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A Valentine’s Day to remember: author Katie Fforde handed top gong for romance

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Stroud-based author Katie Fforde is the recipient of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her exceptional contribution to romantic fiction. 

Katie will be presented with her trophy at the RNA’s Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City next month. 

Jean Fullerton, RNA Chair, said: “The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest accolade our organisation bestows and this year we are honoured to present it to bestselling author Katie Fforde. As President of the RNA, Katie is a wonderful ambassador for the organisation and has championed the romantic fiction genre for decades. Katie is loved and respected across the industry and by her readers around the world.”

Katie said: “I am thrilled and delighted to receive this award. The RNA has been part of my life for nearly 40 years and so this is extra special.”

Katie’s new book One Enchanted Evening, publishing in hardback on March 2nd is her 30th novel – she’s sold over 4.5 million books in the UK alone.

Nicknamed ‘The Godmother of Romantic Fiction’, Katie has always been a fantastic advocate and supporter of other aspiring and debut writers at the start of their careers. She has been the Romantic Novelist Association’s President since 2011 and founded the Katie Fforde Bursary to financially support aspiring romantic fiction authors too – over 20 recipients to date have received the bursary, with almost all of those now having achieved their dreams of becoming published.

Katie has been President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association since 2011 and founded the Katie Fforde Bursary to support aspiring authors. To many, she is the ‘Godmother of Romantic Fiction’.

It wasn’t until her children were a little older that Katie first started writing, after her mother gave her a writing kit for Christmas and insisted that she could make time if she really wanted to. Once she started she just couldn’t stop, and spent years trying to write her very own Mills & Boon. All in all, she wrote eight novels, either entirely or partially, before she finally accepted defeat and thought it just wasn’t going to happen.

It was only then, thanks to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, that Katie was introduced to a literary agent, who convinced her she could write something a bit bigger . . . and writing contemporary romantic fiction proved to be her true calling!

Katie’s debut novel Living Dangerously was snapped up by a publisher before she’d even finished writing it, and was published in 1995 – at the age of 42, 10 years after she first started trying, Katie was finally a published author. The story was inspired by much of Katie’s own life: her town, her job, her wardrobe, and even her elderly cat.

Since then, she’s written a further 29 novels, a collection of short stories and a Quick Read for The Reading Agency’s 2021 campaign. Her books have continued to top the bestseller charts throughout her almost 30-year career.

As someone who understands the struggles of years of rejection as a writer, Katie has always been a fantastic advocate and supporter of other aspiring and debut writers at the start of their careers. She credits the Romantic Novelists’ Association for helping her to finally launch her career and has been a member ever since. She was elected Chairman in 2009 and served until 2011, when she became the RNA’s fourth president – a position she has now held for over 10 years, helping countless romantic novelists achieve their writing dreams in the process. She has continually been generous with her time and advice, giving many writers the boost they needed to keep going.

The Katie Fforde Bursary supports aspiring romantic fiction authors. An annual RNA membership subscription is awarded, along with a place at the conference where there are opportunities to meet agents and other writers. Of the over 20 recipients of the bursary so far, almost all of them have gone on to subsequently secure publishing deals. Katie also sponsors the RNA’s Debut Romantic Novel Award. Locally, she works with and supports The Stroud Book Festival, and is the founder and sponsor of The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing.

Katie will be presented with her trophy at the RNA’s Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ, on Monday 6th March 2023 at 6.30pm.

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