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


After working in Digital Marketing in London for two years I decided it was time for a change, so I moved to Edinburgh and began a Masters in English Literature. One world wind of a year later I was more in love with research than ever so applied for a PhD at the University of Birmingham.  


My thesis is primarily concerned with how the romance novel has been queered in the 21st Century, it therefore seeks to answer questions such as:

  • How have romance writers constructed queer identities and relationships?
  • How has the romance publishing industry influenced the development of queer romances?
  • How are queer relationships portrayed in this historically heteronormative genre?
  • Do queer romances correspond with wider societal developments for the LGBT+ community?

In doing so this project aims to expand the academic field of romance scholarship, which to date has prioritised the straight romance novel. This project therefore aims to address this gap in romance scholarship, a particularly timely endeavour given the growing prominence of queer romances within the genre. Whereas before queer romances where often relegated to self-published authors or niche publishing houses, they have now established themselves in the romance publishing mainstream with big name authors and publishers writing and promoting them.

Other activities

  • Freelance Writer for Heroes and Heartbreakers 2014 – 2017
  • Working for Inciting Sparks at the University of Edinburgh 2017 – 2018
  • Founder and Organiser of the ‘Romance Reading Group’ at the University of Birmingham (forthcoming)