Romantic Novelists' Association

New Inclusivity Initiatives

14 November 2018

RNA Vice Chair, Alison May, announces a range of inclusivity initiatives

New Inclusivity Initiatives

We are pleased to announce the launch of ten new bursaries aimed at supporting a diverse range of romantic fiction writing.  These bursaries are part of a wider drive to ensure that the RNA is inclusive of members regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, social background, nationality, income level and disability.

Seven New Writer Diversity and Inclusion Bursaries will fund one-year places on the RNA’s highly- regarded and successful New Writers’ Scheme, to encourage and support talented writers. Five bursaries will be available to any writer from a background currently underrepresented in publishing. Two bursaries will focus specifically on authors from a lower income or working class background.

The bursaries are being awarded thanks to sponsorship from MBA Literary Agency, the Kate Nash Literary Agency, and RNA members and authors Rachel Dove, Jean Fullerton, Milly Johnson, and one anonymous donor.

Milly Johnson said, ‘Lack of money should never stifle creativity, but sadly it can.  If a bursary can help to keep a writer in touch with the RNA and its magical support for the year, then let’s hope it works wonders!’

Jean Fullerton commented that, ‘There are thousands of diverse writers and love stories out and this is my small contribution towards discovering them.’

Rachel Dove added, ‘Being a working class writer myself, and having got my first publishing deal through entering a competition, I know how hard it can be to juggle writing aspirations alongside the need for paid regular work and the restraints of raising a family or caring for family members. I hope that my bursary will leave a legacy for my family to be proud of, and give an aspiring writer the chance to follow their dreams, and write the book within them.’

The final sponsor chose to remain anonymous but commented that, ‘The ability to write novels is a precious gift; one that takes no account of background, race or religion. I’m delighted to be able to fund NWS places to help two people make the most of that gift.’

Two further bursaries, funded by Carol Townend and Sue Moorcroft, will fund attendance at the RNA’s annual conference, giving the recipients an opportunity for networking, professional development and meeting with potential agents or editors.

The final bursary – sponsored by Rowan Coleman – is for an author of romantic fiction experiencing difficulties in the middle of their career. This bursary recognises that authors face challenges at all stages of their careers, and that building a career as an author can be as difficult as achieving initial publication. This bursary will fund one year’s membership of the RNA and a place at the annual conference.

All ten bursaries will open for applications immediately and details can be found here.


In addition to these bursaries the RNA is also announcing a new Industry Award to be presented from 2020 for a publishing or bookselling professional or business who has actively championed and promoted increased diversity and inclusivity in romantic fiction publishing.