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Kristan Higgins Tackles the Lack of Diversity in Romance

Ridley Mar 10th, 2014 697 Never
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  1. In Waiting on You, the latest from bestselling romance writer Kristan Higgins, high school sweethearts rekindle their steamy relationship ten years later. She is Irish-American. He is half Puerto Rican. Details that would hardly be worth mentioning, except in the overwhelmingly white world of romance fiction.
  3. Conversation about this lack of diversity broke out online last year when a blogger for the website Love in the Margins posted “An Open Letter to Harlequin” (coincidentally, Kristan’s publisher) decrying “the eerie racial and cultural homogeneity of your books,” including the dearth of Hispanic characters. The blog post drew a flurry of comments from romance readers and authors who debated the root causes of the problem, but not whether there was a problem.
  5. Later, writing on UK-based website The Toast, blogger Mindy Hung complained, “In romance novels, it seems easier for a person of colour to get a date with a were-lion than with a non-shifting human being. I guess if a reader is down with leonine loving, then stories featuring sex with Asian people aren’t so scary.”
  7. In Waiting on You, Kristan handles multiculturalism with a light touch. Join the live video chat when Kristan talks about Waiting on You at 7 pm ET, Wednesday, Mar. 12, during a Booktalk Nation event. Find more details and sign up to join below.
  11. Suleikha Snyder • 30 minutes ago
  12. Not to diminish Higgins' book in any way, but an Irish American heroine and half Puerto Rican hero hardly represent any sort of sea change in the diversification of mainstream romance. Biracial heroes are fairly common in both contemporary and historical romance, with their "partial" ethnicity being just the perfect dash of spice to make them extra sexy for the average reader. This doesn't tackle multiculturalism. If anything, it simply reinforces the status quo. Popular mainstream romance authors have been including hunky heroes of varying degrees of color in their novels for decades.
  14. What would be remarkable is if BookTalk Nation actually talked to multicultural and interracial romance authors of color about the lack of shelf space for diverse romance. Because there isn't a "lack of diversity." There's a lack of awareness that more people ARE writing these books.
  16. Honestly, this little blurb advertising what is no doubt going to be a lovely chat with Higgins about her new release just reflects BookTalk Nation's startling lack of care when it comes to looking into issues of diversity in the romance world. This did not begin with Love in the Margins last year. It's a discussion that has been ongoing for decades.
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  20. Kaia Alderson • 17 minutes ago
  21. Remember that line in the original Star Wars when Obi-Wan said he felt a surge of voices cry out and then were instantly silenced? That's how I felt in reading this blip about diversity in romance. Just like that, decades of books and advocacy by romance authors of color and organizations like Romance Slam Jam were erased by these few paragraphs written to sell 1 book.
  23. Please care enough to do some research first so you can add to the existing conversation instead of reinventing the wheel.
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