Awards bring a happy end­ing for writ­ers of love

The Herald - - News - ME­LANIE REID

COL­LEC­TIVELY, they have sold so many mil­lions of books that no-one knows pre­cisely where to start count­ing. Yet some be­lieve they are the Jack­Vet­tri­anos of the pub­lish­ing world

Rosamunde Pilcher, Lady Mary Ste­wart and Lu­cilla An­drews were yes­ter­day hon­oured with life­time achieve­ment awards at a lunch at the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment at Holy­rood.

The awards for the three Scot­tish authors, all oc­to­ge­nar­i­ans, marks the start of a cam­paign by the Ro­man­tic Novelists As­so­ci­a­tion (RNA) to fight the den­i­gra­tion of so­called “women’s fic­tion”.

Ms Pilcher, whose nov­els the Shell Seek­ers, Septem­ber and Win­ter Sol­stice all went to No 1 on the NewYork Times best-seller list, told her au­di­ence of writ­ers and as­pir­ing writ­ers: “I have been in this busi­ness for 65 years. This aw­ful word ‘ro­man­tic’ has been hang­ing round our necks like a big weight.

“I think what goes through the books we write is kind­ness, it’s giv­ing love, it’s tol­er­ant love, it’s not vi­cious love.

“Our books can in fact ease life along – and it’s a pretty grue­some life we live in just now. If we can go on be­ing life en­hanc­ing and make peo­ple laugh and cry then I don’t thinkwe have any­thing to bother about.”

Lu­cil­laAn­drews, fa­mous for the dozens of best-sell­ing med­i­cal sto­ries she wrote from 1954 to 1996, was not able to at­tend as she was in hospi­tal after a fall.

Lady Mary, who dur­ing the same pe­riod wrote 20 hugely suc­cess­ful nov­els such as MadamWill you Talk?, Nine Coaches Wait­ing and This Rough Magic, was also un­able to travel from her home in Ar­gyll­shire.

The chair­man of the RNA , Jenny Had­don, said the three authors were an in­spi­ra­tion to many. They had con­trib­uted to the gai­ety of na­tions and the in­vis­i­ble ac­count of the bal­ance of pay­ments for­more than 50 years.

Mrs Had­don, an in­ter­na­tional banker­who her­self has writ­ten up to 40 nov­els for Mills and Boon, said: “Mary Ste­wart was on the NewYork Times best-seller list 14 times. Martin Amis eat your heart out.”

Katie Fforde, who has writ­ten 12 well-known nov­els, said: “We are the Jack Vet­tri­ano of the fic­tion world. Peo­ple buy our books in the mil­lions but the es­tab­lish­ment sneers at us.”

Herviews were echoed by Mag­gie Craig, a re­spected writer of his­tor­i­cal Scot­tish fic­tion, who said there was too much snob­bery about ro­man­tic fic­tion and authors were fed up of be­ing told they were in­fe­rior.

“It’s the Scot­tish cringe about love sto­ries. Crime sto­ries are nowre­spectable, but why is it OKto mur­der peo­ple but not en­joy sto­ries about peo­ple who fancy each other?”

Roger San­der­son, who has writ­ten 39 books for Mills and Boon un­der his wife’s name Gill, said: “We are bring­ing plea­sure to peo­ple and there are few higher aims.”

PILCHER: Eas­ing life along.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.