Wednesday, March 12, 2008
One Ugly Sister, and Cinderella Goes to the Ball
Well, one ugly sister, and romantic fiction gets to attend the Oxford Literary Festival. I'll start with the ugly sister, and another reworking of the Cinderella fairytale. This one's written by Joanne Harris and is called "Ugly Sister (aka Grimm up North)." As the Ugly Sister says, "We - my sister and I- were born somewhere in Europe. Accounts differ. In any case, no-one cares much about our history. Or, for that matter, what happens to us when the curtain goes down. There's no ever-after for an Ugly Sister, let alone a happy. " But for those who do care, and who would like to know about her ever-after and whether she gets a happy, this is your opportunity to find out.
As for romantic fiction, she's getting a chance to take her place in the spotlight. "The Mills and Boon Centenary Debate: How Heroes and Heroines Have Altered in the last 100 Years" will be one of the many events taking place at the Oxford Literary Festival this year. Mills & Boon are sponsoring the debate as part of their centenary celebrations. On the panel are four authors of romantic fiction:
Nicola Cornick, who this year is celebrating 10 years and 25 novels with Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her Lord Greville's Captive was shortlisted for the RNA Romance Prize 2007.
Matt Dunn, who "is the author of two best-selling romantic comedy novels, Best Man and The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook. He's also written on life, love, and relationship issues for a variety of publications, including The Times, Guardian, Sun, Cosmopolitan, Company, and Woman" (RNA). His The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2007.
Katie Fforde, who "awards the Katie Fforde Bursary in March of every year to a member of the New Writer's Scheme whom she feels is very close to being published" (RNA). Trashionista describe her as "One of the UK's best writers of country tales." Kathleen Bolton at Writer Unboxed has described Fforde's novels as "effervescent and bubbly, and above all, fun. [...] Katie’s novels on the trials and tribulations of women trying to find love manage to straddle the line between whimsy and heartache."
Joanne Harris, who in addition to being the author of "Ugly Sister (aka Grimm up North)" is rather better known as the author of Chocolat. As mentioned on her website, "Her books are now published in over 40 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. In 2004, Joanne was one of the judges of the Whitbread prize [...] and in 2005 she was a judge of the Orange prize."
The debate will take place on Thursday 3rd April 2008 at 6.30pm and will last about an hour. Tickets are £7.50 and include a glass of wine, to be drunk after the end of the debate. More information here, and details on how to order tickets here.
The picture is an illustration taken from a nineteenth-century edition of the Cinderella story. The other illustrations in the same book can all be found at Wikimedia Commons.