A Labour of Love? The Story Behind the Compilation of Love Brought to Book: A Bio-bibliography of 20th Century Australian Romance Novels

Publication year
Australian Academic & Research Libraries

when I was working in the National Library of Australia, one of my most important responsibilities was to ensure that the national collection of works by Australian authors was complete. One day, one of my colleagues, a Brisbane native, mentioned that a former schoolmate of hers was in the odd position of making a very good living as a full-time novelist without any of her books having been acquired by the National Library of Australia. The writer in question was the Queensland author Margaret Way who published no fewer than 70 novels between 1970 and 1996. [...]

For a brief period, indeed, the National Library of Australia did not accord Australian romance novels individual cataloguing in the Australian National Bibliography (ANB). They were treated as part of a made-up series. Moreover, even when Australian romance novels were ostensibly given the same degree of bibliographical attention as is accorded to the silver jubilee histories of tiny primary schools in country towns, the record was far from complete. (183)

Writers' reasons for choosing a pseudonym vary [...]. During the 1950s and 1960s, when Lee Pattinson and Rena Cross were working, they seem to have been given names in the same way as film stars were. Someone thought a novel would not appeal if the author's name were not euphonious [...]. Nowadays, however, choosing a pseudonym seems to be a matter of camouflage, and several authors were quite insistent that their real names were not to be revealed in my bibliography. (187)