Nora Roberts Foundation gives McDaniel $100,000 for research, course development

June 01, 2011

The Nora Roberts Foundation has awarded McDaniel College a $100,000 grant to help advance research and study of romance literature, establish an academic minor in the genre fiction and launch an online creative writing course in romance fiction.

“This gift will allow the college to reinforce Ms. Roberts’ reputation in the academic and literary arenas as a master of and dedicated advocate for the romance genre,” said Roger N. Casey, president of the college. “It will also raise the profile of the romance novel among scholars and the academic community.”

The college also plans to use the funds toward building a core American romance collection at Hoover Library, including the complete works of Roberts, and to establish an endowed fund to support the collection. The collection’s titles will be available online.

“This collection will constitute a partial canon of American romance, from its Colonial beginnings to its explosive growth in the 20th century and beyond,” Casey added. “The collection will establish McDaniel College as one of the few centers for the study of the romance genre.”

McDaniel English professor Pam Regis, a nationally recognized expert on romance novels and author of “A Natural History of the Romance Novel,” said “it has always been an honor and a privilege to further the study of romance, and the generous gift from the Roberts Foundation adds considerable resources to this effort.”

Author Nora Roberts with McDaniel English Professor Pam Regis.

Roberts is the best-selling author of more than 200 romance novels. Her first, “Irish Thoroughbred,” was published in 1981. More than 280 million copies of her books are in print, including 12 million copies sold in 2005 alone. McDaniel College awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 2006.

An international conference, “Popular Romance in the New Millennium,” will be held on campus November 10-11 with keynote speaker, Dr. Mary Bly, Shakespearean scholar at Fordham University, and, as Eloisa James, best-selling author of historical romance novels.

“The conference will gather presenters who can put the romance in fresh perspective,” said Regis.

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