Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2018 RWA Academic Research Grant Winner

The RWA have just tweeted

Further details of the project are provided on their website:
Margo Hendricks, UC Santa Cruz
Heliodorus' Daughters: Women of Color and the Romance Industry

RWA awarded funding to Professor Emerita Margo Hendricks to carry out field research for her book project titled Heliodorus’ Daughters: Women of Color and the Romance Industry on the relationship between women of color and the romance genre.
In case anyone's wondering about the title of the project, I'm pretty sure it refers to an ancient Greek romance:
The Romance novel didn't begin with Kathleen Woodiwiss or even with the Bronte sisters. By the time Heliodorus wrote his Aethiopica—or Ethiopian Romance—in the third century, the genre was already impressively developed. Heliodorus launches his tale of love and the quirks of fate with a bizarre scene of blood, bodies, and booty on an Egyptian beach viewed through the eyes of a band of mystified pirates. The central love-struck characters are Charicles, the beautiful daughter of the Ethiopian queen, and Theagenes, a Thessalian aristocrat. The story unfolds with all the twists and devices any writer would employ today, with the added attractions of dreams, oracles, and exotic locales in the ancient Mediterranean and Africa. (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Call for Papers: Theorising the Popular in Liverpool

Theorising the Popular Conference 2018


Liverpool Hope University, July 11th-12th 2018

The Popular Culture Research Group at Liverpool Hope University is delighted to announce its eighth annual international conference, ‘Theorising the Popular’. Building on the success of previous years, the 2018 conference aims to highlight the intellectual originality, depth and breadth of ‘popular’ disciplines, as well as their academic relationship with and within ‘traditional’ subjects. One of its chief goals will be to generate debate that challenges academic hierarchies and cuts across disciplinary barriers.

The conference invites submissions from a broad range of disciplines, and is particularly interested in new ways of researching ‘popular’ forms of communication and culture. In addition to papers from established and early career academics, we encourage proposals from postgraduate students.

Papers should be 20 minutes in length. Please send abstracts of 300 words to Dr Joshua Gulam and Dr Jacqui Miller ( by March 23rd 2018.

The abstract should include your name, email address, affiliation, as well as the title of your paper.

Successful abstracts will be notified by April 9th 2018.

Conference fees: £100 for both days, including lunch and all refreshments (£80 for students and concessions). £50 for one day, including lunch and all refreshments (£40 for students and concessions).

More details at

Saturday, February 03, 2018

New to the Wiki: Authors, Austen and Prison

Hopkins, Lisa, 2017/2018. 
‘Waltzing with Wellington, Biting with Byron: Heroes in Austen Tribute Texts’. Jane Austen and Masculinity. Ed. Michael Kramp. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press. 173-189. Abstract Excerpt
Larson, Christine, 2017. 
“An Economy of Words: Precarity, Solidarity and Innovation in Digital Book Publishing.” PhD Diss., Stanford University. [According to Lois and Gregson (2018) "Larson’s dissertation (2017) comprises the only known examination of writers’ careers in the romance genre. Her 2014 survey examined 4,270 romance writers’ earnings over the previous eight years, comparing their incomes via traditional and self-publishing. She found that only approximately 20 percent of her sample earned above the U.S. median income through their writing."]
Lois, Jennifer and Joanna Gregson, 2018. 
"Aspirational Emotion Work: Calling, Emotional Capital, and Becoming a 'Real' Writer." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Online First 1 January 2018. Abstract
Nilson, Maria, 2017. 
"Nådens tuttar : Om skönheter, odjur och den frälsande kvinnokroppen i modern romance." HumaNetten 39. 110-123.pdf
Sequeiros, Paula, 2018. 
'“Holding the Dream”: Women’s Favorite Reading Matter in a Portuguese Prison', Qualitative Sociology Review 14.1: 110-128.

Friday, January 12, 2018

An Introduction to Popular Romance Fiction

Apologies for cross-posting, but this is just a short note.

If you'd like to read a brief introduction to popular romance fiction, I've got a couple of posts up at the University of Birmingham's Popular Literature blog:

Part 1: (defining the genre)

Part 2: (variations + different subgenres)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New to the Wiki: Feminism, Language, Virgin River and Sexuality

If you've got some spare time over the holidays, you might want to take a look at some of these: a lot of them are available online.
English, Jessica, 2017. 
Reading the Romance: Through the Eyes of a Millenial Feminist.” Masters Thesis. Eastern Washington University.
González Cruz, María Isabel, 2017. 
"Conciencia Sociolingüística e Hispanismos en un Corpus de Novela Rosa Inglesa." Pragmática Sociocultural/Sociocultural Pragmatics 5.2: 125-149. Abstract in Spanish and English, article in Spanish, pdf available.
Johnson, Heather., 2017. 
"Yorkshire English in Georgette Heyer's The Unknown Ajax." Schwa: Language and Linguistics 14: 57-70.
Malinowska, Anna, 2017. 
'Paternal Structures of the Romance', Romanica Silesiana 12: 40-52. Abstract
Russell, Shanon, 2014. 
"Dangerous Young Men: Themes of Female Sexuality and Masculinity in Paranormal Romance Novels for Young Adults." Masters Thesis. University of Ottawa.
Sandbakken, Asta Margrethe, 2016. 
"Feeling Men: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Emotion in the Contemporary Romance." MA Thesis, University of Oslo
 Simon, Jenni M., 2018. 
Consuming Agency and Desire in Romance: Stories of Love, Laughter, and Empowerment. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington. Excerpt

I'm not the only person who adds entries to the Romance Wiki's Academic Bibliography. Christina Martinez has recently added the following:

Neuhaus, Jessamyn and John Neuhaus. 2015. 
"'Sometimes It Feels More Like a Commune Than a Town': Envisioning Utopian Possibilities in Robyn Carr's Virgin River Romance Novels." Studies in Popular Culture, vol. 37, no. 2, 2015, pp. 25-42. Excerpt
Stafford, Jane. 2016. 
"Romance in the Backblocks in New Zealand Popular Fiction, 1930–1950: Mary Scott's Barbara Stories." Popular Fiction and Spatiality: Reading Genre Settings, Lisa (ed. and introd.) Fletcher, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 63-78.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Call for Contributors: New Academic Pop Fiction Blog

Elizabeth Parker of the University of Birmingham (UK) has written that:
A few of us at the University of Birmingham are in the process of setting up a Popular Literature blog. The idea is that each month there will be a different contributor, who will write a couple of entries on all things Pop Lit related! If you're interested in contributing, please do get in touch!
She adds that "We’d definitely be really keen to have some romance scholars contributing… " You can reach her at

Monday, November 06, 2017

Call for Papers: PopCAANZ 9th Annual International Conference 2 – 4 July 2018

PopCAANZ 9th Annual International Conference

2 – 4 July 2018

Auckland University of Technology, City Campus
Auckland, New Zealand

The Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (Pop CAANZ) is devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life, as a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. We invite academics, professionals, cultural practitioners and those with a scholarly interest in popular culture to send a 150 word abstract and 100 word bio to the area chair by 31 March, 2018.

The area chair for Popular Romance is Jodi McAlister:

The call for papers can be found here and the conference page is here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Call for Papers: Heyer Conference in London

The Nonesuch? Georgette Heyer and Her Historical Fiction Contemporaries

UCL, London, June 19th 2018

The call for papers was tweeted, with the details embedded in this image. In case that makes the text hard to read, I've transcribed the call for papers below the image.

Proposals for papers and sessions are invited for a one-day conference to be held at UCL on June 19th, 2018.

Plenary: Professor Kathryn Sutherland, Professor of Bibliography & Textual Criticism, Oxford University

This interdisciplinary conference is aimed primarily at exploring Heyer's historical novels, but will also set her work in context with other contemporary female historical fiction writers, such as Norah Lofts, Margaret Irwin, Margaret Campbell Barnes, and Anya Seton, and with contemporary Regency romance.

Papers are invited on any aspect of Heyer's historical works, including:

* Sources and influences
* Critical and popular reception
* Class, gender and sexuality
* Publishing and marketing histories

We hope that the day will be a combination of formal and informal sessions, and be a chance to meet other Heyer readers and discuss the impact of her work.

Please send a suggested title, synopsis (300 words) and biography (150 words) via a Word attachment for 20 minute papers or for longer panel sessions, by January 26th 2018, to Dr Samantha J. Rayner ( and Dr Kim Wilkins (, the conference organisers.

Friday, October 27, 2017

New to the Romance Wiki Bibliography: Racism, Gender, Magazines, and Latina Chick Lit

Ali, Kecia. 2017. 
Troubleshooting Post-9/11 America: Religion, Racism, and Stereotypes in Suzanne Brockmann’s Into the Night and Gone Too Far.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies 6.
Arimbi, Diah Ariani, 2017. 
"Women in Indonesian Popular Fiction: Romance, Beauty, and Identity Politics in Metropop Novels." Traditions Redirecting Contemporary Indonesian Cultural Productions. Ed. Jan van der Putten, Monika Arnez, Edwin P. Wieringa and Arndt Graf. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2017. 247-271. Excerpt

Higashi, Sumiko, 2017. 
'Adapting Middlebrow Taste to Sell Stars, Romance, and Consumption', Feminist Media Histories 3.4 (2017): 126-161. [Abstract which mentions that Photoplay magazine, which began in 1911, "published serialized romance fiction that featured daring, unconventional modern heroines."]
Kohlman, Marla H. and Samantha N. Simpson, 2017. 
"For the Sake of Hearth and Home: Gender Schematicity in the Romance Novel." Discourses on Gender and Sexual Inequality: The Legacy of Sandra L. Bem. Ed. Marla H. Kohlman and Dana B. Krieg. Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2017. 115-128. Abstract

We also have a chick lit bibliography, to which I've recently added:
Hedrick, Tace. 
Chica Lit: Popular Latina Fiction and Americanization in the Twenty-First Century. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2015. Details and excerpt

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Call for Papers: “Researching the Romance” April 13-14, 2018

The Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, in association with the Department of Popular Culture, will be hosting “Researching the Romance”, a conference for scholars, authors, and readers of popular romance fiction. Our Guest of Honor will be award-winning author Beverly Jenkins. The conference will take place April 13-14, 2018 at the Jerome Library on the  BGSU campus as well as at the Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green, Ohio.

From the website of Bowling Green State University:

In 1997, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University held one of the first academically oriented conferences on the genre of popular romance fiction. Titled “Re-Reading the Romance,” the event included authors and academics from around the country sharing their experiences and love for the genre.  A follow up conference titled “Romance in the new Millennium” was held in 2000, featuring even more thoughtful looks at romance.

In the years since the last conference at BGSU, the romance industry has grown to more than $1 billion per year in sales, and the study of popular romance has grown by leaps and bounds along with it. And we think it’s high time we reconvene in Northwest Ohio to talk about it. So on April 13th & 14th, 2018, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University will host a conference entitled “Researching the Romance.” 

The conference will be held in two locations over the course of the weekend. Most of the sessions will be held in the Jerome Library on the campus of Bowling Green State University, while Saturday afternoon’s events will be held at the Wood County District Public Library in downtown Bowling Green.

More about the Conference
Our Guest of Honor for the conference will be 2017 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Beverly Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins has published more than 30 novels, and is well-known for the level of detailed research she puts into each of her books, making her the perfect guest for this conference.

Our Friday lunchtime keynote speaker will be Dr. Kate Brown, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. Dr. Brown is a 2017 recipient of the Romance Writers of America Academic Research Grant for her work, which explores how English common law and constitutionalism give fundamental structure and substance to the historical romance genre.

Dr. Eric Selinger, Professor of English at DePaul University and Executive Editor of the Journal for Popular Romance Studies, will be in conversation with Beverly Jenkins on Friday afternoon. Dr. Selinger has a long history of research in romance fiction, and has frequently taught courses using Ms. Jenkins’ work.

Call for papers:
We are seeking presentations by graduate students and academics interested in the study of popular romance studies, as well as authors writing in the genre. Proposals for individual presentations or entire panels will be considered. The scope of this conference is deliberately broad, with the intention of highlighting the interdisciplinary nature and many different avenues of research possible within popular romance studies. Possible paper topics might include but are not limited to:
  • Textual analysis of individual books
  • In-depth analysis of particular authors’ work
  • Digital humanities approaches to popular romance research
  • The development of certain subgenres within popular romance
  • The rise of romance self-publishing in the age of e-books
  • Authors’ approaches to research on time periods, subgenres, etc
  • The growth in popularity of LGBTQ romance
  • Roadblocks to researching romance, for academics and authors alike
  • Romance novel covers across the decades
  • How authors build an audience in an era of subgenre specialization
  • Reception and fan communities for romance novels, subgenres, or authors
Presentation abstracts (max 250 words) should be submitted by Dec. 1, 2017 via the submission page of this site.
Notification of paper acceptance will be made by Dec 15, 2017.

Please contact Steve Ammidown ( or Dr. Kristen Rudisill ( with questions.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Call For Papers: Publishing Queer/Queer Publishing

Submission Deadline: Friday 17th November 2017
Conference Date: Friday 16th March 2018

Location: University of London, Senate House Library

Senate House Library is calling for papers on queer publishing for presentation at a 1 day conference taking place at Senate House in March 2018.

The conference forms part of the events programme for the exhibition ‘Queer Between the Covers’, held at Senate House Library from January to June 2018.

The presence of queer works on twentieth century publishers’ lists tended to represent complex processes of equivocation, marked by streams of open titillation and multi-layered camouflage. Novels of queer love could be presented by mainstream firms as examining
‘social problems,’ released by pulp presses with lurid covers promising erotic excitement, printed in severely limited and expensive editions to avoid censure, or offered to the public by imprints more accustomed to gambling against censorship with works pornographic in their intent and content. This fragmented world, driven by simultaneous repression of and prurient interest in queer lifestyles, means that it is difficult to delineate a broad history of queer publishing.

This conference seeks to engender as broad a discussion as possible of the area in an English language context, and welcomes proposals from researchers in multiple disciplines. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Evading censorship
• Criminal proceedings, and the fear of them
• Histories of specific presses
• Publishing case studies of individual texts or authors
• Cloaking and camouflage – the disguised queer story
• Tensions between published scripts and dramatic performance
• Dealing with ‘underground’ presses
• Pulp novels
• Histories of queer pornography
• Classical influences, ‘Uranians’ and other cliques

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers. To submit a paper, please send abstracts of up to 250 words to

Details from here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reminder: CfP for Romance at PCA/ACA 2018 closes on 10 October

The CFP for Romance at PCA 2018 in Indianapolis closes this Sunday, 1 October on Tuesday 10 October (the deadline has been extended).


Conference of the Popular Culture Association (PCA/ACA)
28-31 March 2017 – Indianapolis, Indiana

In response to Indiana’s role as a national player in debates about the rights and protections due to its LGBTQ residents, this year’s romance area will foreground the topic of popular romance and politics.  The popular romance community—scholars included—prides itself on prioritizing consensus and community over debate, sometimes at the expense of asking hard but necessary questions.  This year, we will open ourselves up to a few edgier panels, where participants are encouraged to push their boundaries and work together to think through some potentially divisive issues.  We are defining “politics” broadly, not solely in terms of governance but also, to borrow the OED’s language, as “the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.”  Thus, this would span not only party politics in a particular national or regional arena, but also the politics of gender, sexuality, race, nationality, religion, and class, among others.
Paper topics on this special theme might include the following:
  • The politics of the popular romance novel
  • M/M romance and the straight female readership
  • African-American and/or multicultural romance and market segregation
  • The academic politics of studying the popular romance
  • Party politics and military romance
  • Politics within the RWA
  • African-American and/or multicultural romance in historical settings
  • Category romance and party politics
If you are sick of politics, or simply want to pursue your own intellectual passion, you are very welcome to do so.  PCA/ACA Romance invites any theoretical or (inter)disciplinary approach to any topic related to romance, including the following:  art; literature; philosophy; radio; film; television; comics and graphic novels; videos, webzines and other online storytelling.   We are deeply interested in popular romance both within and outside of mainstream popular culture, now or in the past, anywhere in the world.  Scholars, romance writers, romance readers, and any combination of the three are welcome: you do not need to be an academic to be part of the Romance area.

More details here.