CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – Wednesday, March 24 at noon!

Join us on Wednesday, March 24th at noon EST for a creative writing chat with bestselling and award-winning historical romance author Caroline Linden as she shares her wisdom about creating heroes and heroines who leap off the page. Pre-registration is required: All are welcome!


Save the Date: March 22

On March 22 at 7pm EST, in a special evening event UNSUITABLE will welcome bestselling author Tracy Deonn for “Re-mixing a Legend: Young Adult Fantasy Fiction, Arthurian Legend, and Southern Black Girl Magic.”  In 2020, Deonn’s novel Legendborn was an instant bestseller.  A North Carolina native and UNC graduate, Deonn set this brilliant and utterly unique story on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.  On March 22, she will talk about researching and writing Legendborn, and what it means to re-imagine a medieval legend to speak so powerfully to our present moment.

This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required:

It Starts Now!

Welcome! UNSUITABLE’s seventh year of conversations about women, history and popular fiction begins on Friday, February 19th, with author Robin Covington. Register now for…


A Conversation with Robin Covington

Join us via Zoom on Friday, February 19, at noon EST for a conversation with bestselling author Robin Covington about writing fiction that celebrates how, even after the roughest night, dawn promises new beginnings.

A USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller and biracial Native American author of color, Robin Covington proudly writes diverse romance. Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, HOLT Medallion, and the Book Seller’s Best.

Free and open to the public.  ***Pre-registration required.***

Zoom registration link:

Support comes from the Carolyn C. and William M. McClatchey endowment to Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University.

Save the dates:

March 12th Writing Closed-Door Romance with award-winning author Piper Huguley

March 22nd Re-mixing a Legend: Young Adult Fantasy Fiction, Arthurian Legend, and Southern Black Girl Magic with bestselling author Tracy Deonn

March 24th Made for Each Other? Developing Romance Protagonists with bestselling author Caroline Linden

March 31st What Makes a Great Romance Novel? with editor John R. Jacobson

April 14th Diversity in Romance Publishing: An Insider’s Perspective with literary agent and editor Latoya Smith

Find Zoom registration links to each of the 2021 season’s events on the Public Events page.

Schedule for Spring 2021

Join us this semester on Zoom as we celebrate diversity in romance fiction with special guests:

February 19, “Resistance Romance” with Robin Covington, USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.

March 12, “Writing Closed-Door Romance” with Piper Huguley, award-winning author of historical fiction featuring African American characters.

March 24, “Made For Each Other?: Developing Romance Protagonists” with Caroline Linden, award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance.

March 31, “What Makes a Great Romance Novel?” with John R. Jacobson, freelance editor for Carina Press.

April 14, “Diversity in Romance Publishing: An Insider’s Perspective” with Latoya Smith, award-winning editor and literary agent of LCS Literary Services.

All events are open to the public by pre-registration only. Contact

Schedule Update for UNSUITABLE Events this Spring

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we have had to cancel or make private the remaining events in the Spring 2020 UNSUITABLE series. Please join us in person in Spring 2021 for the continuation of our public speakers series. Until then, we hope you stay safe and well.

Cancelled: Pride and Prejudice Redux on March 16

Please note that the UNSUITABLE event “Pride and Prejudice Redux” featuring Uzma Jalaluddin and Eileen Chow, originally scheduled for March 16, has been cancelled due to Duke University’s extended spring break.

The April 1 and April 13 events have not yet been cancelled or changed. Please consult the schedule closer to those dates.

We look forward to hopefully  seeing you soon!

Spring 2020 UNSUITABLE Event Schedule

The 2020 UNSUITABLE Series speakers have been announced!  Join us this spring for exciting, informative and fun conversations with:


February 5th – Kimberly Whalen, president of The Whalen Agency

March 16 – Uzma Jalaluddin, author of Ayesha at Last

April 1 – Deborah Fletcher Mello, author of Reunited by the Badge

April 13 – Heather Demetrios, author of Little Universes


All events are 12-1pm and take place in the MicroWorlds Lab in 101 Classroom Building on Duke’s East Campus in Durham, NC.  Seating is limited.


Spring 2019 Events Sneak Peek

Here at UNSUITABLE we’re busy planning an exciting Spring 2019 season of visitors.  Mark your calendars and save the dates for award-winning author of gorgeous contemporary romances Sonali Dev on February 15th, and bestselling author of brilliantly original historical romances Theresa Romain on March 22nd.  Look for more special guest announcements to come soon, and please note our change of venue: events will take place at this year’s UNSUITABLE sponsor, the MicroWorlds Lab, on Duke’s East Campus (easier parking!).

See you in the Spring!

TODAY: Queer Romance Goes Mainstream

On March 23, UNSUITABLE welcomes author Damon Suede for a conversation about the rich and sometimes controversial history of gay romance, and the state of this popular sub-genre today. Join us at noon in 011 Old Chem on the campus of Duke University.

Cinderella Revisited (Or, Why I Teach the History of the Romance Novel to University Students)

In early 2016, as part of an effort to encourage more university Women’s Studies programs to include courses about popular fiction in their offerings, one of the largest US publishing companies, HarperCollins Publishers, created a blog called Gender & Genre (full disclosure: this is currently my publisher), and invited its academically inclined authors of women’s fiction to contribute to it. My piece came directly from my experience teaching romance fiction and the genre romance industry to undergraduate students at Duke University. As part of our ongoing conversation about women and popular fiction, I’m sharing it here.

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