Romantic Novelists' Association

RNA Joan Hessayon Award Contender: Katy Turner – Let’s Just Be Friends

13 July 2023

Photo of author Katy Turner wearing grey overalls and beige shirtcover of Let's Just be Friends by Katy TurnerNorth Hampshire author Katy Turner, who lives near Fleet, is a contender for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual RNA Joan Hessayon Award for 2023 with her novel, Let’s Just Be Friends. The award is for authors whose debut novels have gone through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) and are subsequently accepted for publication.

Katy worked for a literary agency in London during her twenties before retraining to be a history teacher. She now lives in Hampshire with her husband and three young children, and writes romantic novels. When not writing, she’s jogging (slowly), gardening, and dreaming of foreign holidays.

She commented, ‘I am beyond excited to be a contender for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award. The RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) was pivotal in getting my book to the place it needed to be in order to be published, and this is the icing on the cake.’

Melissa Oliver, the RNA Joan Hessayon Award organiser (and winner of the award in 2020), commented, ‘Many congratulations to the 2023 contenders of the prestigious RNA Joan Hessayon Award. The wide array of authors who have graduated from the brilliant New Writers’ Scheme and have secured publishing contracts this year is 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 2023 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. Previous winners include Jo Thomas, Charlotte Betts, Lorna Cook and Suzie Hull.

Established in 1962, the New Writers’ Scheme provides support to unpublished romantic fiction authors.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.

The winner of the award will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual conference Gala Dinner, which is being held at Imperial College, London on Saturday 12th August 2023.

LET’S JUST BE FRIENDS  (Publisher: Joffe Books)

Cheerful and confident Holly Anderson doesn’t do flings. She doesn’t do romance, full stop. She has her five-year plan all mapped out. Falling in love is not part of it … is it?


Twitter – Katy Turner: @katherinecjones  
Instagram – KatyTurnerWrites
Facebook – Katy Turner Writes