Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Romance Prize 2009

Finally I can let the cat out of the bag and tell you that I've made the shortlist for the RNA's Romance Prize again this year!

Here's the full press release, including the shortlist:

The Romantic Novelists’ Association, who will announce the shortlist for the Romantic Novel of the Year award on 13th January, is also honouring writers of shorter romances such as those published by Harlequin Mills and Boon.

“Although both awards celebrate novels with a high romantic content,” explains Catherine Jones, Chairman of the RNA, “the Romance Prize honours the most memorable stories set around a single theme that concentrates on the developing love affair.”

The Romance Prize will be presented at the RNA’s Awards Lunch on 10th February 2009 at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington. The winner will be selected from the following books:

What's Love Got to Do With It? - Lucy Broadbent (Little Black Dress, Headline)
The Wild Card - Beth Elliott (Robert Hale)
Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure - India Grey (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Sold to the Highest Bidder - Kate Hardy (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Saying Yes to the Millionaire - Fiona Harper (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Promoted to Wife and Mother - Jessica Hart (Harlequin Mills & Boon)

Fiona Harper has been short-listed before, and both Jessica Hart and Kate Hardy are past winners. Kate Hardy, who won in 2008 with Breakfast at Giovanni’s, had this to say: "Winning the Romance Prize has been the highlight of my career to date, and it's certainly opened up opportunities. I'm very proud to have won the award and to be part of the RNA - and have been delighted by messages of support over the year. I even had a personal letter of congratulations from the chancellor of the University of Leicester!"

The shortlist will be judged by Margaret James, creative writing teacher for the London School of Journalism and regular columnist with Writing Magazine; Paul Reizin, writer, producer and journalist; and Linda Leatherbarrow, prize-winning short story writer, reviewer and MA lecturer at Middlesex.

Margaret James, a member of the RNA for 20 years with 13 published novels to her credit and a former organiser of the Romance Prize and the New Writers’ Scheme, says it’s a delight to be involved in the judging. “I'm finding the shortlisted novels are perfect reading treats for these cold winter evenings, and I know that choosing a winner is going to be very hard.”

Former journalist and TV producer Paul Reizin is the author of three comic novels and a memoir of his life in the lonely hearts, Date Expectations - the true story of how he met his wife. Reizin says: “Romantic fiction is generally thought to be a female preserve, so in helping judge the 2009 Romance Prize, it’s particularly nice to be asked to provide a male perspective.”

Linda Leatherbarrow’s story collection Essential Kit was published by Maia in 2004. She has won a Bridport Prize, an Asham Award and is a three time winner of the London Writers Competition. Her stories have been widely published and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Linda says: “I was delighted to be asked to judge this prize and look forward very much to meeting the short-listed authors.”

Now, do I read the ones on the shortlist I haven't read yet and continue to scare myself silly before the ceremony on 10th Feb, or do I bury my head in the sand and remain blissfully ignorant?

Anyway, congratulations to all the other authors on the shortlist and I look forward to saying hello to you all on the day!