Romancing The Gothic Conference 2021

My Poor Devil: Georgette Heyer’s

The Black Moth at 100

20th November 2021

In November, Romancing the Gothic is organising its first conference. The conference will be online and open to all. Details for signing up will be released when the final details of the timetable are available. Currently we still have an open call for papers. We welcome 20 minute papers, panels of 2 papers, roundtables and 10 minute lightning talks

Keynote Talk

Our keynote will be delivered by Jennifer Kloester, Heyer expert and author of Biography of a Bestseller.

Roundtable – Queering Heyer

For our roundtable, we are joined by five amazing authors – Zen Cho, Rose Lerner, Cat Sebastian, K J Charles, Olivia Waite. The panel will look at the ways in which Heyer has influenced the Regency Romance and the ways in which these authors expand Heyer’s Regency world. Each writer writes within a Regency setting including communities largely absent or vilified in Heyer’s work, including queer communities, people of colour, the working class and Jewish people.

How to Throw a Party in Regency London | Shannon Selin

Other Activities

It wouldn’t be a Heyer conference without other activities and sessions to look forward to. Keep your eyes peeled as we update the events here. Part of the day will be a Heyer quiz with a range of legitimately exciting prizes… brush up on that knowledge! More information will be available as we communicate with partners!


1921 saw the publication of a 19-year-old Georgette Heyer’s first novel The Black Moth. This tale of romantic highwayman, demonic rakes, abduction, ravishing beauties, betrayal and deceit set in the 18th century began a career which spanned over 50 years. Heyer published over 50 novels in a number of genres, including mystery, crime and historical, but is most famous for her romances and particularly her Regency Romances. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Queen of Regency Romance’, her influence in both creating and popularising the Regency Romance is undisputed, her works continue to be published and widely consumed to this day and she is a named influence on many writers. Known for her humour, complicated plots, delightful characters, attention to linguistic detail and historical research, there is much to both celebrate and explore in her work. Her legacy is not, of course, without its problems – the world she created has its limitations, its prejudices and its biases. This one-day online conference on 20th November 2021, will seek to explore Heyer’s work and her legacy with a spirit both of celebration and of critical enquiry.

We are looking for papers to be included on 3-person panels throughout the day. We accept panel submissions or individual papers.

We strongly encourage work which engages in interdisciplinary study. The aim of the conference is to explore aspects of Heyer’s work encapsulated in or hinted at by her first novel The Black Moth.

There are two types of paper that we are looking for.

  1. There will be regular panels of 3 x 20-minute papers.
  2. There will also be a session of ‘Lightning talks’ lasting ten minutes. Lightning talks allow for a shorter exploration of a limited aspect of the novels, a more personal enquiry or the presentation of an experimental idea!

We particularly welcome contributions which explore the following topics (but all papers on any aspect of Heyer, her legacy or discussions of the historical period (18th and early 19th century) as represented in fiction will be considered):

Readings of The Black Moth

Depictions of the rake in Heyer, in the 18th/19th century, in the romance

Explorations of masculinity in Heyer, in the 18th/19th century

Depictions of marriage

The figure of the highwayman

Intertextuality in Heyer

Rewriting in Heyer (with particular emphasis on the Black Moth/These Old Shades/Devil’s Cub ‘trilogy’)

Language in Heyer

Sexual Ethics in Heyer

Heyer and Comedy

Villainy in Heyer

Gambling in Heyer

Heyer and the depiction or understanding of Ireland

Influences on Heyer

The Gothic legacy in Heyer

Character archetypes in Heyer

Publishing Heyer

Heyer’s influence on other writers

The politics of Heyer’s novels

The development of the historical romance

Interdisciplinary papers on contemporary history, fashion, crime, literature, politics, gaming…


Please send a short biography (approx. 50 words) and an abstract (up to 250 words) to Dr Sam Hirst at Sam@romancingthegothic.com by 31st May 2021

There will be a small honorarium for all those taking part. Details of how to sign up for the conference will be released in June.

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