Conference 2011 - Something old, something new
Report published 23 September 2011
Jenny Haddon : Something old, something new - learning from 50 years of the RNA.
Jenny Haddon is one of those speakers who could make a talk on cleaning the drains sound riveting. Happily her subject for the conference was ‘Fabulous at Fifty’ the anniversary anthology she co-edited with Diane Pearson.
Having assured us that if we wanted gossip about the great ladies of romantic fiction we’d have to buy the book (£9.99 from the RNA Website!) she proposed instead to talk about sex. No-one in the audience raised any objection and we were treated (in every sense of the word) to an intriguing analysis of the place of the founders of the RNA in the famous invention of sex in the 1960s.
The women who began the RNA were pioneers, if less well known now. Independent, often single parents and breadwinners, they had survived the war and could write about the passion and the danger of love, with complete authenticity. In founding the Association they were looking for respect for their craft and reviews for their books.
Jenny placed them in the forefront of the sexual revolution in literature, writing novels that were edgy, spicy and in tune with their times, and suggested that anyone attempting to write fiction set in the 50s and 60s would do well to begin their research with them.
Written by Evonne Wareham