Monday, March 22, 2010

Romantic Novelists Association Celebrates being 50

Nina Harrington reports on the excitement and glamour that is the RNA's award lunch.

Champagne! Chocolate Cake! London excitement and Glitz!
They all featured in my very first book for the Mills and Boon Romance Line – Always the Bridesmaid, AND were very much themes for the Pure Passion Awards Ceremony which I was thrilled to attend in London on Tuesday 16th March.

Imagine pink champagne on arrival, a delicious meal with chocolate cake and a splendid venue at a prestigious hotel in Kensington, London.

The RNA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2010 and the Awards Ceremony was a wonderful opportunity to share our passion for the genre and romance of all types in a splendid setting.

Always the Bridesmaid had been shortlisted for the Love Story of the Year Award by readers for the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK – which was especially exciting for my debut novel.

Also shortlisted for this award was Harlequin Modern author Natalie Rivers with Claimed for the Italian’s Revenge, Harlequin Historical author Louise Allen with The Notorious Mr Hurst, along with Nell Dixon, Jan Jones and Sophie King for single title books.

Thanks to Kate Hardy for this photo of Natalie Rivers and myself chatting in the hotel foyer about the promotion for the shortlisted books.

The scope of this list was amazing and I certainly did not envy the work of the three professional judges who chose Animal Instincts, by my good friend Nell Dixon as the Love Story of the Year.

Although I did not take home the award, I was thrilled for Nell who has a lovely warm comedic touch and a feel good approach to her work. Congratulations Nell, and her publisher, Little Black Dress.

It was wonderful to be able to congratulate Nell in person –Nell is on the right.

I had to commiserate by comparing my shoes with the delicious mules with pink rosettes worn by my lovely Romance line editor, Joanne Grant from Mills and Boon Richmond.

On the more professional side of the day, six Additional Awards were presented during the event:

*Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The Romantic Novelists’ Association honoured two of the world’s best-selling and much-loved authors, Maeve Binchy and Joanna Trollope, with Life Time Achievement Awards at the 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony. It was great to see Joanna Trollope in person at the event – Joanne is a wonderful supporter of Romance Fiction.

* The Romantic Novel of the Year

The RNA’s main award, the Romantic Novel of the Year, was won by Lucy Dillon’s Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, published by Hodder & Stoughton. The perfect story for our nation of dog lovers, the novel focuses on the romantic sequence of events that occurs when abandoned strays are matched with new owners, whose lives become interwoven.

In honour of the 50th Anniversary, several new awards were also introduced this year:

*The Romantic Film of the Year was selected by the public via The winner was An Education, by Lynn Barber, published by Penguin. The film was scripted by Nick Hornby.

*The Romantic Comedy Award was won by Jane Costello’s The Nearly-Weds, published by Simon & Schuster and

*The People’s Choice Award, a new award recognising key new or developing authors in the romantic genre, was also selected by the public via The winner was Missing You by Louise Douglas, published by Pan.

*In keeping with the RNA’s desire to help emerging authors, The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing, sponsored by Headline, recognises writing promise and is given every two years to the best first chapter and synopsis submitted by an author who has not yet had an adult novel published. Runner up for the 2010 award was Sunrise by John Barfield, and the winner was Fear No Evil by Debbie Johnson, whom the judges felt showed great comic potential.

All in all it was a wonderful occasion. Writing can be quite a solitary profession and to be able to chat among friends who know and understand the ups and downs of the writing life while celebrating the romance genre in all its scope, is a precious thing.

The mutual love of shoes goes without saying.

I had a great time.

You can find a lot more information about the Pure Passion Awards on the Romantic Novelists’ Association Website.

Nina Harrington writes sparkling romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance. You can find out more about Nina on her blog. Her latest Hired: Sassy Assistant was January 2010 top pick from the RT.

1 comment:

  1. It was a fab occassion and every one of the books on the shortlist was fabulous. It was great to meet up with friends and talk about all things booky. Nina does have amazing shoes - she also had a beautimous bag to match!