This year, most appropriately, in February, and just a few days before Valentine’s Day, the Library of Congress will be hosting a two-day conference dedicated to our favorite genre of fiction, romance. This conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 and 11 February 2015, at the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, in Washington, D. C. So far as I know, this is the first-ever conference to be held with a specific focus on romantic fiction which will be attended not only by romance readers and writers, but also scholars of the genre. As far as I am concerned, it is about time that romance was shown some respect as a true art form, not dismissed as a trivial type of fiction read only by women.
The title of this conference is "What Is Love? Romance Fiction in the Digital Age." It is described as an international, multimedia conference to discuss all aspects of romance, in particular what modern romance can reveal about our culture and beliefs. A new documentary film, "Love Between the Covers," about the readers and writers of romance, will be previewed on the first day of the conference. On the second day of the conference there will be a number of panel discussions on various topics within the romantic fiction genre. Popular romance has only recently become recognized as a legitimate field of academic study, but a conference like this, held at such a prestigious institution as the Library of Congress, provides clear affirmation that it is truly taken seriously within the academic community.
Attendance at the conference is free, but registration is only available on a first-come, first-served basis. The conference sponsors include Harlequin, the world-wide romance publishers, as well as the Romance Writers of America, George Mason University, Penguin Random House and the Nora Roberts Foundation. Registration is now open for those who would like to attend.
Specific details about the conference can be found on the Library of Congress web page for the event, at: http://loc.gov/today/pr/2015/15-007.html. There is also a link on that page to register for the conference and/or the screening of the documentary film about romance readers and writers.