Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Now! Romance Conference in Washington DC

The program for the "What is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age" is now available and places are free. This conference will be held at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, on the 10th-11th of February.

The main event on the 10th is a screening of a "documentary film that takes its viewers into the multi-billion dollar romance fiction business and the remarkable worldwide community of women who create, consume, and love romance novels." You can book your place here.

Click here to book your place at the "international, multimedia conference of authors, scholars, publishers, and the public at the Library of Congress on February 11, 2015, hosted by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in cooperation with corporate and foundation supporters and the Popular Romance Project."


Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The Library of Congress, Jefferson Building
Sneak Preview Screening of Love Between the Covers

6:30        Welcome; Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor

6:45        Love Between the Covers

8:20    Q&A with producer/director Laurie Kahn, editor William A. Anderson, and featured authors Beverly Jenkins, Len Barot/Radclyffe, Mary Bly/Eloisa James, and Joanne Lockyer     

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The Library of Congress, Madison Building, 6th floor
What Is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age

9:00         Welcome

John Y. Cole, Director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; Co-organizer of "What is Love?"

Laurie Kahn, Project Director, Popular Romance Project; Producer/Director of "Love Between the Covers"

Pamela Regis, Professor of English, McDaniel College; President of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance; Co-organizer of "What Is Love?"   

9:10-10:30     Panel 1: What Belongs in the Romance Canon? Why?

•    Pamela Regis (moderator), Professor of English, McDaniel College; President of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance
•    Len Barot/Radclyffe Founder/CEO, Bold Strokes Books; Romance Author
•    Beverly Jenkins, Romance Author
•    Nicole Peeler, Associate Professor of English, Seton Hill University; Romance Author
•    Eric Murphy Selinger, Professor of English, DePaul University; Executive Editor, Journal of Popular Romance Studies
•    Susan Ostrov Weisser, Professor of English, Adelphi University

Questions to Consider
Why does romance fiction resonate globally? How many archetypal love stories are there? Who are romance novels speaking to? Should there be a romance canon? Should there be different romance canons for the sub-genres within romance? Should the canon(s) include romance novels written in non-Anglo cultures? And how far back should the canon go? What is included and excluded from this genre? How does the perception of romance fiction compare with the perception of fantasy, sci-fi and mystery? Why?

10:45-3:30    Drop-in Interactive Rooms, concurrent with Panels 2 and 3

•    Write a romance novel scene.
•    Explore the Popular Romance Project website:
•    See the film: "Love Between the Covers."
•    Suggest a Popular Romance Library Program for the American Library Association.
•    Browse publishers' exhibits.

10:45-12:15    Panel 2: What do Science and History Reveal about Love?

•    William Gleason (moderator), Professor of English, Princeton University
•    Stephanie Coontz, Professor of History, Evergreen State College
•    Eli Finkel, Professor, Department of Psychology and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
•    Darlene Clark Hine, Professor of History, Northwestern University
•    William M. Reddy, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
•    Ronald Walters, Professor of History, The Johns Hopkins University

Questions to Consider
What do scientists know about physical attraction, lust, and love? What have historians discovered about the ideas of love in different times and cultures? When, why, and where did domestic partnerships shift from being primarily about dynastic relationships between families—often including economic benefit—to being about individual choice based on ideas of love? Is love a feminine topic? What kinds of love do we see depicted in romance novels and do we use these depictions to shape our own lives? How does knowing the history and science of love change our sense of what love is now? Is love being transformed in our digital age?

12:15-1:30    Lunch Break

1:45-3:15    Panel 3:  Community and the Romance Genre

•    Mary Bly/Eloisa James (moderator), Professor of English, Fordham University, Romance Author
•    Kim Castillo, Author's Assistant, Eloisa James, Inc.
•    Robyn Carr, Romance Author
•    Brenda Jackson, Romance Author
•    Anne Jamison, Professor of English, University of Utah
•    Allison Kelley, Executive Director, Romance Writers of America
•    Sarah Wendell, Romance Blogger, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Questions to Consider
Is the romance community like other fan communities? Are there actually many romance communities – and do they communicate with one another? Why do romance fans love their books so much?  How are romance communities different in different parts of the world? Are the values of romance novels lived out in the romance community? How are books changing due to a more interactive reader community? Why have so many best-selling romance authors come from reader communities? What can we learn from the magnitude of the romance community about the world we live in? What can we learn about community building from romance writers and readers?

3:30-5:00    Panel 4:  Trending Now: Where is Romance Fiction Heading in the Digital Age?

•    Sarah Frantz Lyons (moderator), Editorial Director, Riptide Publishing; Founder of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance
•    Jon Fine, Former Director of Author and Publisher Relations,
•    Liliana Hart, Romance Author
•    Angela James, Editorial Director, Carina Press/Harlequin
•    Tara McPherson, Associate Professor of Critical Studies, University of Southern California
•    Dominique Raccah, Founder/CEO, Sourcebooks
•    Claire Zion, Vice President and Editorial Director, New American Library

Questions to Consider
During this last panel of the day, we will reflect on the current tsunami of change in publishing—from traditional publishing to the explosive phenomena of ebooks and self-publication. How well is the romance industry, and the romance community writ large, poised to ride this digital wave? Where are we? Where are things heading? Together we will ponder the future of romance fiction.

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