Public vote for PASSION in the RNA’s 50th anniversary year

Thursday 11 February 2010

Left to right: Miranda Dickinson, Santa Montefiori, Jean Fullerton, RNA Chair Katie Fforde, Rachel Hore, Lucy Dillon, Louise Bagshawe.

The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) is pleased to announce the creation of the RNA‘s Pure Passion Awards, in celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the founding of the Association.

Each year, the very finest romantic fiction has been recognised by the long-standing and hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards. The Romantic Novelists’ Association is proud to offer more chances to salute the best writers and best stories through a number of new awards and a major national promotion in retail outlets and in libraries.

The initiative has the support of leading publishers and high street retailers and will see posters and stickered books in shops and supermarkets and coverage in the press, reinforcing the RNA Pure Passion Awards as a major industry event.

RNA Chair Katie Fforde said, “In our 50th year we are celebrating with more awards and more opportunities which provide a wonderful opportunity for readers to be introduced to writers they may not yet have heard of.

“We are proud to showcase contemporary women’s fiction, chic lit, sagas, and historical fiction.  Some are written by newcomers and some by more established authors. What links them all is that they have been selected by discerning readers to be loved by everyone.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration will include the presentation of the much-loved Romantic Novel of the Year and Love Story of the Year awards. The new awards introduced this year are The People’s Choice Award, The Rom Com Award, and the Romantic Film of the Year. The RNA is pleased to include The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing as part of its celebration. Two RNA Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be presented at the Anniversary event.

The Romantic Novel of the Year

The Romantic Novel of the Year is chosen from a shortlist of six titles which have been selected by the reading public from more than 150 nominated books. The winner is selected by three independent judges. The shortlist, in alphabetical order by author name, is:

  • Passion, Louise Bagshawe, Headline Review
  • Fairytale of New York, Miranda Dickinson, Avon (Harper Collins
  • Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, Lucy Dillon, Hodder & Stoughton
  • A Glimpse at Happiness, Jean Fullerton, Orion
  • The Glass Painter’s Daughter, Rachel Hore, Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Italian Matchmaker, Santa Montefiore, Hodder & Stoughton

The Love Story of the Year

The Love Story of the Year is for a shorter romance where there is a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship. A shortlist of six is again chosen by the reading public, with the winner selected by three judges. The shortlist is:

  • The Notorious Mr Hurst, Louise Allen, Harlequin Mills & Boon
  • Animal Instincts, Nell Dixon, Little Black Dress
  • Always the Bridesmaid, Nina Harrington, Harlequin Mills & Boon
  • Fair Deception, Jan Jones, Robert Hale
  • The Wedding Party, Sophie King, Hodder
  • Claimed for the Italian’s Revenge, Natalie Rivers, Harlequin Mills & Boon

The People’s Choice Award

To celebrate the modern nature of the Pure Passion Awards, the RNA has created a special ‘current award’ to recognise key new or developing authors in the romantic genre with paperbacks out in the spring.

In keeping with the RNA‘s desire to help good new romantic writers achieve prominence, publishers were invited to submit books by authors in whom they believe passionately and who would benefit from being part of the 50th Anniversary Awards event. Expert romantic writing buyers at key retailers were then asked to select their favourite six for the shortlist.

The winner of this award is chosen by the public. Readers are invited to read as many of the new paperbacks as possible and vote for their favourite at the poll website The shortlist is:

  • Missing You, Louise Douglas, Pan
  • Remembrance Day, Leah Fleming, Avon
  • I Heart Hollywood, Lindsey Kelk, Harper
  • Rich Girl Poor Girl, Lesley Lokko, Orion
  • Heiresses, Lulu Taylor, Arrow

The Romantic Comedy Award

The Rom Com Award is organised and administered in the same way as the Romantic Novel of the Year. To reach the shortlist, the books must really tickle readers’ funny-bones. The winner is chosen by a panel of writers and readers selected by the RNA. The shortlist is:

  • Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Jenny Colgan, Sphere
  • The Nearly-Weds, Jane Costello, Simon & Schuster
  • 50 Ways to Find a Lover, Lucy-Anne Holmes, Pan
  • Rumour Has It, Jill Mansell, Headline Review

RNA Romantic Film of the Year

Romance is a theme that moves easily from the printed page to film. The RNA celebrates this shared love of romance by selecting the finest romantic adaptations released as a film in the UK during 2009.

Once again the public will help select their favourite adaptation on the partner website These votes will be added to the views of the RNA expert panel to select the winner. The shortlist is:

  • Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella, Black Swan (Transworld)
  • An Education, Lyn Barber, Penguin
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, Vintage (Random House)
  • Twilight: New Moon, Stephanie Meyer, Atom, Little Brown

The Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing

Awarded every two years, and now for the first time included in the RNA Awards, this prize is given to the best first chapter and synopsis submitted by an author who has not yet had an adult novel published. The setting must be urban, and the book should contain a strong romantic element. The prize, organised and administered by the MBA Literary Agency in conjunction with the RNA, offers a great opportunity for a budding writer. Please visit the Harry Bowling Prize website for more details.

Lifetime Achievement

Two awards will be presented at the Pure Passion Awards to two people who have made outstanding contributions to romantic fiction and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Awards presentation

The winners of all awards will be announced on Tuesday 16 March 2010 at the Award lunch at the Royal Garden Hotel, in Kensington, London.

Please see our Awards section for more about the awards.

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It's a fact

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