a woman with short hair smiles at the camera. Behind her are book-filled shelves.
Kate Cuthbert. Image supplied

Kate Cuthbert is presenting the pre-conference workshop on Editing Commercial Popular Fiction.

Currently the Program Manager at Writers Victoria, Kate was previously the Managing Editor of Escape Publishing, the genre romance imprint of Harlequin Australia that she originated in 2012. Books on her list have won the Romantic Book of the Year award twice, the Koru for Romantic Book of the Year three times, and have been shortlisted for the prestigious RITA award.

Before joining Harlequin, Kate worked in corporate and academic editing, children’s and novelty editing, and non-fiction and lifestyle editing. She has written reviews and feature articles for Books+Publishing, the New York Journal of Books, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, and All About Romance, and regularly appears at conferences and festivals around Australia.

Kate is a regular workshop presenter: she has delivered full and half-day workshops on writing and editing topics for Writers Victoria, Writers NSW, Queensland Writers Centre, Writers SA, the Romance Writers of Australia, CONtact and IPEd.

What will participants gain from attending your workshop?

A deep appreciation for the craft found within the pages of genre fiction, and an understanding of the unique style and techniques necessary for engaging editorially with the texts.

What are the pressing issues relating to your workshop topic?

Inclusivity, diversity, and the #MeToo movement have all had a profound effect on the way that genre fiction is read, and will be a necessary consideration for any editor working in the space.

What part of your course are you most excited about sharing with participants.

The inherent joy and pleasure that underscores the genre fiction reading experience.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

Besides the obvious (reading!), I like listening to true crime podcasts, spending time with my family, and participating in my synchronised swimming squad.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m just about to delve into Say Hello by Carly Findlay.

I just finished 99 Percent Minethe latest romance novel from Canberra-based author Sally Thorne. Her first novel, The Hating Gamewas a worldwide sensation.

Popular commercial fiction is often dismissed as ‘light’ and ‘fluffy’, and no genre is more denigrated than romance. But the readers, writers, editors, publishers and reviewers that make up the romance community value the only genre that consistently centres women, with stories of women thriving – personally, professionally and within their community. The clip below features three established romance community members speaking about the progression within romance novels and what makes them so popular.