels, readings, music, seminars and much more, to encourage deep thinking and compelling conversations amongst attendees.

The festival hub is situated across the luxurious Continental Sorrento, which along with other local hotspots – Sorrento Golf Course, The Portsea Camp amongst them – will play host to an epic line-up over 100 of Australia’s finest authors, playwrights, journalists, academics and singer-songwriters.

Some of the highly anticipated guests include crime writer Jane Harper (The Dry), Booker Prize winner Tom Keneally, (Schindler’s Ark), children’s favourites Sally Rippin and Graeme Base, as well as other big names like Jock Serong, Craig Silvey, Sofie Laguna, Barry Cassidy, Kerry O’Brien, Jane Caro and Chloe Hooper to name a few.

Sorrento Writers Festival

Highlights of the program show the huge scope of topics and genres being represented, like Heat, Dust, Beaches and Blow Flies: the Impact of Landscape on Australian Writing, a panel event with Robbie Arnott, Tony Birch, Sofie Laguna and Chris Hammer; Migration, Family, Old Life/New Life a discussion with Armando Lucas Correa, Andre Dao, Pirooz Jafari and Saman Shad with Jaclyn Crupi; Australian Fiction Through First Nations Stories with authors Larissa Behrendt, Tony Birch, Paul Daley and Jock Serong, led by Inala Cooper; and Politics 2023: The Big Issues with hard hitters Barrie Cassidy,  Kerry O’Brien, Niki Savva and Chris Wallace moderated by Sally Warhaft and in collaboration with The Wheeler Centre.

One of the main drivers of the festival, which operates as a not-for-profit organisation, is to raise funds for a variety of literacy programs, that will have intergenerational benefits within the local community and eventually build a local library for the Sorrento community.

Early bird tickets are available until 31st March, and a 4-day pass with access to over 80 events is epic value at $299, otherwise single event tickets are $25.

Keep an eye on the event website as more programming is revealed and block out your diary for what will no doubt be an entertaining, informative, educational and excellent celebration of writing.


Who: Sorrento Writers Festival
Huge, inaugural literary event on the Mornington Peninsula
When: 27-30 April
Various venues across Sorrento and Portsea
Cost: From $25
More Info: Sorrento Writers Festival

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A micro flower farm in Trentham to launch the latest book from Sharon Flynn

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Bestselling author and founder of The Fermentary Sharon Flynn isWild Drinks Sharon Flynn set to launch her second book Wild Drinks – once again sharing her incredible knowledge about fermentation with the world.

Dubbed “the definitive book on infusing, brewing, and fermenting delicious things to drink”, Wild Drinks is the perfect companion for anyone who’s curious about conjuring unique drinks – whether it’s the perfect sake or carrot ale, ginger beer or fruit vinegar, rose water kefir or kombucha.

Following on from her debut book Ferment for Good, Sharon says she’s excited to share a read which she thinks many people will find more “appealing”.

“Drinks – and the gorgeous, natural bubbles we all love – are appealing to so many more people,” Sharon says. “We can get bacteria into our bodies and lives very easily this way and most drinks don’t take that long to make.”

The Fermentary is the culmination of a life-long passion for Sharon.  Since 2014,  her business has (primarily) produced award-winning sauerkraut and kimchi, supplying some of Australia’s best restaurants and shops.

Having originally set up base in Daylesford, Sharon and her daughters opened up a space in Fitzroy North following the pandemic – a space which has now taken on a life of its own and is dedicated to education, creation and the sharing of some of Sharon’s favourite ferments from around the world.

“We ferment in small-batches, naturally culturing food and drinks, slowly and with minimal intervention,” she says.

“I will always be in love with connecting food and the simple, everyday things we do to our near and distant past. Fermentation brings a quiet magical transformation, traditional techniques – a relationship with the invisible – and (in the right environment) when left to its own devices, it will not only preserve, but make the flat bubbly, your dough chewy and light, most things more delicious, and bring life into your kitchen and body! What’s not to love?”

The Trentham Wild Drinks book launch will be held at Acre of Roses, the space where all the images from the book have been shot.
Acres of Roses

“The Fermentary was based in Daylesford for almost 10 years so Trentham and the surrounds hold a very special place close to our hearts,” Sharon says. “All of the images from the book were also shot at Acre of Roses and we would love to share this stunning location with you.”

The launch will feature small-batch brews, ferments and infusions from the book to taste, including Jamu, Tepaché, Kombucha and Shrubs.

Acre of Roses will also open up their garden, making it a perfect picnic-worthy event.

“There will be a scavenger hunt in the apothecary garden, where we grow many herbs and veggies that we use for our wild drinks and ferments (and) we will also demonstrate making our award-winning rose water kefir using the roses from the garden.”

Sharon says she hopes her work continues to raise awareness about the rare artform that is fermentation and the wonders inherent within.

“This is a lost artform – mostly done in a very practical way in a rustic environment,” she says. “Many people now imagine they need more experience, more equipment, less germs, so to share and connect – and inspire people to think a bit further about what they are buying and where we have come from – (that’s my aim).

“Also to comfort people in a sense – that we’ve only been out of touch for a few generations and we can bring back good flavour, real food and our connection to that really easily. There is enough food for everyone if we are allowed to tap into our ancient, pre-industrial knowledge.

“Not only are our guts depleted of the wide variety of life required for good health, but so is the soil.  Naturally fermented foods and drinks are really the easiest, very delicious and natural way to get a wide variety of wild bacteria and yeasts into our bodies now. We are now in a time where we are told that we need to get ‘pre-, pro- and post-biotics’ made in a lab into our guts and a lot of people don’t realise that the bacteria we’ve relied upon is stronger and better than any of that.”


WHAT: Wild Drinks book launch
WHEN: Sunday, December 18
WHERE: Acre of Roses, Trentham

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Art & Science merge forces in newly released book The Great Forest

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Can you feel homesick for a place you’ve never even been to?

The newly released book ‘The Great Forest’ somehow does just that. Giving the book its full (and lengthy) title ‘The Great Forest – The Rare Beauty of the Victorian Central Highlands’ by David Lindenmayer, with photographs by Chris Taylor, Sarah Rees and Steven Kuiter hints at the scope of the story contained within.

Yarra Valley resident and one of the book’s three photographers, Sarah Rees, was gracious enough to give OHO some of her time.

‘I help communicate science in a way people can digest,’ explains Sarah with typical modesty. For someone whose CV is full of well-hyphenated descriptors, perhaps most pertinent are that of full-time conservationist and co-founder of the Great Forest National Park (GFNP) initiative.

This initiative refers to a proposed area of eastern Victoria which would incorporate seven existing (State and National) parks, almost tripling the amount of protected area which directly feeds Melbourne’s water supply. The GFNP is also estimated to generate 750 new full-time jobs and $71 million for local economies.

‘The book was about how do we take what there is 40-odd years of science on – an area of forest that is incredibly significant to Melbourne – how do we turn that into something the average Melburnian can look at and understand, without having to understand the very complex equations around climate change and what’s going to happen to our forest and our water supply. These are things that sometimes people shy away from; I know I did.’

‘Once you communicate science through a visual medium like photo or film, or even an infographic, people say okay, I can accept that.’ And the visuals in the book are stunning. Sarah’s art & design background meant it was never going to be anything less. Her Instagram alone will have you pining for greener fields.

‘Because I’m a (Yarra Valley) local, I used art and photography as a method for not just healing after the fires but also for connecting and communicating my knowledge about the landscape. Myself and another scientist, Dr Chris Taylor, are quite close and we’ve worked together in photography before. We said – come on David (Lindenmayer) why don’t we just do a science and art piece.’


The Great Forest is available in most good bookstores and online. One Hour Out in conjunction with publishers Allen & Unwin are proudly offering a copy of the book to giveaway. Enter the giveaway here.


Of course, Melbourne lockdowns might have deterred some but not Sarah and co.

‘Being in lockdown, there wasn’t the freedom to go and photograph these areas. It was – ok, what have we got, and let’s look at if we need anything,’ she says. ‘We had an archive of some extraordinary photography. Chris and I have been taking photos for 20 years in the region. We see things that other people haven’t seen. Particularly because I live there, I get to see all times of the day, all seasons.’

Professor David Lindenmayer may be a world-leading expert in forest conservation, or as Sarah calls him the Australian Attenborough with a ridiculously impressive citation rating – but how does one harness 40 years of expertise into a compelling story?

‘We started thinking about what’s an interesting way to tell this story,’ Sarah begins to explain, while also acknowledging it is not really her story to tell. ‘We endeavoured to bring the role of the First Nations and the history of the landscape into the public spectre.

‘We deliberately intended to tell a story that was in line with the traditional owners (Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurrundjeri) and what they felt comfortable about sharing. We made sure that every area we spoke about, we talked about whose nation that tree, that rock, that eco-system was found on. If they had a name for it, if that was ok for us to use, we sought permission to use it.

‘We looked into the geology, the under-story, the rainforest systems and the mountain ash which are historically some of the tallest recorded trees in the world.’

Sarah lays out some stark realities in regards to the water supply catchment and the dual challenges of fire and (over 100 years of) logging. ‘The fires are harder to manage; the logging is not. The mountain ash ecosystem is now critically endangered with only 1% of its original old-growth cover left unburnt and unlogged. Things like that are really important.’

The story of the animals, you can sympathise and fall in love with these animals, but you can also look at them quite objectively and say they are the canaries in the coal mine.

It’s little wonder the book is garnering glowing reviews from such luminaries as Tim Flannery (leading Australian writer on climate change) and the iconic Dame Jane Goodall (famed primatologist).

If you’d like to deepen your own relationship with forest ecology, then check out this Guided Rainforest and Mindfulness Tour once lockdown restrictions have eased.

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurrundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

The regional bookshops you need to suss out pronto!

Words by Della Vreeland 
Images supplied

One of the sweetest parts of isolation (and we know there aren’t that many), is the fact that we can bunker down and savour those moments we may not have had the chance to savour when life was more – normal.

For some of us, bunkering down has also provided the time to snuggle in with a good read. Spring is one of the best seasons to get stuck into a good book, especially when the sun is seeping down on us and beckoning us to find our happy place – whether we’re sitting outside under the shade of the Coolabah Tree, or lazing away indoors in our sun-soaked library nook.

To coincide with Love Your Bookshop Day on October 3, and to give all our bookworms an excuse to search out their next read, we decided to compile a list of some of our favourite regional bookshops.

So whether you’re a regional resident in search of your next day trip, or a metro comrade hitting the online shopping, we have a bookshop for your perusal.

Verso Books

Healesville #onehourout

Verso Books

Offering local home delivery during COVID-19, this Yarra Valley beauty is filled to the brim with all the best new books! Located in Healesville, Verso Books specialises in new release fiction, gardening, food and wine, art and design, current affairs and an extensive range of beautiful Children’s Books.

Take a look here

The Bookshop at Queenscliff


The Bookshop at Queenscliff

Boasting all the literary goodness you could hope for, combined with a charm that can only be felt from a passionate family-run business, The Bookshop at Queenscliff is a real sanctuary. Owned by a local husband-and-wife duo, this corner-store bookshop aims to offer all the current reads in addition to books that are topical and worthy of exploration in the current climate.

Website here

Turn the Page Bookshop

Phillip Island #twohoursout

Turn the Page

One of Phillip Island’s most treasured spots, Turn the Page is renowned for its friendly customer service, product knowledge and nifty children’s corner. With comfy chairs scattered throughout the store, expect to wander in and escape to a world you’d rather be as you lose yourself in the words and the surrounds.

Find out more


Warragul #oneandahalfhoursout


Located in Warragul, Need2Read is a family owned and operated independent bookstore that focuses on customer service and helping bookworms source the perfect reads for themselves and their loved ones. With floor-to-ceiling shelves and a bright, contemporary interior, this bookstore is the town’s real pride and joy.

Discover the store

The Known World

Ballarat #oneandahalfhoursout

The Known World

Taken straight out of Diagon Alley, The Known World is a real book-lovers refuge. Housed in a 19th-century Ballarat building in one of the city’s most historic thoroughfares, the space is worth visiting just in itself. As soon as you enter the doors of this secondhand bookstore, you’ll be transported into a world of words and wonder, regardless of whether you make a purchase or not.

Take a squiz here

Minerva’s Books and Ideas

Ballarat #oneandahalfhoursout

Minervas Books

Another Ballarat-based beauty, Minerva’s Books and Ideas is a bookshop-turned-online store that focuses on classic fiction, literature, culture and philosophy, and antiquarian. What makes Minerva’s different is that its owners are as much about delving into the lives of books as they are about the stories themselves. Trading solely online and via Instagram, this is a real crowd pleaser for our metro friends who are searching for their next unique read.

Shop online

Bendigo Book Mark


Book Mark

If you can’t get enough of secondhand books, Bendigo Book Mark is another one to bookmark for a visit. A beautifully laid out independent store, the shop is a vibrant space with equally vibrant and joy-inducing reads.

Visit them on Facebook

The Bookbird Geelong


Book Bird

Founded in 2015, The Book Bird is Geelong’s local, independent book shop with a twist – because you never know what you’re going to discover. Stocking a large range of new release books across all genres, this store is a repository of pure delight in literary form.

Check out The Book Bird story

Squishy Minnie

Kyneton #onehourout

Squishy Minnie

Squishy Minnie is one of those spaces that leaves a lasting impression. With a plethora of children’s titles to enjoy, ranging from infant through to teen reads, as well as an exceptionally vibrant and quaint interior, this is a bookstore you need to experience to believe. Explore the array of books either in-store or online and find yourself or your loved ones the perfect gift!

Order online