Thursday, April 27, 2017

CFP: Women’s Writing in the 21st Century - Sheffield, 8-9 September 2017

From the Postgraduate Contemporary Women's Writing Network (UK)

Fast Forward: Women’s Writing in the 21st Century

“The past is always tense, the future perfect.“ (Zadie Smith)

Zadie Smith’s debut novel White Teeth was published in the January of 2000 and marked the beginning of a new millennium of women’s writing. Considering that this and other texts released around the turn of the century are soon to be the same age as current undergraduates, it seems timely to move on from well-worn discussions of literature produced in the 1970s onwards and focus on women’s writing in the twenty first century.
The contemporary, as a liminal temporal space, marks the transition between past and future and as such is not only notoriously hard to frame but its fluid and ephemeral nature continues to present a challenge in literary studies and beyond. Contemporary literature, in many ways simultaneously ‘with the time’ and then quickly outdated, presents a curious and exciting paradox to think through questions of literary form, the literary market place, the role of authors as public intellectuals and contemporary readers. The need to focus on the present and contemporary state of women’s literature seems particularly poignant in a post-Brexit and Trump era in which laws and ideas surrounding the future state of gender, race, and class politics are ever more obscure and uncertain.
Join us on the 8th and 9th September 2017 as we seek to position the most recent work (post 2000) of established authors alongside the field’s newer voices in order to facilitate a conversation about the present state – and possible futures – of women’s writing.
Possible conference themes:
  • the resurgence of women’s confessional writing
  • the recent rise in popularity of erotic and romantic fiction
  • the emergence of genres such as autofiction and autotheory in women’s writing
  • writing at the intersection of creative and critical/writing across genres
  • writers as public intellectuals and agents of change
  • new directions in writing by canonised authors
Please send abstracts of 250 words and a short bionote to until 30th June, 2017.

Details from here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

CFP: Seventh International Conference on Popular Romance Studies (2018 conference; September 1 deadline)
The Seventh International Conference on Popular Romance Studies
Think Globally, Love Locally?
Sydney, Australia
27-29 June, 2018
Space, place, and romantic love are intimately entwined. Popular culture depicts particular locations and environments as “romantic”; romantic fantasies can be “escapist” or involve the “boy / girl / beloved next door”; and romantic relationships play out in a complex mix of physical and virtual settings. The romance industry may be globalized, but popular romance culture is always situated: produced and circulated in distinctive localities and spaces, online and offline. Love plays out in real-world contexts of migration and dislocation; love figures in representations of assimilation and cultural resistance; in different times and places, radically disparate political movements—revolutionary, reactionary, and everything in between—have all deployed the rhetoric and imagery of love.

For its seventh international conference on Popular Romance Studies, the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance calls for papers on romantic love and popular culture, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world. We are particularly interested, this year, on papers that address the relationship between love and locality in popular culture:  not just in fictional modes (novels, films, TV shows, comics, song lyrics, fan fiction, etc.), but also in didactic genres (advice columns, dating manuals, journalism), in advertising, and in both digital and material culture (wedding dresses, courtship rituals, etc.). 

The conference will be held at Macquarie University’s city campus, 123 Pit Street, Sydney. The venue is in the heart of Sydney’s CBD shopping and dining precinct, a 15-minute walk away from the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and historic Rocks area.

Topics of interest might include:

  • Geographies of love and sexuality
  • Love’s Settings: e.g., the imagined Outback of Rural Romances; the Scottish Highlands; romantic cities; small-town and island romances; the communal space of “Romancelandia”
  • Romantic Chronotopes: times and places when love is imagined to be “truer” or “deeper” than the here-and-now (e.g., Regency or Victorian England; medieval Provence; Tang Dynasty China; the Joseon settings of Korean TV-drama, etc.)
  • Honeymoon travel (past and present) and romantic tourism, including fan pilgrimages for romantic texts and films, destination weddings, and the like
  • Locality and LGBTQIA romance culture
  • Courtship in public and semi-private spaces: e.g., paying visits, dating, office romance, romance and car culture
  • Love’s Architectures: Hotels, Fantasy Suites, Clubs and Restaurants, Domestic Spaces (kitchens, bedrooms, Red Rooms of Pain, etc.)
  • Local, National, and Transnational Book Industries
  • Local Romance Writer Groups, Reader Groups, or Media Fan Groups / Events
  • Romance and the (Local) Library or Bookshop
  • Local Love on Television (e.g., Farmer Wants a Wife) and online (Tinder, etc.)
  • “Escapist” reading and the places / practices of romance consumption
  • Place and Race in Popular Romance
  • The “Phone-World” and other Virtual Spaces for Love
  • Off the Map: Emerging and Under-Studied Settings and Romance Cultures
·         Material locations and imaginary spaces for love, and the combination of the two in Edward Soja's concept of "thirdspace"
·         Migration and love: migration for love, love hampered by distance, love in migrant and refugee communities
·         Non-geographic love (e.g., love experienced entirely online) and the intersections of technology with long-distance love, now and in the past
·         Lieux de memoire in the context of romantic love (as opposed to national identity)
·         Love and nationalism, love and regionalism, love and (local) political struggle
All theoretical and empirical approaches are welcome, including discussions of pedagogy.

Submit 250-300w proposals for individual papers, full panels, roundtables, interviews, or innovative presentations to by 1 September 2017.  All proposals will be peer reviewed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Issue of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies

Eric Selinger writes:

Now that we've switched to a rolling publication format in JPRS, new pieces will appear both individually and in thematic or "special issue" groups. Today, we begin rolling out Volume 6 of the journal with a new Special Issue on Critical Love Studies, edited by Amy Burge and Michael Gratzke. The table of contents is below, and you can find the whole issue here: 

Enjoy! And spread the word!


Romance Event in Evanston, Illinois, on 29 April 2017

There's a notice in Evanston Now that there's going to be a film and Q&A session:
Love Between the Covers: Film Screening and Discussion will be held Saturday, April 29, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Community Meeting Room, Main Library.

Every year romance lit outsells mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet until Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Laurie Kahn turned her camera on the genre, no filmmaker had ever taken an honest look at the amazing global community that romance writers and readers have built.

So why is romance the best-selling genre in publsihing? Do romance novels exploit women or empower them? Following the film three local romance writers, Amy Jo Cousins, Kate Meader, and Julie Ann Walker, will be on hand for a panel discussion moderated by romance scholar, Professor Eric Selinger, of DePaul University. Come for the film, but stay for the Q&A and the chance to ask all your burning questions about contemporary romance novels.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

New Disability and Romance Project

Ria Cheyne is
excited to announce the launch of the Disability and Romance Project!  Please check out the project website at or follow on Twitter @DisRomProject.

As some of you know, I've been researching the representation of disability in romance for a while now; this new project will gather data from romance readers, writers and other industry professionals with the aim of better understanding how readers respond to depictions of disability in romance, what motivates authors to write disabled characters, and if there are any barriers to publishing romance novels featuring disabled characters.  

I'm delighted to have received funding from the RWA Academic Research Grant for the second phase of the project, which focuses on writers.  The first phase focuses on readers, and our reader survey is now available at:

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Free Romance Conference, Open to the Public: Williamstown USA, 22 April 2017

Reading for Pleasure: Romance Fiction in the International Marketplace 

Saturday, April 22 at 8:00am to 4:15pm

Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, Bernhard Music Center 54 Chapin Hall Dr, Williamstown, MA 01267, USA

Free and open to the public.

8:00 - 10:00 am:  Panel 1:  Theories of Pleasure (Brooks Rogers Auditorium on the Williams campus)
Chair:  Leyla Rouhi, Williams College
  • Laura Frost, Stanford University:  “Stories of O:  The Language of Orgasm in Women’s Romance”
  • Julie Cassiday, Williams College:  “A World Without Safe-Words:  Fifty Shades of Russian Grey”
  • Eric Selinger, DePaul University:  “Xenophile’s Paradox:  Reading for Pleasure Across the Great Divides”

10:15 am - 12:15 pm:  Panel 2:  New Subjects and Audiences (Brooks Rogers Auditorium)
Chair:  Alison Case, Williams College
  • Sonali Dev, author:  “Genre Structure and Learning to Dance Within its Boundaries”
  • Hsu-Ming Teo, Macquarie University:  “Tigresses, Tang Dynasty, and the Ten Commandments:  The East Asian Romance Novels of Jade Lee, Jeannie Lin, and Camy Tang”
  • Jayashree Kamblé, LaGuardia Community College:  “When Wuxia Met Romance:  The Pleasures and Politics of Multiculturalism in Sherry Thomas’s My Beautiful Enemy
  • Len Barot (Radclyffe), author and publisher:  “Lesbian Romances and the International Market in the Digital Age”

2:15 - 4:15 pm:  Panel 3:  New Media Platforms and the Global Marketplace (Brooks Rogers Auditorium)
Chair:  Greg Mitchell, Williams College
  • Mary Bly (Eloisa James), Fordham University, author:  “Romancing the World:  How and Where American Romance Sells”
  •  Katy Regnery, author:  “From Stay-at-Home Mom to NYT Bestseller in 30 Months:  A First-Hand Perspective on the Digital Revolution in the Romance Publishing Industry”
  • Sarah Wendell, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:  “The World is So Big; the World is So Small:  The Global Community of Romance”
  • Patience Bloom, Harlequin:  “Harlequin’s International Program:  A World of Romance Readers”
More details here.

Monday, April 03, 2017

RWA Academic Grant Awarded, What's New to the Wiki and a Couple of Other Links

The 2017 RWA Academic Research Grant has been awarded to:

Dr. Kate Brown, Huntington University
Dukes, Dowers, Devises, and Demesnes: The Paradoxical Place of English Law in the Historical Romance

RWA awarded funding to Dr. Kate Brown's project, which explores how English common law and constitutionalism give fundamental structure and substance to the historical romance genre.

Dr. Ria Cheyne, [Liverpool Hope] University
The Disability and Romance Project

RWA awarded funding to Dr. Ria Cheyne's project, which seeks to advance the scholarly conversation about disability and romance and will also engage with romance readers, writers and other industry professionals to encourage new conversations about romance, disability and representation.

I've only added a couple of items to the Romance Wiki bibliography recently, so I thought I'd add a few blog posts to today's post:

Anne N. Bornschein took a look at "a romance novel that deals with the history of women’s academic work—particularly in the sciences—and how it has often been erased, dismissed, or appropriated by male colleagues."

Olivia Waite observes that "writers make millions upon millions of tiny, instinctual decisions that add up to internally consistent structures" and suggests it's important to start "recognizing the partly hidden pattern[s]."

And new to the Wiki are:
Cheyne, Ria, 2017. 
"Disability Studies Reads the Romance: Sexuality, Prejudice, and the Happily-Ever-After in the Work of Mary Balogh." Culture - Theory – Disability: Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Ed. Anne Waldschmidt, Hanjo Berressem and Moritz Ingwersen. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript. 201-216.
Matthews, Amy T., 2016. 
'Entangled: the exegetical process of a romance writer', Arts and Humanities as Higher Education December 2016.
Dr Amy T. Matthews also writes literary fiction as "Amy T Matthews" and romance fiction as "Tess LeSue." She is hoping to bring her three personae together:
The HEA is a non-negotiable element of romance and one I want to use in my literary romance novel (it is already a staple in my historical romances). The parameters I am giving myself for the literary romance is that it must be structured around at least one romantic relationship between a man and a woman (although there may be more than one), and that it must end optimistically, with a happy ending (although not necessarily the same kind of happy ending as a traditional romance). I do not want to sidestep the inevitability of suffering. I want my characters to experience love and romance in the context of real world pressures – infidelity, mental illness, bereavement  – and I want to face up to the inescapable finality of death, while still (somehow!) managing to reach that optimistic ending. This will be a point of difference between popular romance and my literary novel, and I hope it’s one I can navigate without slipping from ‘romance’ into ‘love story’.