Our latest Bookseller in Spotlight is the wonderful Bronwyn Richens, Assistant Manager at Roaring Stories Bookshop in Balmain.

How did you get into bookselling?

I was an early childhood teacher for 18 years when I suddenly hit burnout. A good friend suggested I try my local bookshop for a job while I figured things out. Twelve years later, I’m still here!

I took on the role of Children’s Buyer under Philip Bray of Brays Books and I’m now Assistant Manager and Children’s Buyer with our new owner, Daniel Jordon at Roaring Stories Bookshop.

What do you love most about being a bookseller?

Being able to talk about books ALL day with our customers, reps and colleagues. My childhood dreams come true!

What’s your pet peeve about book retail?

Not enough time to read all the lovely new books that turn up each month.

Has bookselling changed during coronavirus?

During coronavirus, our suburb saw a HUGE increase in the number of people working from home. Suddenly we were seeing customers we hadn’t seen in years, as they walked around their local area, in between zoom meetings. With more time on their hands, they’ve rediscovered their love of reading (and completing jigsaw puzzles!).

What kinds of books do you gravitate towards?

I will try most things once, but I gravitate towards historical fiction, classics, memoirs and Australian literature.

Is there a book that you think everyone should read?

At the moment, I’m urging everyone to read Tara June Winch’s The Yield.

It’s such a wonderful, enriching story with a lot to say about Indigenous life in Australia. Poppy’s Indigenous language dictionary woven throughout the story was the highlight for me.

What is a recent Australian title you loved?

Robbie Arnott’s The Rain Heron. Beautiful descriptions and strong female protagonists. And a rain heron that I still dream about.