Australian Romance Readers Awards

March 14, 2024

Recently I was lucky enough to win a Cinderella ticket to the Australian Romance Readers Association Gala Awards Dinner. ARRA, as it is known, tallies the votes of readers who choose from many different categories: best banter to favourite couple, favourite historical romance through to Australia’s favourite romance author of 2023.

The books can come from anywhere in the world, but I was proud to see many Australian authors listed in each category. It was a night filled with laughter, friendship, banter and most of all a love of romance fiction.

Capably MC’d by our host Romantasy author, H. M. Hodgson (who was also runner – up in the Favourite Paranormal Romance category with her novel A Relic of Magic and Frankincense), guests enjoyed a lovely meal and drinks, some romance trivia and plenty of prestigious awards. The Brisbane event was held on Friday March 8 at Royal on the Park, with the following day given over to meet the authors and book signings sharing the work of some of Australia and the world’s best loved Romance authors. These signing days are being held Australia – wide.

Our keynote speaker for the evening was Cathy Maxwell, who is an amazing romance author from the USA. Cathy’s titles include The Marriage Contract, Tea for Two and A Kiss in the Moonlight. Cathy writes historical romance fiction and reminds writers and readers alike that all fiction is valuable. Fiction helps you understand yourself and how you see your place in the world and when life gets really tough, it’s fiction that can feed your soul. She reminded us that, “the measure of a life well lived is how well you have loved, and if that isn’t worth writing about, I don’t know what is…”

Then came the reason we were all there … to find out the books and authors that Australian romance readers had loved in 2023. The first category of awards announced was the Members’ Choice.

Favourite couple in a romance 2023 – Adeline and Holden from Talk to The Heart, Rachael Johns
Best banter in a romance – Playing it Tough by Amy Andrews
Favourite Romantic Comedy 2023 – Breaking All the Rules by Amy Andrews

Next were the hotly contested genre categories.

Favourite Paranormal Romance – Resonance Surge by Nalini Singh
Favourite Sci – Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance – King of Ruin by Keri Arthur
Favourite Historical Romance – The Homecoming by Alison Stuart
Favourite Contemporary Romance – Breaking all the Rules by Amy Andrews

Favourite Short or Category Romance – Cinderella and the Outback Billionaire by Kelly Hunter
Favourite Romantic Suspense – The Lonely-Hearts Detective Agency by Megan Mayfair

Finally, more prestigious awards were announced by authors and readers alike.

Favourite Continuing Romance Series – Black Dagger Brotherhood by JB Ward
Favourite Debut Romance Author 2023 – Second Chance Love at Point Perry by Jo Spiers
Favourite Australian Romance Author of 2023 – Amy Andrews

There were so many great authors and stories in each category showing how strong the romance genre is right now. It is the best-selling genre in the world and many great Australian authors are at the forefront. With genres as diverse as sports romance, rural romance, paranormal romance, holiday and travel romance, historical romance plus so many more, it is easy to choose a romance novel that is right for you.

The talented team from “How to Write Love” were there – Ally Blake, Clare Connolly, Amy Andrews and Jennifer St George. They sponsored the trivia and with a swag of award-winning authors helming this popular course, it’s a great way for aspiring and emerging authors to hone their craft.

I also spoke to the delightful Sue – Anne Chapman who has just wrapped up the successful BLUSSH Romance Festival. Look out for this fabulous festival featuring films and books coming again in 2025! For now, you can find out more romance news through their Romance Club.

I was lucky enough to share a table with two Cinderella readers and a swag of fabulous authors – Tanya Bird, Penelope Janu (nominated for favourite couple in a romance, favourite contemporary romance and favourite Australian romance author) and my author friends, rural romance author Stella Quinn (runner up for both favourite contemporary romance and favourite short or category romance) and African suspense author – the lovely T. M. Clark.

I was very glad I had just read Amy Andrews Breaking All the Rules, as I loved this story set in Colorado and could see why it was winning so many awards on the night.

Amy has several more titles in her Credence, Colorado series that I will be seeking out as I lived in Colorado for three years back in the 90’s and will be visiting my friends there later this year. Might make great gifts to take back there!

But like all good Cinderellas I had to sneak away from the festivities to be home before midnight, with dreams of my own stories and the excitement of chatting to so many renowned romance authors filling my head. To have your own ARRA moment watch out for the signing events coming to your city soon. Next stop is Sydney on March 10 before Melbourne on March 16 and Perth March 17.

The organisation has a very active Facebook group and blog and is a great space for connecting readers and writers. Romance fiction brings joy, and it was palpable at the ARRA awards for 2023. She society were very pleased and proud to be a part of this special romantic soirée.

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