Whisper it quietly and believe it if you can, but much-loved author Dornford Sittingbourne whose romantic novels have been enjoyed by generations and whose books have been turned into highly successful films is in danger of falling out of fashion and perhaps even out of view. So at least says a recent DorGov survey of Romantic Fiction readers aged between 18 and 36..
Shocked? You should be. Sittingbourne was once a staple of The Threadbone Press, the toast of Dorset high society, serial winner of the DHRA's coveted Queen of Romance Award and - such was the bounty of his royalties - briefly a tax-exile in Cornwall. No 20th-century romantic fiction writer achieved anything near the stature of Mr Sittingbourne whose statue stands proudly outside the Gentleman's Public Urinal in the Market Square, Higher Wraxall.
It was no less a figure than Mrs Amanda J Threadbone [who was the executive producer on several thrupiecefilm adaptations of his work - notably the D'Oscar-winning And Suddenly It's Christmas] who once famously claimed that "Mr Sittingbourne has taken me to places Mr Threadbone could only dream of reaching - and not only once, but several times in a single session". Known equally for his sartorial elegance and ready wit, "Dorn" as he was known to his intimates, was the very symbol of sexual ambiguity - a man both men and women could love [if they were lucky and caught him in the right mood, in the right place and at the right time].
So it comes as something of a shock to realise that there are now adult readers who have never encountered his work and who stare blankly at the mention of his name. This mighty has certainly fallen and it is time says Dusty Ware-Haus, back-catalogue manager of the Threadbone Press, to "put things right". And what better way to do so than to follow the hugely successful example of the VINTAGE THRUPIECE series by launching the VINTAGE SITTINGBOURNE series with covers by - yes you've guessed it - Pixie Layted of Graff-iK Designs, Munchen.
The new series - which launches in time for Christmas - will initially offer seven of the author's less well-known works, with more to be added in 2032. Rumour has it that the DFI [Dorset Film Institute] will "cash-in" on the hoped-for revival of interest in Mr Sittingbourne's work with a season of Sittingbourne-based and Sittingbourne-scripted films including the iconic And Suddenly It's Christmas. Now wouldn't that be a sight for sore eyes?
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