- Katie Fforde’s Summer of Love has won the Contemporary Romantic Novel award at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual awards, The RONAs. This category is for mainstream romantic novels set post 1960 and Katie Fforde saw off competition from some of romantic fiction’s biggest hitters Freya North, Jill Mansell, Miranda Dickinson, Karen Swan and Kate Johnson.The Epic Romantic Novel award was won by Rosie Thomas for her sweeping multi-generational tale The Kashmir Shawl, beating Michael Arditti, Betsy Tobin, Deborah Lawrenson and Ruth Hamilton.“In the big sky of romantic fiction today’s winners are among the brightest stars,” said Annie Ashurst, RNA Chair. “Their talent, diversity and commitment are awe inspiring and we congratulate them all on their success.
The RONAs were hosted by author and columnist Jane Wenham-Jones and presented by Sunday Times number one bestselling crime writer Peter James. The awards celebrate the very best in romantic fiction, encompassing the breadth of the genre, and three further and equally coveted awards were presented – the Historical Romantic Novel Award, Romantic Comedy Award, and new for 2012, the Young Adult Romantic Novel Award.
Winner of the Historical Romantic Novel award was Christina Courtenay with Highland Storms published by Choc Lit, who also were victorious in the Romantic Comedy category which was won by Jane Lovering for her novel Please Don’t Stop the Music.
The inaugural Young Adult Romantic Novel award went to Caroline Green for Dark Ride, published by Piccadilly Press.
Each category winner will now go on to form the shortlist for the long-standing and hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year Award, which will be announced on 17th May.
Each of the titles submitted for the 2012 awards was read and awarded a mark by a panel of three independent readers from across the UK, drawn from a register of nearly 100 volunteers. These readers are not members of the RNA, but come from a wide variety of backgrounds and include all ages from 20 to 85, with a shared passion for romantic novels.
For the first time in the awards’ 52 year history, members of the public can vote for their favourite book by visiting www.rna-awards.com. All voters will be entered into a draw to win an iPad2.
Also honoured at The RONAs was Karin Stoecker, Editorial Director of Harlequin Mills & Boon from 1994 – 2011. Karin was awarded the RNA’s Outstanding Achievement Award for her innovation, commitment and contribution to romance publishing.
Two further awards were presented at the champagne reception at One Whitehall Place.
The RONA Rose Award (formerly the Love Story of the Year) recognises the best in category and shorter romance and this year’s winner was Sarah Mallory for The Dangerous Lord Darrington, published by Mills & Boon.
The Harry Bowling Prize is for unpublished authors and is administered by MBA Literary Agents and generously sponsored by Harry Bowling’s publisher, Headline. Winner of the £1,000 was Natalie Lloyd-Evans for A Dark Flowering, and runner-up Aline P’Nina Taya took home a £100 cheque for Island of Dreams.
The Romantic Novel of the Year will be announced on 17th May 2012
To see photographs from our RONA Awards Ceremony – visit our photo gallery.