Juliet Archer, one of the nominees for the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award organised by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, has also been nominated for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, scoring a double hit.

Juliet’s novel The Importance of Being Emma, published by Choc Lit, stars a clueless heroine in a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, which stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its updated and irresistible hero.

Juliet, who describes herself as a 19th century mind in a 21st century body, says: ‘I am very proud to be a contender for the Joan Hessayon Award, as it’s a great recognition for getting published and a way of encouraging unpublished writers to keep going. And having my debut novel short listed for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance is the icing on the cake.’

Chair of the RNA, Catherine Jones, who judges the award, describes this year’s novels as ‘perfect examples of romantic fiction: engaging, brilliant books with a wonderful love story at the heart of each one’.

The RNA‘s New Writer’s Scheme gives unpublished authors of romantic fiction the opportunity to join the Association and submit a full-length manuscript for appraisal by a published author writing in the same romantic genre. Outstanding manuscripts are given a second reading and, if deemed ready, passed to a suitable publisher or agent for consideration. The Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award is given to the best of the published debut novels by New Writers’ Scheme members that year.

The award is generously sponsored by Dr David Hessayon, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a great supporter of the New Writers’ Scheme.

The winner will be announced at the RNA‘s Summer Party on 13 May.

The RNA is also proud and delighted that four out of the six short listed authors for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance are members of the Association.

The 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance shortlist:

  • Love Engineered by Jenna Dawlish
  • Rachel’s Coming Home by Gillian Villiers
  • The Farmer Needs a Wife by Janet Gover
  • The House on the Shore by Victoria Howard
  • The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer
  • The Magic Knot by Helen Scott Taylor
  • Tug of Love by Allie Spencer

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