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Heart and Soul: Australian Romance Writing


Event Status

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’ll hear from some of the stars of Australian romance. Each writer will share 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?

Sun Bookshop will be our bookseller for this event.


C.S. Pacat

C.S. Pacat is the New York Times and USA-Today best-selling author of Dark Rise, the Captive Prince trilogy, and the GLAAD-nominated graphic novels Fence, as well as a writer for DC Comics. Educated at the University of Melbourne, C.S. Pacat has since lived in a number of cities, including Toky... Read more

Jenna Guillaume

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. Previously, she spent more than half a decade in the features department of Girlfriend magazine, editing th... Read more

Jodi McAlister

Jodi McAlister is an author and academic. In her author life, she writes romance. In 2022, she has published Here For The Right Reasons (for adults) and Libby Lawrence is Good at Pretending (for young adults). She is also the author of the Valentine trilogy (2017-19), and her new romance Can I Steal... Read more

Angelita Biscotti

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 Lift... Read more

Anne Gracie

Anne Gracie is a Melbourne-based author of historical romance fiction, whose work has been published in 18 languages. She writes Regency-era historical romance for Berkley USA (a division of Penguin Random House, NY) and is now working on her 21st novel.  Anne is a former president and lifetime... Read more

Minnie Darke

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 (H... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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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 the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.