Romantic Fiction as a Genre

Please read and share this blog post widely. I cannot over-emphasise how important I think this is! Please Repost it in every Facebook and other Group you think is relevant.

The RNA has written an open letter to Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate regarding the omission of romantic fiction as a genre in the best books of 2021 roundup.

The RNA was founded in 1960 to celebrate & demand respect for this genre.…/rna-open…/#RespectRomFic

I am ridiculously proud to see just how many of those who are signatories to this important letter are writers who I hold in the highest regard as authors, professionals and friends.

AS a male author I am equally proud of being a Member of the RNA. An amazing organisation working towards the highest ideals of authorship and story-telling.

To my fellow-members, and to every aspiring author, may your pens never run dry!


Dear Andrew Holgate,

On behalf of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and all the 496 undersigned, we are writing this open letter in response to the Sunday Times books roundup of 2021 entitled, ‘The 33 best books of 2021 from every genre.’ At the time the roundup was published, two of our author members were in the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers chart, with Phillipa Ashley at number 9 and Milly Johnson holding the number 2 spot. To have romantic fiction occupying a fifth of the top ten is a huge achievement. It was, therefore, astonishing that in an article claiming to include every genre, romance was nowhere to be seen. To add insult to injury, your tweet questioned whether it was indeed a genre. We recognise that you have since withdrawn the tweet – but the damage has been done.

Romantic fiction plays a crucial role in financially underpinning the industry. We believe that it should be recognised for the great success it is, and for that, we would like your support. Speak to us! Find out more about our genre and include us in your future lists. How about a separate list to round off this year just for romantic fiction? The New York Times now has a regular romance column. We would like to suggest something similar so that our genre can be more visible and receive the respect it merits.

The RNA has almost a thousand members, including many bestselling and world-renowned authors who not only appear regularly on your bestseller list, but several of whom also have film and TV deals. Our membership is also made up of editors, literary agents and other publishing professionals. Every year we present prestigious awards for excellence in romantic fiction, as well as highly coveted awards for those in the industry that champion our genre.

Many of our members are upset and angry at the dismissal of the genre they love and are proud to write and read — a genre that is in fact a multi-billion dollar industry. Booksellers and librarians have dedicated Romantic Fiction sections, the publishing industry recognises the genre and so do millions of readers. How can you possibly justify your failure to acknowledge us?

The general snobbery towards these wonderful, intelligent, creative and supportive people is nothing new — but the complete erasure of our genre is a step too far. The perception of romantic fiction needs to change across the whole industry, and you are in a position to be able to influence that change. We have lots of ideas, and would welcome the chance to work with you. Are you up for the challenge?

To contact the RNA Committee please email:


(Letter signed by 496 romantic fiction authors.)

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