Australia prides itself on being a reading nation, but who’s reading what? What are our favourite genres? Do women read more than men? How do we choose our books? Where do we buy them? A recent survey of Australian readers conducted by Macquarie University and the Australia Council for the Arts investigates the preferences, behaviour and attitudes of Australians towards books and reading. The Australian’s literary editor Stephen Romei joins publisher Meredith Curnow, author Melissa Lucashenko, bookseller Fiona Stager and Professor David Throsby to discuss the findings.

David Throsby (Australian)

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David Throsby is a distinguished professor in the Department of Economics at Macquarie University who is internationally known for his work as an economist with specialist interests in the economics of the arts and culture. He chaired the Book Industry Collaborative Council in 2012-13, and is currently leading a three year study entitled The Australian Book Industry: Authors, Publishers and Readers in a Time of Change, funded by the Australian Research Council.

Melissa Lucashenko (Australian)

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Melissa Lucashenko is a Bundjalung novelist. Mullumbimby was awarded the 2013 Deloitte Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, won the 2014 Victorian Premiers Prize for Indigenous Writing, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, Stella Prize, and Dublin IMPAC Literary Prize 2015. Melissa is also a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, and a founding member of the women’s rights organisation, Sisters Inside. In 2016 she was awarded the Copyright Agency Fellowship to write her next novel, Too Much Lip.

Meredith Curnow (Australian)

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Meredith Curnow has been a publisher at Penguin Random House for 14 years where she publishes fiction and non-fiction from a stellar array of writers including Tom Keneally, Gail Jones, David Malouf, Kate Forsyth, Don Watson, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Frank Moorhouse. Prior to joining PRH, Meredith ran the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Meredith is the chair of the Australia Council/APA Residential Editorial Program and is on the board of youth arts organisation Express Media.

Fiona Stager (Australian)

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Fiona is the co-owner of Brisbane’s award-winning bookshops, Avid Reader and Where the Wild Things Are. She has been a judge for the Vogel Award, the Stella Award and the Queensland Literary Awards. Fiona has been presented with the Johnno Award for services to the Queensland writing community and in 2014 the Australian Booksellers Associated made her a life member. 

Stephen Romei (Australian)

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Stephen Romei is The Australian's literary editor. He blogs at A Pair of Ragged Claws. When pressed, he nominates Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment as his favourite book, though sometimes it's Moby Dick.