|Barse's Romance in the Library of Congress|
Public Domain (link)
On Wednesday, February 11, I rode the Metro into Washington, DC for a special one day conference at the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress - What is Love? Romance in the Digital Age (link):
"This two-day gathering will unite authors, scholars and fans to explore the changing dynamics of the genre, its relevance in popular culture and how digital technology is shaping the future of romance fiction," said John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book.
"Our conference will include business and social interests and influences, romance literature scholarship and public engagement with people who love the genre," he said.
The conference kicked off with Panel 1 - What Belongs in the Romance Canon:
Pam Regis, Professor of Englis, McDonald College and President, International Assocation for the Study of Popular Romance
Len Barot/Radclyffe, President/Author, Bold Strokes books
Beverly Jenkins, Author, Avon Books
Nicole Peeler, Associatoin Professor of English, Seton Hall University
Eric Selinger, Professor of English, DePaul University
Susan Ostrov Weisser, Professor of English, Adelphi University
I borrowed a pen from the lovely lady next to me - a fan of Beverly Jenkins - so I could take notes. I uncapped the pen just in time to hear Beverlydiscuss that African American romance has been absent from romance canon. She added that it took Terry McMillan's WAITING TO EXHALE to hit the best seller for the publishing industry to realize black women actually read books (Beverly was very funny in her delivery).
The panel referred to E.D.E.N. Southworth's THE HIDDEN HAND as one of the first books written by a woman for women. From Goodreads (link),
The panel agreed that canon is not like the Highlander - there cannot only be one.
Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches tweeted her musings from the conference and storied them at this link. She took better notes via her tweets than my chicken scratch on the program.
Let's chat about canon. From Dictionary.com,
a standard; criterion
any officially recognized set of sacred books
Many "academics" refer to Loretta Chase's LORD OF SCOUNDRELS and Jennifer Crusie's BET ME as must haves in romance canon. What would be in your canon? Mine would include the first romance book I read ... Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT. It has a Highlander!
One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Saturday, February 28, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 1.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City