Romantic Novelists' Association

RNA Joan Hessayon Award Contender: Linda Corbett – Love You From A-Z

10 July 2023

Photo of Linda Corbett, author, wearing a white shirt with green plants behind herCover of Love you from A to ZCheam author, Linda Corbett, is a contender for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual RNA Joan Hessayon Award for 2023 with her novel, Love You From A-Z. The award is for authors whose debut novels have gone through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) and are subsequently accepted for publication.

Linda lives in Surrey with her husband and three permanently hungry guinea pigs. For many years Linda wrote a regular column for Link, a disability magazine, illustrating the humorous aspects of life with a complex disability, and she is a passionate advocate of disability representation in fiction. She was thrilled to be the recipient of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2020. When not writing, Linda can be found reading, papercrafting or cuddling guinea pigs.

She commented, ‘I feel very honoured to be a contender for such a prestigious award – it’s a real pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moment. The RNA has been a massive part of my publishing journey so I’m hugely grateful to everyone involved in running the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, without which I doubt I would have achieved my dream of publication. It’s amazing to think I am joining the ranks of some well-known authors who have been contenders for this award in the past.

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.

Love You From A-Z  (Publisher: One More Chapter)

When Jenna discovers a mysterious letter in an abandoned storage unit, her curiosity is stirred. Reaching out to the letter’s author, Henry Somners, changes Jenna’s world irrevocably and she starts to realise that the magic she believed in as a child might not be such a fanciful notion after all.


Linda writes: ‘It is not common to find disabled characters in fiction and rare to find the heroine of a romance novel with a disability. Growing up, the books I read with disabled characters in them seemed to emphasise the pity and sympathy angle. I am thrilled at the positive response to the disability representation in my novel, as I believe everybody is entitled to see themselves as the heroine of a novel.’