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Thread by @BookThingo: " Session 1 topic is "Romancing Australia" chaired by Kim Wilkins. First presenter is Amy T. Matthews on “Colonial Reinscription and […]" #IASPR18

, 48 tweets, 16 min read
#IASPR18 Session 1 topic is "Romancing Australia" chaired by Kim Wilkins.
First presenter is Amy T. Matthews on “Colonial Reinscription and Imperial Nostalgia in Tricia Stringer’s Flinders Ranges Series” by Amy T. Matthews and Amy Mead (Flinders University). #iaspr18
Amy writes as @TessLesue and gave acknowledgment of country. She's looking at her work in American western romance against Australian historical romance. #iaspr18
American western romance can be problematic but there have been developments around acknowledging diversity & First Nations people. AU historical romance has not carved similar spaces. Prototype is Thorn Birds but with a happy ending. Amy finds Australian HR very racist. #iaspr18
Colonial histories are painful, shameful. How has the colonial frontier been represented in AU fiction? Literary fiction has been good at incorporating indigenous history BUT these books don't sell. They don't have the cultural impact of, say, Tricia Stringer. #iaspr18
"We need to decide how to tell our history." A triumphant story of settlement or invasion of indigenous people? Lit fiction has responded by challenging history. We don't see this as much in historical romance bc focused on happy stories. #iaspr18
Despite enormous readership of popular Aus historical fiction, they don't get much critical focus. Amy is going through familiar Australian historical tropes. Similar to American frontier romance. #iaspr18
Amy is now looking at specific narrative moments that are racist. A lot around naming things - coopting names, renaming indigenous names, etc. "There's not a sense of narrative judgment." #iaspr18
Indigenous characters fall into categories: noble savage but obedient servant; rampantly sexual but innocent; mystical but primitive; simple-minded but worldly. Agents of colonialism often display nostalgia for colonised cultural as they first encountered it. #iaspr18
No one pays the Indigenous characters for their labour. When hero and heroine do this, the reader sees it as normal, unquestioned. Violence and interracial intimacy are intertwined in settler colonial narratives. #iaspr18
Amy is now going through how the book violates Australia Council protocols. Representation of Aboriginal culture developed without Indigenous observation are likely to fail. (Jared Thomas paraphrase - sorry, the slide was too fast!) #iaspr18
Stringer violates many Australia Council protocols. Uses the term "native". An argument is that this is a transcription of how historical characters spoke. But if the text doesn't question this, then it propagates racist ideas. #iaspr18
Anita Heiss (paraphrase): If you don't know an Aboriginal person to ask for advice on representation, you shouldn't be writing Aboriginal characters. #iaspr18
Amy and Amy are trying to build a toolkit to help authors counteract? challenge? investigate? these problems and stereotypes. (I think? There's a lot of digest!) #iaspr18
One of the techniques is through POV. Amy: For example, why would you ventriloquise a character who is racist? Why would you want that person to be your hero? Maybe don't use a racist hero as a start. #iaspr18
Q on dialogue with authors while doing the study. Amy: I'm also a romance writer. I don't know how it will go. I'm a bit nervous about it. Stringer doesn't have an academic background so unsure if she's prepared for the outcome. #iaspr18
Second presenter is @katydidinoz on “Women in Akubras: Paratexts, patriotism, and a professional blurb-writer”. #IASPR18
Australia rural romance began with Jillaroo by Rachael Treasure. These books are hugely popular and Australian rural romance has supported the industry for the last decade. #IASPR18
Aus RuRo are marketed for Australians and aren't necessarily portable overseas. Kate acknowledges Amy's findings that there is colonialist perspective that dominates the subgenre. #IASPR18
Kate looks at paratext elements, and for this presentation, specifically the covers. She flashes some ab covers. I see what you did there, Kate! 😂 #IASPR18
Modern covers have 2 goals: to persuade readers to buy the book, and to remind readers of reading the book. #IASPR18
It took 10 yrs to "train" readers to pay a sustainable price for ebooks. One way publishers have cut costs is to move from cover photoshoots to stock covers. The details (hair/eye colour) now less important than portraying how reader will FEEL when they read the book. #IASPR18
Vast majority of Aus RuRo covers portray solo women - these are women's stories. #IASPR18
Big W, Target, K-mart are biggest booksellers. Romance is usually Mills & Boon. By taking clinch off the cover & making the cover tell a story about women ("women in hats"), they can slide into women's fiction & find a place in prominent bookshelf position. #IASPR18
Aus RuRo is overwhelmingly white - white farmers and landowners staking claim on Australian landscapes. Cover models: white, young ("I woke up like this"), casual & outdoor-friendly clothes, determined chins, mild expressions ("best friend you can have a beer with"). #IASPR18
Although RuRo heroines are women in a man's world and might push against that, they're not angry. #IASPR18
Other cover elements: windmills, iconic landmarks (that look like Uluru because you're not supposed to use images of Uluru without permission from traditional owners - so they use pictures of big red rocks!). #IASPR18
Kate is going through cover styles in detail and I can tell she works with @HarlequinAUS because they're honestly the only local publisher I know of who pays attention to these things. #IASPR18
Kate points out faux gilding - not actual gold foil but pretend. "gold standard book" (Haha - I love this.) #IASPR18
If you're an indie author, you should mine Kate's brain for cover elements. She's going through typography, spacing, font size, colour, title wording, etc. #IASPR18
Popular words in RuRo titles and series names: outback, creek, place names. #IASPR18
Kate looks at changes to the cover of Jillaroo over the years. From pastoral roots, to women's fictionesque cover. #IASPR18
Aus RuRo covers convey the triumphant heroine. #IASPR18
Jodi asked about Aus RuRo suspense. How does that change the covers? Kate: It gets darker. Similar images but often set later in the day, woman in shadow. #IASPR18
Rachael Johns was the first author who started having men in her cover. (Partly an attempt to differentiate from the flood of women covers.) #IASPR18 << I'd love to know if they did as well as the women covers. @katydidinoz?
Final paper for this session is “Australia as Bachelor Nation: Falling in Love Locally on The Bachelor/ette Australia by @JodiMcA (Deakin University) #IASPR18
Jodi opens with a clip from "Getting to know Matty J" in the Georgia Love season. #IASPR18
Quick blog promo here. Jodi recapped Georgia Love's season on Book Thingo! You can start here: bookthingo.com.au/recap-the-bach… #IASPR18
Jodi is explaining the term "Bachie" and I still don't know how to pronounce it properly. #IASPR18
Matty J's arc with Georgia was unusual because the Bachie community become so invested in it. Usually, the fandom engages with Bachie with irony, but with Matty J they were sincerely invested in the romance (which is quite rare). #IASPR18
Okay, I just learned that Apollo is now the Tim Tam genie and this is actually fantastic. #IASPR18
Hsu-Ming Teo: The public rhetoric of romantic love has been characterised by awkwardness & self-deprecation, which is in contrast to the US. #IASPR18
Bachie US vs AU: Sex. In AU, there's no fantasy suite date. In s1, the Bachelor flatly refused to go into the fantasy suite because it was disrespectful. In AU, PDA more restrained. Kissing only on private dates, never in front of other contestants. #IASPR18
Bachie US vs AU: romantic declarations. In AU, "I love you" is generally uttered once. It's the climax. In US, it's said multiple times & almost always paired with a proposal in the climax. In AU we had 1 proposal but ended the worst. Blake remains a national villain. #IASPR18
Why did Matt J's romantic narrative resonate so well with audiences? #IASPR18
The relationship is characterised with intimacy - deep knowing of the other through deep communication and closeness, rather than passion and infatuation. #IASPR18
Q about UK Bachelor. Jodi: There has been, but it hasn't done well, probably because they didn't cast it very well. #IASPR18
Q on why Georgia didn't choose Matty. Jodi: A lot of post-show discourse was about why the show was edited the way it was. Ire not towards Georgia and Lee, but towards the people who constructed the narrative in this way. #IASPR18
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