Pink fizz and sparkle for debut RoNA ceremony
Monday 23 July 2012 ~ Romance Matters
The glamoruous setting proved the perfect place for the RoNA awards debut ceremony.
There was some trepidation as we gathered for the 2012 Awards Event. This was to be the first presentation of the new ‘RONAs’, the culmination of the RNA’s recent rebranding. How was it going to go?
We needn’t have worried. The event was more fabulous than ever. The Gladstone Room at 1 Whitehall Place is a wonderful venue, and as well as pink fizz and their delicious canapés, we were able to enjoy the chocolate desserts which Edwin Buckhalter had provided, with typical generosity, despite having to be elsewhere himself.
Tony Mulliken of Midas brought us to order with his usual good humour. Chairman Anne Ashurst reminded us how the shortlist for the RONA categories had been chosen, and expressed the deep sadness we all felt at the absence of dear Penny Jordan, last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Our compere Jane Wenham-Jones, incredibly glam in a silver sheath dress and RNA-toned hair, introduced our special guest, bestselling crime writer Peter James, who made a most amusing speech.
Then Jane read out the shortlisted entries for each category, and after a suitably dramatic pause, Peter revealed the winner. They began with the Harry Bowling Prize for the first chapter and synopsis of a book with an urban setting by a previously unpublished author, which is sponsored by Headline and administered by the MBA agency. Natalie Lloyd-Evans won £1000 for A Dark Flowering, and Aline P’Nina Tayar the runner-up prize of £100 for Island of Dreams. Next came the RONA Rose Award (formerly the Love Story of the Year), which was won by Sarah Mallory (Linda Hooper) for The Dangerous Lord Darrington (Mills & Boon).
This year’s Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Karin Stoecker, former Editorial Director of Harlequin Mills & Boon. As well as her tremendous contribution to romance publishing, Karin has been a much-valued supporter of the RNA, particularly in the publication of our Anthology: Loves Me, Loves Me Not.
There remained the five categories of RONA awards from whose winners the Romantic Novel of the Year will be selected. This year this will be presented at the Summer Party. Caroline Green won the Young Adult category with Dark Ride (Piccadilly Press). The Historical RONA was won by Christina Courtenay (Pia Fenton) for Highland Storms (Choc Lit). Jane Lovering’s Please Don’t Stop the Music (Choc Lit) was judged the best Romantic Comedy. In her short thank you speech, Jane encouraged everyone by revealing she had previously been an NWS member for 25 years! The Epic category RONA was won by Rosie Thomas for The Kashmir Shawl (Harper Collins). There was a strong shortlist for the Contemporary Romantic Novel, but the winner turned out to be our own president Katie Fforde for Summer of Love (Arrow). Katie was most disappointed, as she had hoped to get out of having to make a speech this year!
Anne closed proceedings by thanking everyone involved with organising the Awards, and the celebrations continued for the rest of the evening.