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Katie Deane

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Engagement and diversity in twenty-first century popular fiction publishing: An interdisciplinary study of Mills & Boon

My dissertation explores the digital circulation of romance genre texts following long-21st century shifts in systems of publishing and media exchange. Situated within the genre’s history in the English language and drawing upon textual, archival, and qualitative research, I read four axes of encounter – subscription, series, metadata, and community – to draw a topography of contemporary navigational and interpretive circuits in digital reading.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


“‘Like harvest moon, except I ate a guy:’ Graveyard Keeper’s Dark Ecology”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 22, no. 1, June 2021, pp. 146-64, doi:10.5283/copas.347.


Upcoming. “From Mass Market to Niche Market: Cultivating Reader Publics in Self-Published Popular Romance.” Digitality and the Public Sphere: Literature, Mediality, Practice, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, 30 September 30 – 2 October 2024, Erlangen, DE.

Upcoming. “Self-publishing and legal deposit: lessons from the world of indie romance.” Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing annual meeting, University of Reading, 1 – 5 July 2024, Reading, UK.

“‘Turn Back Now’: Re-reading Non-consent in the Genre Romance”. The Forgotten Forms of Contemporary Fiction seminar, American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting, 14 – 17 March 2024, Montreal, CA.

“Keynote panel: The Birmingham Romance Research Group.” International Association for the Study of Popular Romance 2023 Conference, University of Birmingham, 29 June 2023, Birmingham, UK. 

“Autographic transfocalization in the romance: the case of Midnight Sun.” International Association for the Study of Popular Romance 2023 Conference, University of Birmingham, 28 June 2023, Birmingham, UK.

Public Engagement & Impact

"Romance Self-Publishing and UK Legal Deposit." The British Library, May 2024, https://bl.iro.bl.uk/collections/1844b22c-5ca6-45c6-ae36-b1cc51b4fdcf.

British Library PhD Placement Scheme, Sept 2023 – Feb 2024. Project: “Self-publishing and legal deposit”. Supervised by Ian Cooke within Contemporary British Collections.

Workshop: “Researching Romance.” Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference, 12 August 2023, Imperial College, London.

Other Research Interests

  • Fan and audience studies
  • Literary paratexts
  • Genre fiction
  • Popular seriality
  • (Trans)media industries
  • Screen cultures
  • Platform studies


MA Freie Universität Berlin, North American Studies, 2022

BA Wesleyan University, Studio Art and German Studies, 2014