Harlequin Closing Five Lines, including Kimani Romance

Although Harlequin has yet to make an official announcement, word has broken that they are no longer acquiring titles for five of their series: Harlequin Western, Harlequin Superromance, Love Inspired Historical, Harlequin Nocturne, and Kimani Romance. The last books for these lines will be released next year.

Author Courtney Milan broke the news on Twitter.

Milan also shared a letter from one of her sources for the news, which outlines Harlequin’s decision process in closing these five lines and welcomes authors to consider submitting to other lines. They cite the ‘ever-changing retail environment,’ and ‘changes in the retail landscape and readership preferences’ as their main motivations for closing.

Although it’s not unusual for various divisions or lines at houses to change, merge, and, yes, close, this news is a huge blow to the romance community for a very big reason: Harlequin is closing Kimani Romance.

Why is this a big deal? The vast majority of Harlequin titles penned by black women are published as Kimani titles. The Kimani Romance line is described as stories featuring ‘sophisticated, soulful and sensual African-American and multicultural heroes and heroines who develop fulfilling relationships as they lead lives full of drama, glamour and passion.’ These titles cover a number of subgenres, so hopefully Harlequin will make a concerted effort to integrate existing series and current authors into other lines.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for official word from Harlequin and will certainly be watching how the Kimani authors are treated. This could be a huge setback for diversity in romance.

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