Fiona Stager, Co-owner and book nerd, Avid Reader

Success is being surrounded by vibrant inspiring people and the ability to pay my bills ...

Independent bookstore owners are a slightly crazy and obsessive but hard-working and passionate bunch … never more true than when referring to Fiona Stager, co-owner of West End’s infamous Avid Reader Bookshop and Cafe. Since opening in 1997, Avid Reader has become a second home for Brisbane’s word nerds, poets, writers, indie-book obsessed and literature-intrigued. Filling what was a gap in local bookstores specialising in new, quality fiction and non-fiction, Avid Reader has built a community of loyal bookworms and cafe grazers. Like the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, Avid Reader is renowned for supporting local and emerging writers, as well as stocking an impressive collection of backlist classics that have stood the test of time. The Weekend Edition caught up with Fiona to chat about her essentials for a well-spent weekend.

How do you like to start your weekend?
Behind the counter at Avid Reader.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
I have my first short macchiato for the day and a quick read of the book pages in the weekend papers.

How do you like to unwind?
Swimming laps with my friends Sandy and Esther.

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Good food, some time in the garden, a neighbourhood gathering, a quick cycle along the river to GOMA and maybe a movie.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
Visit friends in Northern New South Wales.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Listening to music from New Orleans and cooking dinner for friends and family. I’m in a raw food phase at the moment.

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
Yum Cha at Sunnybank.

What are you reading at the moment?
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, as we are doing an event with him next month. And Rimbaud poetry.

What inspires you?
It’s more a case of who inspires me and that’s my staff and our customers.

What was your childhood dream?
To spend my days reading.

What has been your greatest achievement?
I know I should say it’s running a successful indie bookshop in challenging times, but my greatest achievement is our daughter.

What is success to you?
Success is being surrounded by vibrant inspiring people and the ability to pay my bills!

What are your words of wisdom?
Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.

Only a local would know that … I am involved with a local history group and we are working on our second walking tour of West End.


Perk up …  Stradbroke Island
Relax … Walking in Orleigh Park
Dine … At home in our front courtyard
Indulge … A glass of wine at the movies
Shop … Dogstar
Catch-up … The End, West End
Be inspired … GOMA


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