Fabulous reader Dr. Frantz, herself a professor of English and romance fan, brought this fabulous event series to my attention:
Conversations about Romance, an ongoing seminar at the Smithsonian.
Suzanne Brockman, Diana Gabaldon, Mary Jo Putney, Carly Phillips and Jennifer Crusie are each booked for a seminar to discuss their writing, and the host, Dr. Pamela Regis, interviews them with a book signing following each session. If the next session wasn’t 9 days after my due date, I’d be in the car driving to DC, no question.
What gets me is the description on the page itself:
Romance novels were created to celebrate women’s control over their own destiny, with the promise of enduring happiness at story’s end. The popular genre’s established pedigree includes such venerable writers as Jane Austen.
The form allows for tremendous latitude in expanding on the basic theme of the heroine and her man…. However, they all share an abiding sense of the heroine as the winning centerpiece.
“The heroine as the winning centerpiece?” “Celebrate a woman’s control over her destiny?” I am so on board with that.
Dr. Frantz also mentioned in her email to me, and on her LiveJournal that the session she attended with Suz Brockmann was fantastic.
I went to Suz Brockmann’s interview this week (drove all the way up from NC!), and it was just fabulousâ€”although it was Suz, and she’s such a great person, it’s difficult to imagine it going any other way. And while the whole evening was immeasurably improved by the dinner afterward with 20 fans, Suz, and her husband, I still think the interview itself was wonderful and worth attending.
What was truly great about it was that you’re in the Smithsonian, for heaven’s sake. Surrounded by signs advertising classes about Opera and Native American Culture and Far Eastern China dildoes painted with flowers (not really), and all these “high cultureâ€ things, and then there’s conversations about romance novels in the same space, given the same attention and respect.
I thanked the woman in charge and she shrugged it off, but I thought it was important to recognize her for having the balls to put on a program like this.
I concur – it is so important to consider the development of the romance novel alongside all the high-academe topics such as the development of women’s rights in the 20th century. We certainly touched on this idea during the monster conversation about rape in romance.
But romance novels in the Smithsonian? I’ll have a grin on my grill the rest of the day – that is fantastic!