In 1997, the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University held one of the first academically oriented conferences on the genre of popular romance fiction. Titled “Re-Reading the Romance,” the event included authors and academics from around the country sharing their experiences and love for the genre. A follow-up conference, “Romance in the new Millennium,” was held in 2000, featuring even more thoughtful looks at romance.
Since then, the romance industry has grown to more than $1 billion per year in sales, and the study of popular romance has grown by leaps and bounds along with it. On April 13-14, the Browne Popular Culture Library hosted a conference titled “Researching the Romance.”
The conference was hosted in the Jerome Library and the Wood County District Public Library. Guest of honor was 2017 RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Beverly Jenkins. Jenkins has published more than 30 novels, and is well known for the level of detailed research she puts into her books, making her the perfect guest for this conference. She delivered the closing keynote address on Saturday as well as signing books. Also attending were Dr. Kate Brown, assistant professor of political science at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana and Dr. Eric Selinger, professor of English at DePaul University and executive editor of the Journal for Popular Romance Studies.