Romantic Novelists' Association

Contenders Announced: Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2022

7 June 2022

TUESDAY 7TH JUNE 2022 We are delighted to announce the contenders for our annual Joan Hessayon Award for 2022. The award is for authors whose debut novels have gone through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and are subsequently accepted for publication. Sponsored by Dr. David Hessayon OBE in honour of his late wife, Joan, who was a novelist, RNA member and supporter of its New Writers’ Scheme, the award showcases a variety of debut novels within the romantic fiction genre.

The novels are judged by a panel of published authors from the RNA and publishing industry professionals. Previous winners include Jo Thomas, Charlotte Betts, Lorna Cook and Caroline Day.

The New Writers’ Scheme provides support to unpublished writers of romantic fiction. Manuscripts can be submitted for assessment and are critiqued by published authors. In addition, the members of the scheme can attend RNA events and participate in members-only activities and networking opportunities.

Melissa Oliver, the organiser of the Joan Hessayon Award (and winner of the award in 2020), commented, ‘As a previous winner, I know first-hand that this prestigious award champions and recognises newly published authors who have graduated from the RNA’s fabulous New Writers’ Scheme. It’s a fantastic achievement and this year the depth and variety of the books up for the award are a testament to the continuing appeal and popularity of romantic fiction and all its subgenres.’

RNA Acting Chair, Jean Fullerton, added, ‘Yet again, the Joan Hessayon Award showcases a wonderful crop of RNA debut writers.’

The ceremony to announce the winner will be held at 6.30pm on Saturday 16th July 2022 at Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, as part of our annual RNA conference.

The contenders for 2022 are as follows:

Jennifer Bibby, The Cornish Hideaway, Simon & Schuster UK

Anita Faulkner, A Colourful Country Escape, Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group)

Suzie Hull, In This Foreign Land, Orion Dash

Laura R. Leeson, The Valentine Retreat, Champagne Book Group

Lissa Morgan, The Welsh Lord’s Convenient Bride, Mills & Boon Historical

Kirstie Pelling, Life’s a Catastrophe, Embla Books

Alex Stone, The Perfect Daughter, Boldwood Books

Jessie Wells, The Good News Gazette, One More Chapter

Helen Yendall, A Wartime Secret, HQ Digital