Lucy Hargrave

Lucy Hargrave

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Queering the romance: an exploration of queerness in romance novels of the twenty-first century
Supervisors: Dr Amy Burge and Dr Deborah Longworth
PhD English Literature


  • BA (Hons) English Literature with History of Art – First Class – The University of Hull 2011 – 2014
  • MSc Literature and Modernity: 1900 to the Present – Merit – The University of Edinburgh 2017 – 2018


My thesis is primarily an exploration of how this traditionally heterosexual genre has been queered. I will address this by asking the following questions:

1.      How is queerness explored and portrayed in these novels?

2.      How has the production of queer romances influenced the genre’s development?

3.      How are queer romance readers and writers engaging with their LGBT+ communities?

It will draw upon literary critical and social science methodologies to analyse how queer romances rework heteronormative structures and expands on established critical popular romance scholarship. Following Janice Radway, whose 1984 Reading the Romance remains the only key scholarly text to focus on readership, my project consists of surveys, focus groups and individual interviews with not only readers, but also authors and publishers, thereby expanding Radway’s approach. A complementary structuralist approach, drawing on the widely used framework Regis outlined in The Natural History of the Romance Novel (2003), will be used to analyse how the structures of queer romances compare to heterosexual romance structures.


Other activities

  • Writer for Heroes and Heartbreakers, an online website for romance readers hosted by Macmillan Publishing 2014 – 2017
  • Writer for Inciting Sparks an online interdisciplinary Journal at the University of Edinburgh 2017 – 2018
  • Founder of the Romance Reading Group at the University of Birmingham 2019 – Present (
  • Founder and Events Manager of the Midlands Network of Popular Culture 2020 – Present (
  • On the Review Panel for Ad Alta: The Birmingham Journal of Literature Volume XI, 2019 ‘Communities’
  • I am working towards publication in the Journal of Popular Romance Studies