Thursday, March 22, 2012

RWA Academic Research Grant

I'm always curious about who the Romance Writers of America (RWA) selects as the recipient of its academic research grant every year.

I was very pleased this year to note that Dr. Stacy Holden from Purdue was awarded the grant for her work: Not Deserted after the Storm: Images of Arab Political Systems in Romance Novels Published after 9/11.

Broad top-level questions for me are: Has the popularity of sheikh novels in Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern lines gone down, as in fewer are being accepted for publication? Are fewer readers reading these novels? On the other hand, how have the novels changed to adapt to shifting reader views on the events of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

And my all time biggest question mark is of religion. It has always been downplayed significantly to being virtually non-existent in books before 9/11. Has this changed since 9/11?


Diane Gaston said...

good questions, Keira.

I love it when Romance novels are discussed in an academic way (as long as the discussion is informed and not basing ideas on romances of 20 years ago)

Keira Soleore said...

I'm with you there, Diane. Like any fast-moving pop entertainment industry, romance novel styles, ideologies, tropes, etc. change rapidly. While researching medieval history anything from two hundred years here and there can be considered, for romance novels, even 20 years is way outdated.