Friday, May 20, 2016

Clare Harvey wins the RNA's Joan Hessayon Award 2016

Joan Hessayon Award winner Clare Harvey triumphs
with debut novel The Gunner Girl

Nottingham-based author Clare Harvey has triumphed with her wartime novel The Gunner Girl,
published by Simon & Schuster UK, for which she has been awarded The Romantic Novelists' Association’s (RNA) prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. Clare was presented with her award and a cheque for £1,000 at the RNA’s Summer Party, held today at the Royal Overseas League in London.

The judges were unanimous in their decision to crown The Gunner Girl the winner. The book was selected from a list of fourteen contenders, all 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 Each year 250 places are offered to unpublished writers writing in the romance genre.

RNA Chair Eileen Ramsay said “The Gunner Girl by Clare Harvey is a worthy winner; beautifully written, incredibly well-researched and with a 'can't put this down' quality.”

The powerful story of three teenage girl soldiers working on the anti-aircraft guns in wartime London was inspired by Clare’s mother-in-law, who worked as a gunner girl during the Second World War; and was written whilst her husband was away in Afghanistan with the British Army. It’s a wartime drama, written from the heart.

Devon-born Clare has lived all over the world as the trailing spouse of a soldier. She’s now settled in Nottingham with her husband, three children and German shepherd pup. Commenting on achieving publication and being shortlisted for the award, Clare said, “This is the third time I’ve sent a manuscript through the NWS, and it’s third time lucky for me – I’m so thankful for the advice and support offered by the scheme and thrilled to finally have achieved my dream of being a published author.”

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 Award was 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 full list of contenders for 2016 is:

Her Forget-Me-Not Ex                     Sophie Claire              Accent Press

Letting in Light                                Emma Davies              Amazon Media

Take a Chance on Me                      Debbie Flint               Choc Lit

A Street Café Named Desire           R J Gould                     Accent Press

The Gunner Girl                               Clare Harvey                Simon & Schuster UK

Waiting for You                               Catherine Miller        Carina

It Started at Sunset Cottage            Bella Osborne            HarperImpulse

Remarkable Things                         Deirdre Palmer           Crooked Cat Publishing

The Giants Look Down                    Sonja Price                  Robert Hale

Sense and French Ability                 Ros Rendle                 Endeavour Press

The Hidden Legacy                          Julie Roberts              Accent Press

The Friendship Tree                        Helen J Rolfe              Crooked Cat Publishing

French Kissing                                 Lynne Shelby               Accent Press

The Cherry Tree Café                       Heidi Swain                Simon & Schuster UK

Cover images for all the novels, together with author photographs, can be found at:

The New Writers' Scheme has been run by the RNA since 1962 and is unique among professional writing associations. It aims to encourage fresh talent in the writing of romantic novels that reflect all aspects of love and life, contemporary or historical.

Manuscripts submitted under the scheme are from unpublished authors and are read by an experienced writer or editor who provides invaluable feedback. Any manuscript that is subsequently published as a debut novel is eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award. All eligible books are judged by a panel of experienced RNA members who are already published authors.

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