Jojo Moyes and RNA Chair Katie Fforde

The Romantic Novelists’ Association has announced the winners of this year’s Pure Passion Awards at a champagne reception in London

Winner of the 2011 Romantic Novel of the Year – recognising the best of the year’s novels exploring the deep mysteries of the human heart – is Jojo Moyes for her book The Last Letter from your Lover.

“The book came about after I eavesdropped on some women unsuccessfully trying to decipher a text message – Later X” Jojo said. “It made me realise that all these added means of communication have actually served to make things more opaque. I feel sorry for the generations that are missing out on the joys of the love letter.”

Other contenders for the prize were Amazir by Tom Gamble, Kissing Mr Wrong by Sarah Duncan, To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick, The Jewel of St Petersburg by Kate Furnivall, and The Golden Prince by Rebecca Dean.

Also honoured today at the Pure Passion Awards were two of the world’s best-selling and much-loved authors – Josephine Cox and Penny Jordan. Both authors were presented with Outstanding Achievement Awards for their contributions to the ever popular genre.

Author of 43 novels in the last 23 years, selling 24 million copies in the UK alone, Josephine Cox has had six number one, and sixteen top five, Sunday Times bestsellers since 2004. Josephine Cox said: “I am thrilled and delighted to be receiving such a prestigious award. It’s something I never expected and I would like to thank all those concerned for thinking I am deserving of it.”

Penny Jordan was first published by Mills & Boon thirty years ago in 1981, after entering a writing competition run by the RNA. Since then her books have been translated into 26 languages and have sold 85 million copies worldwide. “To receive this award from the RNA – the organisation that helped me toward my first publication via its New Writers’ programme – reinforces for me everything that the RNA is and does for the writing community,” Penny Jordan said. “I am thrilled and honoured to be recognised with this award”

The RNA Pure Passion Awards celebrate the very best in romantic fiction, encompassing the breadth of the genre. Three further and equally coveted awards were presented – the Historical Novel Prize, Romantic Comedy Prize, and Love Story of the Year.

Winner of the Historical Novel Prize was Elizabeth Chadwick with To Defy a King, published by Sphere. The judges all agreed that “the history is deeply felt and conveyed, and is essential and integral to the plot.”

The Romantic Comedy Prize went to Jill Mansell with her book Take a Chance on Me, published by Headline. The judges said the book has “beautifully understated humour” and is “an utter delight.”

Winner of the Love Story of the Year for a shorter romance with a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship was Louise Allen with The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst published by Mills & Boon.

Katie Fforde, Chair of the RNA said: “Once again, in our 51st year, the Romantic Novel of the Year Award has produced a sensational winner.  Of Jojo Moyes’ The Last Letter from your Loverthe judges unanimously agreed that ‘this novel combines exquisite writing, a truly romantic yet original theme and a blissfully satisfying ending. A worthy winner in a very strong list.’”

Of the outstanding achievement awards, Katie Fforde said: “Penny Jordan has written over 180 novels for Mills & Boon, selling 85 million copies worldwide.  Her wonderfully crafted novels bring happiness and romance to millions of women every year and she is truly worthy of this award.  Josephine Cox, another recipient of our special Outstanding Achievement award, is a legend.  From humble beginnings she fought her way to become a writer of 43 books which not only sell in millions but are among the top of the ‘most borrowed’ list in libraries. It’s likely that she’s the favourite author of more people than any other writer.”

See photographs of the Pure Passion Awards ceremony in our photo gallery.

View the Pure Passion video. Thanks to Waterstone’s for their support.


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