2023 had its ups and downs, but Storyfest closed another successful year with its 30th writers’ festival and an ever-growing list of literary programmes. Here are our favourites from 2023 and what we’re looking forward to in 2024!

We have compiled some of our team members’ favourite books from the year that was, as well as the things each of them are looking forward to in 2024 – whether that’s books or Storyfest events.

Find out more about our 2023 favourites and our 2024 hopefuls below.

Andrea Lewis
CEO and Festival Director

In adult fiction, Andrea gravitated towards deeply moving, inspirational stories from around Australia and beyond. From well-established authors to debut surprises, her favourites stack has a book for every type of reader.

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom is without a doubt my favourite author. Finding Chika shares the Albom family's journey of adoption. A moving story of love and loss that should be read by everyone. 

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus 

This book ensured a range of emotions from absolute fury to tears to laughter and more. I love nothing more than a feminist in the 60s!

The House of Now and Then by Jo Dixon

A debut crime novel by an emerging author. I had the pleasure of hosting the Queensland book launch for this book, and it’s a goodie. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end, which is exactly what I want from crime. 

Not Just the Wife of the General Manager by Sally Warriner

A book that shares the daily tasks of women working in outback Australia. I have a newfound respect for these women, who I believe are the driving force behind some of the biggest properties within Australia.

In children’s fiction, Andrea was inspired by the works of some wonderful children’s authors that have come through Storyfest, as well as those books frequented by her grandchildren. Here are her favourites. 

How are you? by Emma Memma

I love Emma's inclusion of Auslan throughout this book, making it so much more inclusive.

That Cat by Jacqueline Harvey 

A wonderful rhyming book about cats who come in all different shapes and sizes. 

Poo in the Zoo by Steve Smallman 

My granddaughter's favourite book to read, what can possibly be more fun to talk about than different poos!

From My Head to My Toes I Say What Goes by Charlotte Barkla

Local Queensland author has delivered a very gentle book about boundaries, age appropriate and another favourite to read together.

Somebody's Land by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing

My granddaughter loves this book. An age-appropriate gentle rhyming story connecting with First Nations culture – so important to share from a young age.

Tayla Haynes
Marketing Coordinator

Tayla didn’t get around to reading too many books this year, unfortunately she only found time to read one or two, but she has big plans for the year ahead.

“I didn’t get around to reading many books in 2023 as life got in the way. However, I did read Ellidy Pullin's Heart Strong, which was a tear jerker. And found myself reading Charlotte Barkla's All Bodies Are Good Bodies frequently to my nieces. It is such an important book for little ones, exploring different body types and features while building positive thoughts and attitudes – all types of bodies are celebrated – bold and beautiful, loud and proud.

“In 2024, I’m looking forward to reading The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner by Grace Tame, the incredible memoir of the Australian activist, as well a Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Matthew Perry, an honest and emotionally powerful memoir of the late Matthew Perry..

“Most importantly, I’m looking forward to the new Storyfest festivals this year. As daunting as it is, three festivals in three weeks will be the highlight for me!”

Gabriella Lennon
Events Support Officer

Gabriella jumped on the Colleen Hoover train this year, and she did not regret it!

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This book had me HOOKED. An easy read but the story was encapsulating, and I became so invested in the characters.

It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover

The investment in Atlas, Ryle and Lily was strong, and I had to find out what was going to happen with them all. This book was the absolute cherry on top.

Hope in a Ballet Shoe by Elaine DePrince and Michaela DePrince

If you want to read a book in a day, this is the one. Rags to riches in all it’s glory. From war-torn Sierra Leone to the US, to dancing for the Dutch National Ballet, this is a heart-wrenching, life-affirming true story of a young girl orphaned by war and saved by ballet.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

I couldn’t pick what was going to happen next, I needed to know more! Oh how wanting to do the right thing can result in the absolute opposite.

“In 2024, I’m looking forward to catching up on a couple of titles from my TBR pile, including Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Verity by Colleen Hoover, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell.

“Above all, and like Tayla, I’m most excited about our regional tour – how exciting that Storyfest is going to make an impact on even more children in need!”

To see our upcoming 2024 events, click here.