RNA Industry Awards logo

 

RNA Industry Awards logo

TUESDAY 20th OCTOBER 2020 We are delighted to announce the shortlist for our annual Industry Awards, recognising and celebrating the many professionals whose work supports and promotes the genre of romantic fiction. The categories recognise the best Bookseller, Agent, Publisher, Library and Media Star of the year, and the Inclusion Award recognises an individual or organisation that has championed inclusivity in romantic authorship and publishing. The RNA Industry Awards are decided by the membership, with every member eligible to nominate within each category.

The winners of the six awards will be announced during a virtual event on 12th November 2020.

Information about each of the contenders on the shortlist follows. The categories and shortlist are:

Inclusion Award

Bookouture

Julie Cohen

Hera Books

Jacaranda Books

Library or Librarian of the Year

Liz Gardner, Burton Library, Staffordshire Libraries

John Garland, Warminster Libraries, Wiltshire Council

Orkney Library and Archives

Debbie Smith, Tamworth Library, Staffordshire Libraries
Bookseller of the Year

The Ripped Bodice

Sevenoaks Book Shop

St Ives Bookseller

Village Books Dulwich

Media Star of the Year

Rachel Gilbey, Rachel’s Random Reads

Julie Morris, A Little Book Problem

@UKRomChat

Anne Williams, Being Anne
Agent of the Year

Hattie Grünewald, The Blair Partnership

Lina Langlee, The North Literary Agency

Rebecca Ritchie, A. M. Heath Literary Agency

Felicity Trew, Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency
Publisher of the Year

Avon

Boldwood Books

Hera Books

Mills & Boon

 

Inclusion Award

This award recognises the individual or organisation that has championed inclusivity in romantic authorship and publishing. The shortlist comprises:

Bookouture

Bookouture is a digital-first publisher which has seen rapid year-on-year growth since its inception in 2012, and announced having hit the 40 million sales mark in October 2020. Since its acquisition by Hachette in 2017, Bookouture has continued to grow its publishing teams and currently has 38 employees. Bookouture is mainly known as a publisher of commercial fiction but launched its non-fiction imprint Thread in May 2020.

Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen is an award-winning and Sunday Times bestselling novelist whose work has twice been selected for the Richard and Judy book club. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages and have been optioned for film and television. Together won the Contemporary Romantic Novel Award and The Two Lives of Louis & Louise was long listed for the Polari Prize. She is Patron of literacy charity ABC to Read, a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder of the RNA’s Rainbow Chapter, for writers who identify as LGBTQ+ and/or who write novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters. Her latest novel is Spirited.

Since being formed, the Rainbow Chapter collectively has forged links with other LGBTQ+ writing organisations and professionals and worked to welcome LGBTQ+ writers to the RNA. They have taken steps to make events more inclusive and to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ relationship fiction both within the RNA and in the wider industry. They offer support and share professional advice with LGBTQ+ writers. Their message is LOVE STORIES ARE FOR EVERYONE.

Hera Books

Hera Books is an independent commercial publisher launched in 2018 by Lindsey Mooney and Keshini Naidoo. In their first year they published twenty-two books across the genres of romance, women’s fiction, saga and crime and thriller, in ebook, paperback and audio, and now have twenty contracted authors on the list. They are always on the look-out for strong romantic heroines, tear-jerking sagas, hilarious romcoms and are particularly interested in publishing genre fiction from authors from marginalised backgrounds.

Jacaranda Books

Jacaranda Books is the independent Small Press of the Year 2020 and publisher of award-winning adult fiction, including commercial genre fiction, non-fiction & YA. Their ethos is simple – they are committed to publishing ground-breaking writing with a dedication to creating space on the bookshelf for diverse ideas and writers. Challenging the limiting view of Black literature, their ground-breaking #Twentyin2020 campaign is the first time a publisher will have published twenty books by Black British authors in one year with a diverse range of genre, subject and style.
Library or Librarian of the Year

This award recognises the important work that libraries and librarians do in supporting the romantic fiction genre, and the Association in particular.  The shortlist comprises:

Liz Gardner, Burton Library, Staffordshire Libraries

Burton-upon-Trent is a large market town in east Staffordshire with a culturally diverse mixed urban and rural community, pocketed by areas of socio-economic deprivation. Burton Library is the largest of the 43 static libraries in the county (27 of which are managed by community organisations) and 2 mobiles which make up Staffordshire Libraries. As well as providing a wide range of library and information services, the team works closely with local and regional partners to offer activities, learning and cultural events to meet community need. Burton Library houses the county Reading Group Service, sending book sets out monthly to over 200 groups across the county. In 2019 they won a CILIP Marketing Excellence Award for their community volunteer-led initiative, Burton Bedtime Stories. As part of Staffordshire Libraries’ countywide offer, library users can also access a vibrant e-library of books, audio books, graphic novels and magazines, e-resources for learning and leisure and a programme of virtual events through their social media pages.

John Garland, Warminster Libraries, Wiltshire Council

Warminster library is a busy library in the heart of the medieval market town of Warminster, Wiltshire. The library is well loved by its loyal customers and partners with community groups, writers’ societies and book groups, and hosts play readings to promote great books and authors throughout the year. Currently open and offering browsing on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the library also offers a wealth of online material and activities from eBooks, magazines and audio books to rhyme times, book reviews, book chat group and a space to chat about a love of reading on its Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/WarminsterLibraryUK/

Warminster has a love affair with books and isn’t afraid to shout about it.

John Garland has assisted the RNA’s Library Liaison Officer by providing her with specialist library contacts at a national level for England, Wales and Scotland. When he’s not managing libraries in Wiltshire, John writes fantasy fiction.

Orkney Library & Archive

Founded in 1683, Orkney Library & Archive is the oldest public lending library in Scotland.

The library provides a range of services: you can borrow books, CDs, DVDs, Large Print, Audiobooks, jigsaws, eBooks and eAudiobooks.  Free Wi-Fi is available throughout both buildings along with Internet Access PCs.  The Home Library Service and Mobile Library service are available for those living in more rural and island areas of Orkney.  Stromness Library offers the same services.  You can research your family history in the Archive along with local history research in the Orkney Room and George Mackay Brown Room.  Quiet study spaces are available.  The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and they have a great Twitter feed.  www.orkneylibrary.org.uk

Debbie Smith, Tamworth Library, Staffordshire Libraries

Debbie Smith works as a library assistant at Tamworth Library, which is a large friendly library in the South East of Staffordshire. The team loves to welcome customers into an environment full of book displays, run author events and book groups, and are always happy to enthuse about books. The library normally offers a range of services including a weekly Places of Welcome coffee morning, a Baby Bounce and Rhyme session and hosting a job club. The team was very happy to welcome customers back after the lockdown, and they are honoured to select books for people using the ‘order and collect’ service.
Bookseller of the Year

The Ripped Bodice

The Ripped Bodice is the only exclusively romance bookstore on the West Coast of the USA. Sisters and owners Leah and Bea Koch raised $91,000 on Kickstarter to bring their dream of a romance-only bookstore to life. The Ripped Bodice opened its doors in March 2016 and has been growing and thriving ever since.

Bea and Leah Koch grew up in Chicago, IL. Bea went on to attend Yale and NYU, where she wrote a graduate thesis titled ‘Mending the Ripped Bodice’. Leah moved to Los Angeles to attend USC, graduating cum laude with a degree in visual and performing arts. Both sisters are lifelong romance readers and feel lucky to spend their days surrounded by books.

Sevenoaks Book Shop

First opened in 1948, the Sevenoaks Bookshop is a truly independent haven for booklovers of all ages. Stocking the very best new books in every genre, it’s possible to browse and buy from both their high street and online shops. They also host regular book clubs, writers’ groups and author events. www.sevenoaksbookshop.co.uk

St Ives Bookseller

A stone’s throw from the beach on the main cobbled shopping street of the town, St Ives Bookseller has become a favourite destination for locals and visitors alike, with many making it their first stop on arrival. Though a bookshop has been on these premises for over 50 years, it was bought by its current owners, Ron and Marion Johns, in 2001. Beautifully fitted with solid oak bookcases and Cornish slate floors, The Guardian’s Independent Bookshop Directory described the shops as “one of Britain’s smallest bookshops” with “an invitingly cluttered interior containing thousands of books flying off in every direction”, which sums them up brilliantly. The store is managed by Alice Harandon and also loved by its part-time booksellers – they aim to stock something for everyone and throughout the year enjoy decorating their favourite reads with handmade signs to tempt readers. They hold a general range of titles from bestsellers to prize winners and independent gems but especially love locally-set children’s picture books – often from their Mabecron Books publishing arm – as well as trying to get as many of their stocked titles signed by the authors as possible

Village Books Dulwich

Village Books is a thriving independent bookshop in Dulwich Village, London, which has been selling books to its local community since 1925. Hazel Broadfoot has owned it for over 20 years, having previously been a director at Waterstone’s. Hazel and her team are all avid readers and love nothing more than recommending their favourite books to customers. As well as being popular with families, the bookshop is a huge favourite with local pooches, who know that there is always a generous supply of dog biscuits to hand.

Media Star of the Year

This award recognises journalists, bloggers, publicists, TV or radio presenters who have helped raise the profile of romance writing and/or the RNA in a positive way. The shortlist comprises:

Rachel Gilbey

Since starting her popular blog Rachel’s Random Reads over five years ago, Rachel Gilbey has discovered just how much the book community means to her, and has even created her own ideal job of organising blog tours. She loves reading a wide range of genres, but particularly enjoys contemporary romantic fiction. She lives in London, which is useful for attending book events, and indulging her passion for West End musical theatre.

Julie Morris

Ex-lawyer and travel consultant Julie has been running her popular blog, A Little Book Problem, since January 2017, amassing a large following of dedicated readers. She loves supporting and promoting authors through reviews, blog tours and a range of author features, her Friday Night Drinks posts being especially popular. Romance is her favourite genre, and she is making a valiant attempt to write her own love-packed novel, as a member of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme.

UKRomChat

@UKRomChat is a live Twitter chat for and about Romance writers and the wider Romance community, created by Jeanna Louise Skinner and Eilidh Lawrence, and currently hosted by Jeanna, Lucy Morris and Lucy Keeling. They feature guest authors and publishing industry professionals and ask them ten questions about their book, business or writing process. The final question is always “What do you love about creating Happily Ever Afters”? Past guests include Harlequin, Mills and Boon editors, literary agents, RNA committee members, and award-winning NYT bestselling authors.

Since launching in 2018, @UKRomChat has been successful beyond their wildest dreams, something they couldn’t have achieved without the support of the Romance community and the RNA. They are honoured to be nominated for an RNA Industry Award for the second year running. The team wanted to create a fun, friendly, positive and supportive space for all who love to read and write Romance, regardless of background, physical ability, race, gender, sex or sexual orientation, because they firmly believe that Romance IS for everyone and every body.

Anne Williams

Anne Williams is a book blogger and reviewer at Being Anne (https://beinganne.com); the blog is now approaching eight years old. She lives in Wetherby in Yorkshire and took early retirement six years ago to do everything she enjoys, including reading and reviewing as many books as she possibly can, and indulging herself with exotic holidays. Life changed a little a few years ago when she became carer for her mother; the travel had to stop for a while, but nothing can come between Anne and the reading. Her blog won the Best Pal award at the Annual Bloggers’ Bash for three years running, and she was delighted to win the RNA’s Media Star of the Year award in 2019.

Agent of the Year

For the literary agent who has striven to support, mentor, nurture and promote their authors’ careers, the genre in general and the RNA in particular. The shortlist comprises:

Hattie Grünewald

Hattie Grünewald is an agent at The Blair Partnership, representing commercial and upmarket fiction – including women’s fiction, crime and thriller, historical and book club fiction – as well as some non-fiction in the areas of lifestyle and personal development. Her clients include Sue Fortin, Stephanie Yeboah, Anbara Salam, Nancy Tucker and Lizzy Dent.

Lina Langlee

Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency is originally from Sweden but has been living in Scotland since 2008. After working in publishing for several years, notably at Canongate and Black & White, she became a literary agent in 2018. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the RNA ‘Agent of the Year’ award with a second shortlisting following in 2020. Lina represents authors such as Christina Courtenay, Sandy Barker, Vicki Beeby and Rachel Burton.

Lina loves high concept rom-coms, emotional historical sagas and ambitious multi-generational or dual timeline love stories.

Rebecca Ritchie

Rebecca Ritchie has been an agent at A.M. Heath since 2017, having previously worked at Curtis Brown. She represents a wide range of commercial fiction: from contemporary women’s to reading group fiction, historical fiction, psychological suspense and thriller. Her authors include Red magazine’s literary editor Sarra Manning, Holly Millerand journalists-turned-novelists Sophia Money-Coutts and Richard and Judy Book Club pick Kate Riordan. Many of her authors are members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, including Iona Grey and Lorna Cook, who were both winners at the RNA Awards in 2016 and 2020, respectively.

Felicity Trew

Felicity Trew joined the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency in 2012 where she began her career in publishing and became an agent in 2015. Since then, Felicity has energetically been building up a list of highly talented authors for both adult and children’s books as well as representing a stellar roster of award-winning illustrators. Clients she already represents include saga authors Libby Ashworth and Sheila Riley as well as heart-warming, hilarious and historical women’s commercial fiction authors Kirsten Hesketh, Kerry Barrett, Kirsty Eyre and Joan Hessayon Award-winning Brigid Coady. On her children’s list, Felicity represents this year’s World Book Day author and CLPE Award­-winning poet and performer Joseph Coelho, international number one bestseller and illustrator of THE WONKY DONKEY titles Katz Cowley and the Branford Boase Award-winning middle grade author Mitch Johnson, to name but a few.  Felicity was one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2016.

Publisher of the Year

For an individual editor or a publishing house or imprint who embraces the genre, supports writers to produce their best work, and is innovative, creative and visionary in the marketing and promotion of Romantic Fiction on every level.  The shortlist comprises:

Avon

Set up in 2007, Avon is a division of HarperCollins publishing women’s fiction and crime. Avon’s reputation for building big-brand authors began here, with early acquisitions including Sunday Times bestsellers Scott Mariani and Kitty Neale.

In recent years, Avon has become renowned for its digital publishing as well as its prowess in paperback, rising to the top of the market early on, and catapulting names such as C.L. Taylor, Sue Moorcroft, Katerina Diamond and Helen Fields to the top of the eBook charts.

Avon Books won Imprint of the Year at the British Book Awards 2020, and in 2018 was named Publisher of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  www.avonbooks.co.uk

Boldwood Books

Boldwood is an award-winning independent, global fiction publishing house launched in February 2019, with its first titles published in August 2019. Over the past 12 months the company has published 59 titles, signed 42 authors and sold one million books across the world.

Based on the principles of a true partnership with authors and team members it guarantees global publishing in all formats – ebook, audiobook; digital and physical, paperback and large print – on the same publication day across all English language territories. All the authors are signed on multi-book deals reflecting the Boldwood commitment to building author careers with every title receiving guaranteed paid digital advertising.

Boldwood are publishing the very best in commercial fiction across crime and thriller, women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction, saga and reading group fiction. The list showcases exciting debuts alongside established bestselling authors with both frontlist and backlist.

Founded by a team with over 50 years success in fiction publishing it promises to be innovative but experienced, fearless but responsible, and lots of fun!

Hera Books

Hera Books is an independent commercial publisher launched in 2018 by Lindsey Mooney and Keshini Naidoo. In their first year they published twenty-two books across the genres of romance, women’s fiction, saga and crime and thriller, in ebook, paperback and audio, and now have twenty contracted authors on the list. They are always on the lookout for strong romantic heroines, tear-jerking sagas, hilarious romcoms and are particularly interested in publishing genre fiction from authors from marginalised backgrounds.

Mills & Boon

Sweeping women off their feet for over 100 years, Mills & Boon is the UK’s #1 publisher of romantic fiction. Written by women, for women, it has a romance for every reader promising a happily-ever-after ending every time. With millions of books sold each year, Mills & Boon books deliver delicious doses of feel-good romance. This year it launched the eBook subscription app, We Love Romance, and published Georgia Toffolo’s debut romance novel, Meet Me in London.

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