RWA2020 Audio: Discussion on History of Black Category Rom
RWA2020 Audio: Discussion on History of Black Category Rom
A Critical Discussion on the History of Black Category Romance and Its Authors

Speakers: Shirley Hailstock, Donna Hill, and Sandra Kitt
Moderator: Jamee Pritchard

Published 40 years ago, Entwined Destinies by African American journalist Elsie Washington (a.k.a. Rosalind Welles) was the first category romance to portray Black love. The novel was introduced by Dell Candlelight in 1980 under the editorial leadership of Vivian Stephens as the “first ethnic Candlelight Romance” in a new program designed to reach a neglected market of readers of various ethnic backgrounds. Stephens and Washington set the precedent for Black category romance, ushering in a vanguard of Black writers that offered representations of Black love and relationships in a genre that had historically excluded them.

In this panel, Sandra Kitt, Shirley Hailstock, and Donna Hill discuss their careers as romance writers and pioneers in Black romance. They offer their experiences, insights, and perspectives on a diverse range of topics on the history of the genre that includes the 1990s boom of Black category romance, the importance of Black imprints, and the future of the genre. The panel is moderated by Jamee Pritchard, a graduate student of history and women's and gender studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.