Romantic Novelists' Association

About the RNA

The Romantic Novelists’ Association exists to raise the prestige of romantic fiction, and to encourage romantic authorship. We champion the quality and diversity of romantic fiction.

We are a professional body primarily for writers of romantic fiction. We also welcome publishing professionals, booksellers, book reviewers and writers in other media as associate members.

The RNA has around 1000 members, including writers spanning the spectrum of commercial and women’s fiction, and we host events across the UK. The association organises the UK’s leading awards for excellence in romantic fiction, and hosts a range of workshops, talks, networking events, and a three-day annual conference.

We’re passionate about creating an inclusive RNA that promotes and values diversity. Romantic fiction portrays all types of people. We’re on a journey to ensure the RNA does too. Be kind. Be you. We write better that way. Join us at the RNA. If you have any requests for how we might adjust our activities for you, please let us know.

About romantic fiction

Romance is everywhere in fiction. From stories that focus entirely on the developing relationship between two people, to fiction that shows a budding romance as one part of the hero or heroine’s journey, and into books that focus on long-standing relationships weathering storms – romantic fiction is a publishing powerhouse that reaches millions of readers every year.

Romantic fiction can offer escape from the harder moments in life, and hope for a brighter tomorrow. It can reflect our own relationships back to us, and challenge our preconceptions about what love looks like. It could be boy meets girl, girl meets girl, or boy meets alien – romantic fiction explores and celebrates love in all its messy, unexpected, improbable imperfection.

Romance is the highest-earning genre of fiction. It has a lot of talented writers and a lot of enthusiastic readers. The RNA supports authorship of romantic fiction and aims to raise the prestige of the genre, celebrating the joy and fulfilment that romantic fiction brings to readers in the UK and around the world.

Our history

The Romantic Novelists’ Association was founded in 1960 to both celebrate, and demand respect for, romantic fiction. Founder members included Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland, Elizabeth Goudge, Netta Muskett, Catherine Cookson and Rosamunde Pilcher. The first president of the association, Denise Robins, noted that although romantic fiction gave great pleasure to many readers, the writers almost felt they had to apologise for what they did. The RNA was going to put a stop to those apologies and, instead, celebrate and promote romantic authorship.

Since 1960 the RNA has awarded prizes to the best in romantic fiction, and has nurtured new writing through the New Writers’ Scheme.

In 1966, an early vice-president of the association, Elizabeth Goudge, commented that, ‘As this world becomes increasingly ugly, callous and materialistic it needs to be reminded that the old fairy stories are rooted in truth, that imagination is of value, that happy endings do, in fact, occur, and that the blue spring mist that makes an ugly street look beautiful is just as real a thing as the street itself.’

Today, the RNA continues to support and champion the authorship of romantic fiction that shows the value of imagination and the possibility of a happy ending, and also celebrates the broader spectrum of romantic fiction that explores the more challenging aspects of relationships and human experience.

You can find out more about the history of the RNA in our book, Fabulous at Fifty.