Friday, January 30, 2015

The Romantic Novel of the Year Award

Welcome to RNA Chair, Pia Fenton who has popped by to tell us about The Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

For over fifty years, the Romantic Novelists’ Association have been giving out awards for the very best in romantic fiction each year, celebrating excellence within our genre.  The list of past winners of The Romantic Novel of the Year Award includes some well-known and beloved authors – (there is a full list of previous winners on our website here) – so anyone lucky enough to win will be in very exalted company indeed! 

The awards were revamped a few years ago in order to showcase the wonderful diversity within romantic fiction and to give more authors a chance to shine.  Instead of just one main award and one for category romance, six new categories were created – Contemporary, Epic, Historical, Romantic Comedy, Young Adult and the RoNA Rose (for shorter/category romance).  Together they form the RoNAs – Romantic Novel Awards (the name was chosen to reflect the awards’ affinity with the US RWA’s prestigious RITAs and the Australian RWA’s RUBY award), and each category winner receives a beautiful glass star trophy.  They also go on to form the shortlist for the overall prize, the coveted Romantic Novel of the Year Award, which at the moment consists of a cheque for £5,000 plus this beautiful glass trophy created especially for the RNA.
The RNA had a record number of entries again this year and also a huge number of readers wanting to be part of the judging process.  Every entry is read, in the first instance, by three readers – ordinary members of the public who love our genre.  They are sent up to five books each and have to send back scores for each one.  The total of these scores determines a shortlist of six books for each category.  The top six are then read a fourth time by RNA members who have no vested interest in that particular book (the organiser makes sure of this), and the fourth score added to the other three.  This final total gives the winner for each category.
Finally, the six winning titles are read by a panel of independent judges who decide on the overall winner.
The names of the lucky winners for 2015 will be revealed at a sparkling awards ceremony on Monday 16th March, to be held at the Gladstone Library near Whitehall.  Besides being a beautiful, Victorian room overlooking the Thames, it is surely the most perfect venue for a gathering of 230 authors and other members of the publishing industry as it formerly contained around 30,000 books.
Tickets for this event are on sale now (click here for details) and it promises to be a very enjoyable evening.  Not only will the six category winners and the overall winner receive their trophies, but the RNA will also present two Outstanding Achievement Awards.
Last year’s overall winner was Veronica Henry with her fantastic novel A Night on the Orient Express – who will it be this time?  Why not come and join us for some pink fizz, canap├ęs and exciting announcements? We hope to see you there!

Pia Fenton

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