17–27 September 2020

Why Read Harlequin Mills & Boon Romances?

Why Read Harlequin Mills & Boon Romances?

50 million people read Mills & Boon novels worldwide. Many others see them as anti-feminist and patriarchal. So should you be ashamed of reading them?

Val Derbyshire believes the books have genuine literary value. In her lecture, and in the accompanying graphic novel, she has a lot of fun arguing the case.

On Saturday 17 September from 1-2pm there will be a panel discussion (see below), followed by the lecture at 2pm.

On Thursday 22 September the lecture will run from 4:45pm.

About the panel discussion

Can anyone write a romantic novel? What are editors looking for in their next romance? How do the authors come up with their ideas? And is it all just escapism, or is there literary value to be found in these texts?

Our panel of experts will answer your burning questions about Mills & Boon romantic novels.

The panel:

  • Flo Nicoll, Senior Editor for Mills & Boon
  • Susan Stephens and Heidi Rice, popular authors for Mills & Boon
  • Dr Laura Vivanco, whose academic text For Love and Money, published in 2011, explored the literary art of Mills & Boon romantic novels
  • Dr Amy Burge, whose recent monograph Representing Difference in the Medieval and Modern Orientalist Romance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) analysed race, religion, multiculturalism and gender in romance
  • Fiona Martinez, Sheffield Hallam University’s Vice-Chancellor Scholarship PhD candidate, whose own research explores the romance genre as a feminist endeavour.

PhD student Val Derbyshire is researching the evocation of place and space in the works of the 18th-century poet and novelist Charlotte Turner Smith. Val is also interested in the romance genre generally, from the 18th century to the present day.

Eleven Design, the team behind the popular Our Favourite Places culture guides, helped Val develop the graphic novel and presentation to illustrate her talk.