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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About Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.
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