First Date, the inaugural Romance Festival

by Keira Brown
Communications Executive, Edinburgh
City of Literature Trust

31 May 2023

A series of romance and feel good fiction events on Sunday 25 June in the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

FIRST DATE is a collaboration between Lighthouse Bookshop - Edinburgh's radical bookshop, and the Scottish Storytelling Centre, bringing Edinburgh the first of a new romance festival, timed for the tail end of Independent Bookshop Week.

As great lovers of romance and feel good fiction, it was felt it was high time a platform was created for a beloved genre, and so we have FIRST DATE!

There will be a wide variety of romance books for sale as well as events discussing genre boundaries, subversive politics, queer joy, and feminist pleasure, all held and hosted by the Scottish Storytelling Centre!

FIRST DATE is Scotland’s first-ever romance fiction festival, headlined by Scotland’s own best-selling Jenny Colgan in time for the release of her latest novel, The Summer Skies. There are also panel events with feel good writers that include Tab Kimpton, K Patrick, Radhika Sanghani, Lex Croucher, Lola Keeley and Adiba Jaigirdar. It will be a festival not-to-be-missed!

‘Pleasure is the point. Feeling good is not frivolous, it is freedom’ - adrienne maree brown

This is Romance: Transcending Genre Boundaries

25 June: 12.30pm. Romance is expansive: and maybe it isn’t what you expect it to be. Our three authors showcase some of the breadth of romance as a genre, with literary fiction, graphic novel erotica, and a book about what you love about yourself. Our speakers K Patrick, Tab Kimpton and Radhika Sanghani discuss the genre boundaries of romance with chair Lynsey Rogers.
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Feeling Good is Freedom: The Radical Potential of Romance Writing

25 June: 3pm. Too often sidelined, we wanted to give romance its own spotlight and time on the stage, because as a genre it shows us that the personal is political. Our speakers Lex Croucher, Adiba Jaigirdar and Lola Keeley discuss the radical potential of romance writing with chair Anahit Behrooz.
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An Evening With Jenny Colgan

25 June: 5:30pm. We are delighted to get to host the launch of The Summer Skies, the new book by our festival patron Sunday Times bestseller Jenny Colgan.
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FIRST DATE - Sunday 25 June
11am: Marketplace opens! Browse stalls from various publishers, books on sale courtesy of Lighthouse Books.
12:30-1:45pm: This is Romance: Transcending Genre Boundaries. Panel discussion with authors K Patrick, Radhika Sanghani and Tab Kimpton, chaired by Lynsey Rogers.
3:00-4:15pm: Feeling Good is Freedom: The Radical Potential of Romance Writing. Panel discussion with authors Lex Croucher, Adiba Jaigirdar and Lola Keeley, chaired by Anahit Behrooz.
5:30-6:30pm: An Evening with Jenny Colgan: Launch of The Summer Skies.
7:30pm: Marketplace closes
Tickets are available through the links above!