I’ve just come back from this year’s Festival of Romance, held in the centre of Bedford at various venues (all thankfully within walking distance of each other) and it’s been a great weekend – mostly because our own Liz Fenwick won the Reader Award for Best Romantic Read with her novel A Cornish Affair! It was extra exciting because I got to read out the result and present her with the award, which felt very special :-) So huge congratulations to Liz from all of us!
|Liz and Christina at the Romance Fair|
I should really start at the beginning though - here in the UK we are not spoilt for choice when it comes to romance festivals and/or conventions, like authors are in the US for example. Here, the FoR is it. Literally. So as an avid romance/romantic fiction fan, as well as an author, I was very keen to be there and support it – any event that celebrates romance sounds great to me! And it was huge fun – a varied programme of events, talks, workshops and, of course, the awards ball.
The festival kicked off on Friday night with an Art and Romance Evening at the newly opened Higgins Museum, where attendees were given a quick tour before the serious business of author readings began. There were some fascinating pieces of furniture – both Georgian/Regency and Arts & Crafts painted pieces – all of which I would have loved to own! The readings were by authors of historical novels and I was one of them. We’d come dressed in period costume and my outfit was that of an ordinary woman of the 1640s. Not very easy to wear while reading anything out loud, I have to say, as the bodice was kind of tight!
|Liz and the other shortlistees in her category|
Saturday was super busy, with a Romance Fair running all day where we set up stalls to sell our books and various other bits and pieces. Several talks and author panels, plus readings from authors, went on during the day, and some of us were also running workshops.
The finale was the awards ball though, where the winners and runners-up were cheered on by an enthusiastic audience. And this was when our Liz triumphed – woohoo!
I do hope the Festival of Romance can keep going as we need more romance/romantic fiction events in the UK and I’m already looking forward to next year’s!