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Friday essay: romance fiction rewrites the rulebook

By Beth Driscoll, Associate Professor in Publishing and Communications, The University of Melbourne
Kim Wilkins, Professor in Writing, Deputy Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of HASS, The University of Queensland, The University of Queensland
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Romance fiction has one of the most recognisable brands in book culture. It is known for a handful of attributes: its happy-ever-after endings, the pocket Mills & Boon and Harlequin editions, the covers featuring Fabio (in the 1990s) or naked male torsos (the hot trend in the 21st century). It is known for being overwhelmingly written and read by women, and for being mass-produced.

But romance fiction is also the most innovative and uncontrollable of all genres. It is the genre least able to be contained by established models of how the publishing industry works, or how readers and…The Conversation


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