The International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) calls for submissions for the second annual Conseula Francis Award. The Francis Award is given out each year for the best unpublished essay on popular romance media and / or the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture. Essays may focus on work in any medium (e.g., fiction, film, TV, music, comics, or advice literature) or on topics related to real-world courtship, dating, relationships, and love. The winning essay will receive a $250 USD cash prize and be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Popular Romance Studies, pending any needed revision according to the judges’ comments.
The Francis Award is in honor and memory of our colleague Conseula Francis, who was associate provost and professor of English and African American Studies at the College of Charleston. The author of The Critical Reception of James Baldwin: 1963-2010 (2014) and the editor of Conversations with Octavia Butler (2009), Francis studied popular romance fiction with particular attention on African American authors and representations of Black love. Priority for the Francis Award will therefore be given to manuscripts that address the diversity of, and diversities within, popular romance and romantic love culture: e.g., diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, class, sexuality, disability, or age.
The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2018, and the winner will be announced in April. All submissions should be sent to Erin Young, Managing Editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Francis Award” in your subject line. All submissions must be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA format; in keeping with JPRS publication guidelines we will consider essays of 5000 to ~10,000 words in length. Please remove your name or the name of any co-authors from the submitted manuscript; in your cover-letter email, please provide your contact information (address, phone number, e-mail address) and a 150-200 word abstract of the submission.
The judges for the Francis Award will be a mix of established and emerging scholars in the field of Popular Romance Studies, chosen by IASPR. Each year’s winner will be invited to join the panel of judges for the following year. The winning essay for 2017 was “The Stable Muslim Love Triangle – Triangular Desire in Black Muslim Romance Fiction,” by Layla Abdullah-Poulos of SUNY Empire State College: a groundbreaking study of “the amalgamation of Islamic, Black American, and American notions of love, courtship, and sexual dialogue” in this emerging textual corpus. It is currently in process at the Journal of Popular Romance Studies.