Festival Program


Romance as Resistance

Sun 8 Sep, 10am
The Wheeler Centre, Performance Space

Written on an accelerated timeline, romance fiction is uniquely placed to react in real time to political and cultural shifts in the world. Authors Anne Gracie, Melanie Milburne and CS Pacat discuss how the genre can challenge the status quo. With Jodi McAlister.


1 hour

Session code


Available on Pass



Session Artists

Award-winning Melbourne writer Anne Gracie started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world. She's now working on her 22nd book. A nationally bestselling author in the USA, her Regency-era novels have been translated into more than eighteen languages.

Jodi McAlister is the author of young adult novels Valentine, Ironheart, and Misrule. She is also an academic, studying popular fiction and culture. She currently lectures in writing and literature at Deakin University in Melbourne.

Melanie Milburne is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 80 romance novels for Harlequin Mills and Boon. Her books are sold in over 100 foreign markets and translated into multiple languages. She is an offical ambassador for the Australian Childhood Foundation.

CS Pacat is the international best-selling author of the Captive Prince trilogy, and the young adult comic Fence. Published in over 15 countries and recently nominated for a GLAAD award, CS Pacat is currently working on a YA fantasy trilogy.

More sessions like this one

Highlight Event

For the Love of Crime

Sun 8 Sep, 2.30pm

A life of crime (writing) is not easy. Genre giants Val McDermid, Mark Brandi and Christian White share the trials and tribulations.

Highlight Event

The Pleasure of Guilty

Sun 1 Sep, 10am

ABC journalist Virginia Trioli and director of The Wheeler Centre Michael Williams come clean about their love of lowbrow rom-coms.


Unpicking Classic Romances

Sun 8 Sep, 2.30pm

What’s up with Mr Darcy? What a mansplainer. Armed with a contemporary lens, three authors interrogate how well the classics hold up.  


Who Gets to Love?

Sun 8 Sep, 11.30am

Statistics show romance remains a genre for – and populated by – white, straight and able-bodied folk. Three writers discuss this lack of diversity.