Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006 at 11:07 am
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Good Weekend for Romance in Edinburgh

Often considered by those who know no better to be the “Cinderella” of writing, namely Romantic Fiction, the genre enjoyed a boost in its standing at events in Edinburgh over the weekend.
Some 30 best-selling authors and around the same number of aspiring writers met at the Scottish Parliament for a celebration lunch, hosted by Robin Harper, Leader of the Green Party. It was held by The Romantic Novelists’ Association, which is a nationwide organisation with over 700 members. At the lunch three ‘veteran’ novelists were honoured with life-time awards. They were Lady Mary Stewart, Rosamunde Pilcher and Lucilla Andrews, all octogenarians living in Scotland.
Rosamunde Pilcher, speaking at the lunch, said, “There is nothing vicious about romantic fiction. Its role is to reach out and entertain and to celebrate love as the most enduring and fulfilling emotion in the world.”
Chairman of the Association Jenny Haddon is another best-seller who is also a highly regarded economist with a background of working in The Bank of England. Katie Fforde, whose books sell extremely well, was generous with advice and encouragement as, indeed, were all the authors and editors present at this delightful gathering.
On Sunday evening, Eileen Ramsay, another prize-winning author and Hon Secretary of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, spoke eloquently at the Book Festival on the topic, “The Genre that dare not speak its name”. She went on to lead a lively debate on the definition of Romantic Fiction, citing some unusual examples of romantic work by authors Robert Louis Stevenson, Tolstoy and John Buchan as well as classic examples from Jane Austen and Margaret Meade’s Gone With the Wind. She read excerpts from these writers and invited the packed audience to identify them, which they did, with varying degrees of success!
In this fast-moving and often harsh modern world the popularity of romantic fiction continues unabated and explores the whole range of human relationships from the most conventional to the most challenging. It is read by millions, adds millions to Britain’s invisible earnings and gives pleasure and solace to its aficionados. Truly “Love Conquers all”.

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