An article in Seattle Weekly today explores the lack of a multi cultural presence in the billion dollar romance industry. Author Edwina Martin-Arnold relates her experiences with Greater Seattle chapter of the Romance Writers of America, “I went to one [GSRWA] meeting, and it was extremely uncomfortable. It was a clique. Seattle’s local chapter is distant–"I guess that’s a good word. I stay away.”
The article is largely dismissive of romance stating the the “paperbacks are cheap and hardly literary” and wondering “Why would anyone want to write them?” But it does bring to light the strange practice of segregating the books by author ethnicity instead of by genre. It also questions why such a popular genre is so lacking in multicultural figures, both behind the covers and between them.
Glenda Howard, the executive editor for the African American Harlequin line, Kimani, believes that African-American romance is a growth area, calling it “robust and it’s flourishing.” But authors who aren’t African-American and aren’t Caucasion find themselves adrift. There is no South American, Asian-Pacific Islander writing groups or lines devoted to those ethnicities. “Sarkar-Mishra echoes Flynn’s comments about Asian writers when she says, ‘If it’s not African-American fiction, it’s Caucasian–"and no in-between.’”
If you can withstand the constant romance put downs, the article is an interesting read.
Via Seattle Weekly.