Thursday, September 06, 2012

Joint Conference: Curtin University and the Romance Writers of Australia

The Elizabeth Jolley Conference 2013

Reading and Writing Romance in the 21st Century

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia

Here are some details from the Romance Writers of Australia:
In 2013, Curtin University, in association with Romance Writers of Australia presents the inaugural Elizabeth Jolley Conference, Reading and Writing Romance in the 21st Century, a one-day academic conference on romance writing. The conference is presented as part of the Romance Writers of Australia 22nd Annual Conference to be held on August 16-18, 2013.

Of interest to academics, students and scholars of romance writing, as well as romance writers and readers, the conference will explore critical understandings of romance writing and the cultural significance of romance writing and its audiences.
The keynote speaker is Professor Imelda Whelehan. The call for papers is as follows:
….there is no one representative romance novel. (Bly, 2010 p61)

The meaning of ‘romance fiction’ in the twenty first century has become complex, diverse and wide-ranging. At a time when the future of books, reading and fiction are hotly debated topics, the many sub-genres of romance (and romance-driven general fiction) continue to be bestsellers. In light of its continued popularity, as well as increasing academic and critical attention, it is timely to consider how our understandings of romance fiction have changed. So too, we might consider the way in which the constitution, demands and desires of its audience has shifted. For, just as there is more than one type of romance, it is becoming clear that there is more than one type of romance reader.

This conference invites papers that explore the notion of reading and writing romance in the twenty first century. Whilst the genre of contemporary romance fiction is the main focus, we also welcome contributions that situate romance fiction in its historical context, or explore its place in mainstream and literary fiction. We particularly welcome papers that focus on Australian authors and audiences.

Among the questions the conference seeks to ask are: Has the increased connectivity and social networking enabled by the internet and e-publishing helped bring romance fiction into the mainstream? Or have its readers just become more vocal, connected and better able to share their passion? How well does contemporary romance fiction reflect shifts in relationships, marriage and sexuality? Is romance fiction bound to reflect normative social narratives, or can it offer more challenging representations of gender, race, sexuality and class? To what extent does contemporary romance fiction reflect key socio-political concerns such as indigenous issues, ethnicity, multiculturalism or Pacific Rim relations?

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

•    Explorations of the contemporary audiences for contemporary romance fiction
•    Beyond the pseudonym: who is writing romance fiction today?
•    The relation and position of fanfiction in the genre
•    The impact of e-publishing and social networking on romance fiction writers and readers
•    Changes to the marketing, packaging and branding of contemporary romance fiction
•    The demographic  breakdown of romance fiction readers and writers
•    The impact of e-readers on the public/private impacts of reading romance fiction
•    Explorations of genre boundaries: the relation of romance fiction to women’s fiction,  chick lit and other genres
•    Cross-genre pollination: the impact of paranormal romance on the genre and its readership
•    The relation of romance fiction to mainstream and literary fiction
•    Analyses of contemporary romance fiction covers and cover art
•    Explorations of the ideal romance fiction reader
•    Explorations of romance fiction sub-genres such as historical romance, medical, gothic, paranormal romance

Abstracts of no more than 300 words are due by January 11th 2013 [...] Successful submissions will be invited to submit full papers for consideration for publication in a special issue of The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture (full papers due June 2013).

Full details here. If you'd like to stay informed about the conference, you can subscribe to the Elizabeth Jolley Conference blog.

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