Catherine Cookson (d. 11 June 1998) 'reigned supreme as the UK’s most borrowed author for 17 years' (Public Lending Right) and the
region of the north-east in which Catherine Cookson's novels are said to be situated is openly advertised as 'Catherine Cookson Country'. Yet the moral, commercial, historical and future-oriented purpose of identification like this is little considered, necessitating, as it does, close attention to how such a novelist is perceived among her readers, or even perhaps among those who have no immediate familiarity with her pages. (Snell 1998: 41)In April Sarah gave a summary of the paper Julie Taddeo presented to the 2007 PCA/ACA Conference on the topic of 'Searching for Romantic Heroes in Catherine Cookson Country'. Taddeo has now put out a call for papers for an academic volume of essays about Cookson and she writes that
Romance scholars typically ignore Cookson, who herself resisted the label of romance novelist in favor of social historian, while historians are too eager to discredit the accuracy of her largely Victorian settings and plots. It is time to revisit Cookson Country and assess Cookson’s legacy as a publishing phenomenon. [...] Possible topics include but are not limited to:The full call for papers can be found here and the closing date for submissions is the 15th of August 2007.
- Cookson as a distinctly “British” novelist
- Representations of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality, especially homosexuality and lesbianism, in Cookson’s novels and life
- Cookson Country and the Heritage Industry (includes the museum, trails, on-line websites by and for fans, and TV movie versions of her novels)
- Re-evaluations of her texts: Feminist? Conservative? Subversive?
- Historical fiction or romance—do such labels really matter?
- Re-imagining Victorianism
- Class and gender politics in the historical/romance novel
- Snell, K. D. M., 1998. 'The regional novel: themes for interdisciplinary research ', in The Regional Novel in Britain and Ireland, 1800-1990, ed. K. D. M. Snell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).