Harlequin and Seton Hill Team Up to Support Diverse Voices in Fiction
Harlequin Enterprises recently partnered with Seton Hill University to establish the Harlequin Diverse Voices Annual Scholarship For Writing Popular Fiction. The scholarship targets Seton Hill University students who are: applying to the Writing Popular Fiction Master of Fine Arts Degree Program, specializing in the romance genre, and displaying exceptional writing talent and passion for pursuing a career in writing.
"Romance readers want to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and they also want to be swept away to new, better worlds,” says Seton Hill Professor Lee McClain, a USA Today Bestselling romance writer who publishes with Harlequin. “More and more, authors and publishing professionals are realizing that publishing diverse voices is the best way to make readers happy."
Harlequin’s 2019 Romance Includes You Mentorship was launched in 2019 to increase diversity and representation in the romance genre. This initiative works to give underrepresented romance writers a chance to live out their dreams of becoming a published romance novelist.
“I enrolled in a low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program with Seton Hill University, where I met some of the most amazing writers."
Seton Hill’s M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction alumna Dana Jackson (writing as Elle Jackson), was a finalist for Harlequin’s 2019 Romance Includes You Mentorship. Harlequin's historical line will publish her debut book, “Blue’s Moon,” in 2021. In a recent interview with Harlequin, Dana recalls Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. Program as one of the major stepping stones on her journey to becoming a published romance novelist.
“I enrolled in a low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program with Seton Hill University, where I met some of the most amazing writers and got to escape to a university in the Northeast for two weeks a year where I could just be a writer,” Dana says.
However, Dana Jackson is not the only Seton Hill alumni to experience a claim to fame with Harlequin. McClain states: "Seton Hill has long been a champion of romance as a genre, and many of our graduates have published with Harlequin: Susan Mallery in contemporary women's fiction, Dana Marton in romantic suspense, Laurie Alice Eakes in inspirational, and just recently, Dana Jackson in historical... that list only scratches the surface. I'm thrilled that Harlequin chose Seton Hill as a site for their new scholarship for diverse voices."
"Part of our mission as Setonians is a commitment to social justice,” stresses Nicole Peeler, also a published author and director of Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction program. “We're thrilled to partner with Harlequin on this scholarship committed to increase the reach of diverse voices within the romance genre."