Feature article

TILLY ARMSTRONG (1927-2010) RNA Vice President


Friday 17 September 2010 ~ Romance Matters Autumn 2010

Tilly Armstrong

Tilly Armstrong

It is always sad to lose one of our long-time members and in the case of Tilly Armstrong it is particularly so because she did a great deal to further the aims of the RNA. She served on the committee for a number of years, became Chairman from 1987 to 1989 and was later appointed a Vice-President. She also negotiated the first commercial sponsorship for the Novel of the Year award, from Boots.

Tilly was a born writer and used to tell made-up stories to her siblings at bedtime. She loved writing and was always trying to find enough time for this while pursuing an interesting career. She worked for a time with the World Health Organisation in Geneva, then in Canada for eighteen months and afterwards, back home, she became the Personal Secretary to the Chairman of British Steel, Lord Melchett.

Writing success did not come easily, with many early disappointments, but Tilly was very determined and kept on trying. In her own words ‘Tilly Armstrong made it in twenty years.’

Apart from short stories she had over twenty novels published. Some were written under her own name, some as Tania Langley and, as Kate Alexander, her novels set in World War II were especially popular.

Tilly was also an excellent speaker. At one of our meetings in 1986, when the booked speaker was ill, she stepped in at the last minute. She gave an inspirational talk about her own path to success in what was described as ‘one of the best talks we’ve ever had.’ 

Tilly was always encouraging to new writers.

In her private life she was President of Sutton Writers, she worked for Nonsuch and took a keen interest in floral art. Although she had retired from professional writing, she kept in touch with RNA activities, often attending the Award functions and other events. She will be greatly missed by her many RNA friends.

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It's a fact

In 2012, sales of romantic fiction in the UK reached £112m. In 2013, this rose to £120m