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2016 contenders for the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

Shortlist announced for national award recognising new writers

Monday 18 April 2016

Books shortlisted for the 2016 Joan Hessayon Award

The Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) has announced the shortlist for its prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. The Award will be presented on Thursday 19th May in London.

The shortlist is made up of authors whose debut novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme. Each year 250 places are offered to unpublished writers writing in the romance genre. As part of the scheme, they can submit a complete manuscript for critique by one of the Associations published authors as well as attend RNA events throughout the year which offer opportunities to meet and network with publishers and agents as well as other published authors.

This year’s contending novels include historical romance, contemporary romance and romantic comedy and explore subjects as diverse as WW2 gunner girls, life in a French chateau, missing paintings and fertility problems.

Eileen Ramsay, RNA Chairman, said of this year’s shortlist, "The New Writers’ Scheme is unique to our organisation and this year has resulted in debut novels from fourteen writers – a real testament to the success of the scheme. Congratulations to everyone on the list who has achieved that magical goal of getting a publishing deal!”

Immi Howson, who runs the New Writers Scheme commented, “The Scheme offers new writers fantastic opportunities to network with over 800 other members who have been there and done it, as a result they can offer inside knowledge, advice and a wealth of experience which is invaluable for anyone embarking on the difficult path to publication.”

The Award will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on Thursday 19th May at the Royal Over-Seas League, Park Place, London SW1A 1LR at 19.15.

The Joan Hessayon Award is generously sponsored by gardening expert Dr. David Hessayon OBE, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a great supporter of its New Writers' Scheme.

The full shortlist for 2016 is:

  • Her Forget-Me-Not Ex by Sophie Claire, Accent Press
  • Letting in Light by Emma Davies, Amazon Media
  • Take a Chance on Me by Debbie Flint, Choc Lit
  • A Street Café Named Desire by R J Gould, Accent Press
  • The Gunner Girl by Clare Harvey, Simon & Schuster UK
  • Waiting for You by Catherine Miller, Carina
  • It Started at Sunset Cottage by Bella Osborne, HarperImpulse
  • Remarkable Things by Deirdre Palmer, Crooked Cat Publishing
  • The Giants Look Down by Sonja Price, Robert Hale
  • Sense and French Ability by Ros Rendle, Endeavour Press
  • The Hidden Legacy by Julie Roberts, Accent Press
  • The Friendship Tree by Helen J Rolfe, Crooked Cat Publishing
  • French Kissing by Lynne Shelby, Accent Press
  • The Cherry Tree Café by Heidi Swain, Simon & Schuster UK

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It's a fact

More than 1 in 10 of romance books bought are from self-published authors.