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Sexy novel authors, readers come to Canberra

Romance and erotica novels have seen a huge increase in popularity and acceptance with the release of 50 Shades of Grey, according to Canberra romance novelists.

Attending the fourth consecutive Australian Romance Readers Convention, held this year at QT Canberra, Nicole Murphy was among a crowd of women who enjoyed reading or writing erotica and sexy novels.

Canberra romance author, Joanie MacNeil, 64, of Dunlop, attending the Australian Romance Readers Convention at the QT.
Canberra romance author, Joanie MacNeil, 64, of Dunlop, attending the Australian Romance Readers Convention at the QT. Photo: Graham Tidy

The event brought out lustful women from across Australia to share their passion for romance.

With titles like 12 Daves of ChristmasDeep Diving, and Tease Me, Cowboy all up for awards, it's no wonder the genre has seen a resurgence in recent times.

For Murphy, aka Elizabeth Dunk, her love of the genre came about when she was a teenager.

"My grandmother had this massive Mills and Boon collection," she said.

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"Her house was one of those houses that every cupboard you opened, there was Mills and Boon books somewhere; there was Mills and Boon books under the beds, there was Mills and Boon books down the side of lounges…"

Ms Murphy said she had always been a voracious reader, and she soon learnt that when she took a trip to grandmas, she needn't take her own books.

"I would just go into one of the back bedrooms and find the nearest stash of Mills and Boon."

Murphy said a change had occurred in recent years, which had allowed women to be more open about the erotic books they read.

"It used to be the case that a lot of women would be ashamed to be seen reading a romance book, so they would hide the covers.

"I have heard a theory that one of the reasons that e-readers took off in the way they did – and particularly with the romance genre where electronic publishing really took off, more than any other genre – is now women could read it and no one knew what they were reading."

Murphy agreed books like 50 Shades of Grey made the genre more acceptable.

"That's the great thing about reading romance. There's a guarantee that you're going to have a fabulous time, and at the end of it it's going to work out and it's going to be wonderful."