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Since the turn of the calendar, I have been reading at a faster rate than I ever have in the past. Whether I’m on my lunch break, riding a subway, or (ahem) standing in line at a film festival, I’ve spend endless hours consuming words in 2015. One side-effect of this has been a hyper-awareness of what I see other people reading, and like many, I sometimes silently scoff when I see a woman reading a romance novel.

However, after seeing LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS, I do believe my scoffing days are over.

Laurie Kahn’s documentary takes a long look at the world of romantic fiction. The film introduces us to rock stars within the genre – Beverly Jenkins, Nora Roberts, and Eloisa James to name but a few. Beyond just who’s writing, the film gets into the lives and ideas of those reading these books. Where things get really twisty is the way the film underlines how those reading eventually become those writing!

There’s a lot of muscle and might on-display in LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS. Seeing these women follow their calling in this way is nothing short of inspiring – especially in a vocation that is usually filled with such insecurity. What’s more, we better understand the world of romantic fiction as a “safe place”. This is not a place to be judged, or to have your wants and desires dismissed. In an age when so many perceptions and interactions seem designed to remind you of where you’re weird, and how you’re wrong, this is an entire community built on building people up, and delivering inspiration.

LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS doesn’t go so far as to suggest that anybody can write. It does, however, underline the inclusiveness, encouragement, and promise that the entire industry of romantic fiction has turned into. While some of the women we meet knew they wanted to write long ago, so many more came to it later. They came to it to make ends-meet…to express themselves creatively…or just to see if they could. It’s an industry that is built on illuminating desires, so if a person’s desire is to create, why not try to illuminate that too?

Every woman in this film remembers where they started out, and every one of them wants to pay that forward. Say what you will about the subject matter or the weight it carries in the literary landscape – few other areas of the writing world are built on that much community. As a writer, calling them inspiring is putting it lightly.

So back to my scoffing, there’s no way I can carry such a judgemental attitude any longer. To see people spend so much time and energy dedicated to words, and to see the desire to create that it inspires is nothing to scoff at. Romantic fiction might just be a way to buy and sell hopes, but since when is creating hope a bad thing?


LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS plays at Hot Docs 2015 once more at The FOX on Friday May 1st – 9:30pm (official website)