Romance Pioneer Vivian Stephens Gets Her Due

August 24, 2020 | 2

At Texas Monthly, Mimi Swartz profiles Vivian Stephens, a former editor of romance novels at Dell, a division of Doubleday, who was instrumental in founding the Romance Writers of America before she was pushed out. “Stephens was one of the first to recognize that American women had moved beyond bodice rippers and were ready for something new,” Swartz writes. “In retrospect, the Koppel interview captures Stephens’s personality in microcosm, revealing how she rose through the ranks of romance publishing. She was fearless in the face of challenges—whether it was ridicule or racism—qualities that would serve her well in the world of white male publishing. Others might have been defeated by rejection; Stephens was both accustomed to it and undaunted by it.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).


  1. I am trying to contact Ms. Vivian Stephens to get names of some of her black romance books. My name is Gloria J, Hart

  2. Please let Vivian Stephens know I am very glad she is being celebrated. Well deserved. And I need to be in touch with her if possible.
    Thank you.

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