The Wheeler Centre
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Group Texts: Heart and Soul: Australian Romance Writing
Name a literary genre that has always placed women front and centre. Romance.
Romance writing is largely by women, for women – and in Australia, the genre has evolved a lot in recent years, with exciting new publishing models, booming sub-genres and big hits by local authors on the international stage. Australian romance writers are busier than ever, writing funny, smart, sexy and, above all, entertaining fiction.
At this special event at the Wheeler Centre, we hear from some of the stars of Australian romance. Each writer shares a short reflection or provocation on the genre, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A.
What are the reactionary conventions of romance, and what are its more subversive elements? What do stolen kisses, ripped bodices and father figures mean today? What's changing, what's here to stay, and what sets the 21st-century woman’s heart aflutter?
Featuring Jenna Guillaume, C.S. Pacat, Jodi McAlister, Angelita Biscotti, Anne Gracie and Minnie Darke.
Jenna Guillaume was editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about very important things like pop culture, identity, feminism, social media and Chris Hemsworth's biceps.
C.S. Pacat is the best-selling author of the Captive Prince trilogy, and the comic Fence. Born in Australia and educated at the University of Melbourne, she has since lived in a number of cities, including Tokyo and Perugia. She currently resides and writes in Melbourne.
Her first novel began its life as an original-fiction web serial, which attracted viral attention before being acquired by Penguin USA. The Captive Prince trilogy went on to become a USA Today bestseller after being published to commercial success and critical acclaim.
Dr Jodi McAlister is a Lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University in Melbourne. Her research focuses on representations of love and romance in popular fiction and culture. She is also an author of young adult fiction, and her novels Valentine (2017), Ironheart (2018), and Misrule (2019) are published by Penguin Teen Australia.
Angelita Sofia Biscotti is a Spanish-Filipino-Australian fine-art model, photo artist and writer who used to publish work under the name Angela Serrano, and tweet as @angelita_serra. She was a 2017 Hot Desk Fellow at the Wheeler Centre. Her words have been published in Djed Press, Archer, The Lifted Brow, Overland, Peril, Cordite Poetry Review and elsewhere. Her erotic poetry chapbook Else But A Madness Most Discreet is available through Vagabond Press.
Her modelling work has appeared in Pencilled In, Hot Chicks with Big Brains, We Are Something Else and Demasque. Her photography has been exhibited at Midsumma Festival's Queer Economies at St Heliers Street Gallery, and BlackCat Gallery's Square-Circle show. She is an alumna of the Footscray Community Arts Centre's West Writers Group.
Anne Gracie is a Melbourne-based author of historical romance fiction, whose work has been published in 18 languages.
Minnie Darke is the author of the romantic comedy Star-crossed. Minnie shares a body with Danielle Wood, a versatile wordsmith who has written novels and short story collections for adults (The Alphabet of Light and Dark, Rosie Little’s Cautionary Tales for Girls, Mothers Grimm), non-fiction (Housewife Superstar: the very best of Marjorie Bligh) and – in partnership with Heather Rose – novels for children (Finding Serendipity, A Week Without Tuesday, Blueberry Pancakes Forever).