Romantic Novelists' Association

Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award – Julie Haworth

11 March 2023

Image credit by Camilo Queipo Photography

Chelmsford author, Julie Haworth, has WON the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award with her novel, Always by Your Side, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.

Julie writes uplifting stories about friendship and community, bursting with romance and charm, from the city of Chelmsford, Essex. Her debut novel, Always By Your Side, was published by Simon & Schuster in August 2022. When she’s not busy writing or running her copywriting business, Julie can mainly be found shopping, drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee and hanging out with her two rescue cats.

She commented, ‘It’s an honour to have won such a prestigious award and I’m hugely grateful to the RNA for their New Writers’ Scheme and to my publisher, Simon & Schuster, for all their encouragement and support in my debut year.’

Jean Fullerton, the RNA Chair, commented, ‘Once again the judges have had the almost impossible task of choosing winners for each of our romantic awards categories. Huge congratulations to our worthy winners.’

Sharon Ibbotson, the RNA Awards Coordinator, said, ‘Our Romantic Novel Awards in 2023 had nearly five hundred entries, which were whittled down to nine very worthy winners by our amazing reader-judges. Along with the winner of the Popular Romantic Fiction Award, their stories made people laugh, smile, weep and above all, fall in love. I am delighted to congratulate them for their success in our awards.’

The awards, which have been held since their inception in 1960, are highly respected in the UK publishing industry. Previous winners include Santa Montefiore, Joe Heap, Julie Cohen and Milly Johnson. The awards are unique in that they are judged entirely by readers, without input from any industry professionals.

The award categories for this year were as follows: The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award, the Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award, the Shorter Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Saga Award, the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, the Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, and the Popular Romantic Fiction Award (voted for by librarians, booksellers and book bloggers/reviewers).

The winners of the awards were announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which was held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City on Monday 6th March 2023.

ALWAYS BY YOUR SIDE BOOK BLURB (Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK)

When school teacher Rose loses her dream job, her self-confidence takes a knock. An unexpected phone call, and an elderly aunt hospitalised, means she must drop everything – including her fiancé – and return to Sussex. But when Rose’s London life finally comes calling, she is faced with an impossible choice …