Thursday, February 23, 2017

News and Events: Indian romance, CFP for Genre Fiction conf in Brisbane,

Bowling Green State University's Popular Culture Scholars Association hosted a talk today by Kristen Rudisill

You might be able to read that if you click on it but if not, here's a transcript of the abstract:
Post-Colonial Romance Reading and Writing in India

At the end of the 20th century, India was the "largest sales outlet in the world" for the Mills & Boon romance novels produced primarily in English. The post-colonial nation flirted with its own English-language romances in the mid-1990s, but Rupa's & Company's Indian romance line was considered "fake" and "unrealistic" by contemporary Indian women readers. Then in 2008, Mills & Boon opened an Indian office, which started soliciting manuscripts from Indian writers. In 2009, avid romance reader Sandhya Sridhar started Pageturn Publisher, with the label "Red," to publish English-language novels that she billed as "full blooded desi romance." This paper looks at the shifts in the Indian cultural imaginary that took place across that fifteen year period to think about why Red has been able to connect with India[n] readers while the Rupa novels flopped. This paper examines the idea of "desi romance" as a new sub-genre of romance novels, and explores the boundaries of the sub-genre as defined by Red. It also takes into consideration issues of representation, culture, and identity to argue that Red is filling a niche that exists in the Indian market in addition to those filled by Mills and Boon and regional-language romances.

Genre Worlds: Popular Fiction in the 21st Century


Academic Conference in association with GenreCon
State Library of Queensland, Brisbane 10 November 2017
Abstract Deadline: 21 April 2017
Convenors: Dr Kim Wilkins, Dr Beth Driscoll, and Dr Lisa Fletcher
All artistic work… involves the joint activity of a number, often a large number, of people…. The work always shows signs of that cooperation” – Howard S. Becker, Art Worlds.
Popular fiction is one of the most dynamic cultural and commercial divisions of twenty-first century publishing. Internally, it is organised along the lines of genres, creating what we call ‘genre worlds.’  This conference will consider the ways that contemporary genre worlds function as sectors of the publishing industry, as social and cultural formations, and as bodies of texts. Who is publishing popular fiction? Who is reading it? How do genre communities form, and how do texts circulate within them? How are terms like popular fiction, genre fiction, commercial fiction and trade publishing used, and what do they suggest about the way that popular fiction is conceived of and valued, by the industry and academy alike?
We invite abstracts for presentations on aspects of Australian and international popular fiction genres, industries, markets and communities. Submissions are welcome from scholars across the humanities and social science disciplines, including those working in cultural studies, publishing studies, sociology, cultural economics, literary studies and creative writing.
Possible topics include:
  • Close and distant reading of works of contemporary popular fiction
  • Career trajectories and models of authorship in popular fiction, within and across genres
  • Social media and popular fiction
  • Distribution and routes to readers, including studies of booksellers, libraries, and the use of advanced reading copies
  • Popular fiction readers, reading practices, and fan cultures
  • Pleasure and popular fiction
  • The material formats of genre texts and paratexts, including studies of ebooks, print books, and audiobooks
  • Systems of value and gatekeeping in popular fiction, including blogging, reviewing, booktubing, bestseller lists, prizes, festivals, and events
  • Genre writing and reading groups, both online and offline
  • The spaces and places of popular fiction, including studies of book tourism
  • The economics of genre fiction: persistent and emergent business models, including self-publishing, author services, marketing strategies, and sales patterns
Plans for publications arising from the conference include a special issue of Australian Literary Studies. To be considered for inclusion, full papers of between 5,000 and 10,000 words will be due by 9 December 2017.
200-300 word abstracts should be sent to Kim Wilkins at the School of Communication & Arts, University of Queensland, at, by 21 April 2017.

[The call for papers came from here.]


No mention's made here of romance, but in case it's of interest:

Call for Proposals: 21st Century Genre Fiction

The Bloomsbury 21st Century Genre Fiction series seeks new titles addressing innovative trends and development in contemporary genre writing, considering the function of genre in both reflecting and shaping sociopolitical and economic developments of the twenty-first century. The series provides exciting and accessible introductions to new genres in twenty-first-century fiction for fans and critics alike. Exploring the history and uses of each genre to date each title in the series analyses key examples of new genres since the year 2000.

More details here.


And finally, new to the Romance Wiki bibliography is:
González-Cruz, Maria-Isabel, 2016. 
"Discourse Types and Functions in Popular Romance Fiction Novels ("Work in Progress")." On the move: Glancing Backwards To Build a Future in English Studies Ed. Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz and Jon Ortiz de Urbina Arruabarrena. Bilbao: Universidad de Deusto. 265-271.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

New to the Wiki: Muslim Reworkings of Romance/Chick Lit and German Translations

Newns, Lucinda, 2017. 
"Renegotiating romantic genres: Textual resistance and Muslim chick lit." Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Online first. 1-17. [Abstract]
Newns examines Leila Aboulela's fictional The Translator and Shelina Zahra Janmohamed autobiographical Love in a Headscarf:
Through their manipulation of secular romantic forms, they present readers with more nuanced articulations of Muslim womanhood that fuse feminist and religious concerns. Aboulela’s novel The Translator (1999) and Janmohamed’s memoir Love in a Headscarf (2009) appropriate the domestic novel and chick lit genres, respectively, and recast them within an Islamic signification system.
Newns doesn't mention popular romance except in passing, but Aboulela's novel is compared in some detail to Jane Eyre, while Janmohamed's book is compared to chick lit.]

Sinner, Carsten, 2012. 
"Fictional orality in romance novels: Between linguistic reality and editorial requirements." The Translation of Fictive Dialogue. Ed. Jenny Brumme and Anna Espunya. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 119–136.
In constructing the characters' social context, interpersonal distance is overtly manifested in some languages. Carsten Sinner [...] illustrates the conscious efforts made by German translators of English-language romance novels to recreate the highly conventionalized use of the terms of address Sie (distant) vs du (close), and even to ensure verisimilitude in the switch from one to the other, a protocol regulated by various parameters (age, superiority, personality). (22)

Carsten Sinner [...] attests to the "sanitization" strategy (term coined in Kenny 1998) followed by German publishers of romance novels through their translation style-sheets. Any feature of speech that may have a negative impact on the reader's opinion of the 'good' character has to be attenuated or even deleted, no matter the consequences for the verisimilitude of the situation. The difficulty does not lie in finding the model of language that is homologous to the source text colloquial variety but rather in achieving plausibility without shocking the reader. (23-24)

Other things generally omitted in the translation because of the publisher's style prescriptions are religious allusions and anything seen as nationalistic, heroic in a military sense, etc, which sometimes appears in the American originals. (133)