Romantic Novelists' Association

Hannah Langdon: Joan Hessayon Award Contender 2024

5 July 2024

Author of Christmas at the Lords

Twickenham author Hannah Langdon is a contender for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual RNA Joan Hessayon Award for 2024 with her novel, Christmas with the Lords. The award is for authors whose debut novels have gone through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) and are subsequently accepted for publication.

Hannah wrote her first book, about a dalmatian, when she was eight years old and she hasn’t put her pen down since, although life’s interventions have put up some stiff competition for her time and energy. Hannah has loved romantic fiction since those early days of ‘Sweet Dreams’ novels and, with a good wind behind her, can remember the names of all Jilly Cooper’s ‘book title’ heroines, although her favourite was always Harriet. Hannah lives in London with her husband, John, and seven-year-old daughter, Rose, both of whom also love books, although neither is exactly Hannah’s target audience. Maybe one day she’ll write a novel about a Formula One driver who loves puppies. Maybe. When she isn’t writing, Hannah works as a teacher and Assistant Head in a small and unusually lovely school in south west London.

She commented, ‘I am beyond proud and delighted to be a contender for the Joan Hessayon Award. The New Writers’ Scheme is such a special opportunity and I consider myself very lucky to have participated in it, let alone become a published author. My fellow contenders have written amazing books, all testament to this incredible scheme, and I wish them the best of luck.’

Melissa Oliver, the RNA Joan Hessayon Award organiser (and winner of the award in 2020), commented, Melissa Oliver, the RNA Joan Hessayon Award organiser (and winner of the award in 2020), commented, ‘Many congratulations to the 2024 contenders of the prestigious RNA Joan Hessayon Award. The authors who have graduated from the brilliant New Writers’ Scheme to secure publishing contracts this year are not only a testament to the success of the scheme but also to the enduring appeal of the romance genre. Well done to all of you.’

RNA Chair, Jean Fullerton, added, ‘Congratulations to all of the 2024 contenders for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award for graduates of the most excellent New Writers’ Scheme. Once again, the judges have the almost impossible task of picking a winner due to the quality of the books.’

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.

Established in 1962, the New Writers’ Scheme provides support to unpublished romantic fiction authors. Manuscripts can be submitted for assessment and are critiqued by published authors. In addition, the 250 members of the scheme can attend RNA events and participate in members-only activities and networking opportunities.

Previous graduates of the New Writers’ Scheme include Sue Moorcroft, Jessica Redland and Heidi Swain.

For more details about the New Writers’ Scheme please visit here.

The winner of the award will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual conference Gala Dinner, which is being held at Royal Holloway, University of London on Saturday 10th August 2024.


Penny is stunned when her boyfriend suddenly dumps her, leaving her with a broken heart just in time for Christmas. She accepts a nanny job; could Christmas be any less magical? But caring for the adorable Lord children, she’s surrounded by quirky characters, including the grouchy but handsome Lando Lord.