Julia Quinn is set to appear at the 2021 Tucson Festival of Books.

Julia Quinn, the mastermind behind the popular "Bridgerton" series of books that inspired a Netflix series at the end of 2020, is making an appearance at this year’s Tucson Festival of Books.

This year’s festival is entirely virtual and runs from Saturday, March 6 to Sunday, March 7.

Quinn, a New York Times best-selling romance author, will be part of the hourlong "What’s Past Is Present" panel at 1 p.m. March 7. The panel is set to discuss "the elements of writing historical fiction with romance at its center," in addition to what the future holds for the historical romance genre.

Quinn will be joined by fellow best-selling author Beverly Jenkins, an award-winning Black historical romance author and advocate for multicultural romance.

"They’ve both sort of seen how historical romance has progressed and they both have an eye on the future," says Jessica Pryde, who is on the festival’s books and authors committee and recruits romance authors to the event. "I hope that there’s going to be lots of conversation — not just on historical romance, but on people who are going to be into romance in general because of 'Bridgerton,' so we’ll see what the conversation looks like. I hope it’s a lively discussion on all things."

Though the first "Bridgerton" book was published years ago, Netflix in December turned Quinn’s series into a TV drama adapted by Shonda Rhimes and Chris Van Dusen.

According to CNN, the show blew up in just a handful of weeks, becoming the most popular show in Netflix’s history.

"We knew it was going to be popular, but Netflix has done a few small-town romance series by people who have a whole bank of romances in Barnes & Noble and they did well, but they didn't do what 'Bridgerton' did," Pryde says, adding that "everyone watched 'Bridgerton'" — not just romance enthusiasts. 

"It was really exciting to watch because I'm not sure anyone expected it to happen," she says.

It's recommended to pre-register for the festival, Pryde says. A registration link will be available on the festival's website later this month.

If you go

What: Tucson Festival of Books

When: Saturday, March 6 to Sunday, March 7

More information: tucsonfestivalofbooks.org


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Contact reporter Gloria Knott at gknott@tucson.com or 573-4235. On Twitter: @gloriaeknott