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A Fine Romance: Beyond the Bodice Ripper


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‘Romance novels’ have something of a bad rap. Mills and Boons, Harlequins, steamy romps featuring rippling torsos and swarthy Adonises: they’re too often typecast as guilty pleasures. But there’s roaring trade in this neglected artform. Whether dressed up as ‘literary’ or unabashedly commercial, ‘chicklit’, teen fiction or a pulpy delight, there’s a fine art to convincingly writing about love.

The ABC’s Alan Brough grills writers who’ve made romance their business.


Marion Lennox

Marion Lennox is the author of more than 80 romance novels since 1990. As a teenager Marion Lennox read into the small hours, by torchlight under the bedclothes. Night after night her parents would tug away the covers and tell her she’d never get anywhere in life if she kept reading romance. She a... Read more

Lili Wilkinson

Lili Wilkinson is the award-winning author of sixteen books, including After the Lights Go Out and The Erasure Initiative. She established and the Inky Awards at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria. Lili has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Me... Read more

Stephanie Laurens

Author of more than 42 romance titles, Stephanie Laurens has hit the New York Times bestseller list with her last 23 books. Stephanie Laurens began writing historical romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly ballooned into a career with the publication of h... Read more

Alan Brough

Alan Brough was born in New Zealand and is quite a bit older than he’d like to be. Alan has always loved books and, from an early age, wanted to be a writer. Then he and his Dad went to see Star Wars and Alan decided that, actually, he really, really, really, really, really wanted to be an act... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.