Members' Awards

Each year the RNA recognises the work of its own members with awards for both published and unpublished writers.

The Katie Fforde Bursary

Award winning-author Katie Fforde joined the RNA as an unpublished writer—and now offers her support to new writers through the Katie Fforde Bursary. This award goes to the New Writers’ Scheme member who Katie feels has great potential. 

Katie says presenting this award each year is a great pleasure for her. A glance at the previous names on the trophy shows a high proportion of recipients have gone on to be published.

The Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award

The New Writers’ Scheme, which has been run by the RNA since 1962, aims to encourage fresh talent in the writing of broadly romantic novels that reflect all aspects of love and life, contemporary or historical.

Manuscripts submitted by unpublished writers are read by an experienced writer or editor who will provide valuable feedback to the writer. Any manuscript that is subsequently published as a debut novel is eligible for the award, provided that the author is still in the RNA. The award is judged by a panel of experienced RNA members.

The award is generously sponsored by Dr David Hessayon, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a great supporter of the New Writers’ Scheme.

If you think you may be eligible to be considered for the award, please check the eligibility rules below, then contact our New Writers’ Scheme Organiser.

1. An author can only be entered for the New Writers’ Scheme award once (even though they may have been in the scheme for years).
2. A book is eligible to be considered for the NWS Award if:
(a) it is the author’s first accepted-for-publication novel;
(b) the manuscript originally went through the NWS;
(c) the author has remained in the RNA since the manuscript went through the scheme.
3. The book may be entered during the year the contract is signed, or delayed until the year the book is published.
4. Self-published/vanity-published novels are not eligible.

The Elizabeth Goudge Trophy

The Elizabeth Goudge Trophy is an elegant silver bowl donated by the much-loved writer and distinguished former Vice President of the Association, Elizabeth Goudge. It was originally awarded to the Best Historical Novel of the Year, but since 2000 it has been associated with—and presented at—the RNA‘s Annual Conference.

The award is open to all RNA members attending the conference, published or unpublished. The theme of the competition is set by the chairman and varies from year to year.

The winner in 2000, Gwen Kirkwood, very kindly donated a plinth for the trophy, on which winners’ names are now engraved.


It's a fact

In 1991, founding RNA member Barbara Cartland was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.