Jenny Colgan & Bee Asha Singh
Thursday 22nd September 7 - 8 pm BST
Main Hall, King's Pavilion, University of Aberdeen Campus
Why IS romantic fiction still marginalized within the ‘literary’ world in some ways? Join Jenny Colgan, best-selling author and Scottish Queen of Romantic Fiction, and Spoken Word artist Bee Asha Singh, who explores lived experience, sexuality, trauma and gender equality in a style between poetry and rap.
As a nation we are justifiably proud of Tartan Noir and our crime fiction exports but in 2022 the percentage of romance titles in the Sunday Times bestseller charts is at 26%. Jenny Colgan has three titles out this year: a new hardback, An Island Wedding, set on the fictional Scottish island of Mure, the paperback of The Christmas Bookshop which evokes the sights and smells of Edinburgh at Christmas and paperback of Sunrise By The Sea, a Cornish summer beach read. Why is so much fiction written and read by women branded ‘mere’ escapism? Why do so many of the ‘objections’ raised when the novel first emerged as a genre in the eighteenth century – that fiction created and consumed by women corrupts their morals, distorts their expectations and rots their brains – still seem to hang around? Does romance always need to endorse societal norms or can it reinvent itself yet again? Bee Asha Singh’s work exemplifies a way of talking with openness and style about a wide variety of lived experience with a power that resonates and includes. From promoting female confidence and egalitarian views with rap group Honey Farm to founding award-winning charity The Spit It Out Project and releasing her first album, this has been a busy year. Is it time to rethink writing by, for or about women? Both will share their work and their thoughts in a discussion co-chaired by Mae Diansangu and Helen Lynch.
Bee Asha Singh is a spoken word artist born and living in Edinburgh. Between Rap and Poetry her work is a cathartic outlet that she uses to explore themes of sexuality, trauma and gender equality, characterised by an openness to talk about her lived experiences. In 2019 Asha starred in the BBC Documentary, Spit it Out and in 2021 she co-founded award-winning charity, The Spit it Out Project, released her first album From Girl to Men, won the SAMA best newcomer award and was featured in YWCA 30 under 30s.
Jenny Colgan was born in Prestwick and went to Edinburgh University. After spending some time in France, she now divides her time between a (small!) castle in Aberdour, previously owned by Jack Vettriano, and a flat in the centre of Edinburgh. Her most recent novel, An Island Wedding, is set on the fictional Scottish island of Mure. She has twice won a Romantic Novelist Association Award – Romantic Novel of the Year in 2013 and Romantic Comedy of the Year in 2018 –and her books are bestsellers throughout the world. She has been translated into over 26 languages and has featured on the bestseller lists in the UK (Sunday Times), USA (New York Times and USA Today), Germany (Spiegel), Sweden and Norway. The Christmas Bookshop marked her first ever appearance on the New York Times bestseller list in November 2021.