Industry Award Winners 2018

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.  From 2019 a new Inclusion category, for an individual or organisation that has championed inclusivity in romantic authorship and publishing, will be added to the existing categories which recognise the best Bookseller, Agent, Publisher, Library and Media Star of the year. The RNA Industry Awards shortlists are based on nominations from RNA members.

The winners of the six awards will be announced during the RNA’s Winter Party on November 21st 2019, held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City.

 

Inclusion Award

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

Hera Books

Julie Cohen

The Pink Heart Society

Laura Macdougall, United Agents

 

Library 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:

Harrogate Library

Jersey Library

Kingswinford Library

Redditch Library

 

Romantic Bookseller of the Year

This award recognises booksellers promoting and championing romantic fiction in a positive and proactive way throughout the year.  The shortlist comprises:

Goldsboro Books

Waterstones Birmingham

St Ives Bookseller

WHSmith Salisbury

 

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 fiction.  The shortlist comprises:

Anne Williams

Rachel Gilbey

Caroline O’Donoghue

UKRomChat

 

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:

Kate Nash

Diana Beaumont

Hattie Grunewald

Lina Langlee

 

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:

Aria Fiction, Head of Zeus

Charlotte Ledger, HarperCollins

Keshini Naidoo and Lindsay Mooney, Hera Books

Simon & Schuster

 

Tickets for the Industry Awards Presentation are available here.

 

Read on for more information about all our shortlistees…

 

Inclusion Award

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.

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 television. Julie’s latest novel, 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.

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. The Rainbow Chapter marched for the first time in Pride in London this year, with the message LOVE STORIES ARE FOR EVERYONE; their plans for 2020 include an outreach workshop for LGBTQ+ authors.

The Pink Heart Society

The Pink Heart Society (PHS) is a monthly online magazine-format website which celebrates, supports and promotes all things romance novel, writing, publishing and reading related, spreading the heartfelt belief that love is love in a positive and fully inclusive manner.

Laura Macdougall, United Agents

Laura has worked in publishing for almost ten years, first as an editor and now as an agent at United Agents. Laura has built a wide-ranging, eclectic list of both fiction and non-fiction, reflecting her own tastes as a reader. The majority of her list is made up of LGBTQ writers and Laura is always keen to champion under-represented voices and stories.

 

Library of the Year

Harrogate Library
Harrogate Library is the largest Library in North Yorkshire and was recently crowned The Bookseller’s ‘Library of the Year’.

Books are very much at the heart of what is on offer, with over 12,000 adult fiction titles to choose from.  As well as promoting well-known authors such as Anna Jacobs, Nora Roberts and M.C. Beaton, the library also holds regular book events for local readers and writers.  These include ‘Books and Beverages’, which brings authors and readers together every fortnight, and self-publishing workshops to encourage new writers.  Promoting Yorkshire Authors also hold monthly panel talks in the library, many of which have been uploaded as podcasts.

Jersey Library

The island of Jersey has had a public library service since 1742 with money and an extensive collection of books donated by founder Rev Philip Falle.

Now in their third building which was opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on 25th May 1989, the purpose built premises allowed for the amalgamation of the Adult Lending Service, Children’s Department, Reference Library and Local Studies Collection all in one place.

The service has changed greatly since 1989 which continues to house all the departments as well as offering study space, meeting rooms, quiet study rooms, co-working space for business start-ups and an Eagle Lab offering 3D printing and more. Two Open Learning departments give access to 24 computers with four scanners, four microfilm readers and printing facilities. A schools and homes service is also run from the library.

The meeting rooms have enabled Jersey library to offer events and talks from local and visiting UK authors as well as local interest groups. They are committed to supporting local talent and have hosted many talks, book launches and signings by local novelists.

Kingswinford Library

Kingswinford library is a well-used community resource for Kingswinford and the surrounding area.

All aspects of the library service are extensively used by its customers including use of public access computers, two thriving reading groups and attendance to library events. Children’s events are particularly well attended.

Customers regularly loan or reserve titles thanks to enthusiastic staff promoting reader development. Kingswinford library is supported by Friends of Kingswinford and Wordsley libraries, which has increased Kingswinford library’s profile, positioning it as a vital part of the community.

Redditch Library

Redditch library is located in the heart of the town centre,  and delivers a wide range of services for the whole community, including adult learning classes, job clubs and job fairs, Digital Champions offering support to get online and social connecting groups. They offer a wide ranging book collection that meets the needs and preferences of local residents and are delighted to be recognised by being nominated for this award.

 

Romantic Bookseller of the Year

Goldsboro Books

Book collectors and friends David Headley and Daniel Gedeon started Goldsboro Books in 1999 with plans to sell exclusively online. Fast forward 20 years and the business, which is now located at 23-27 Cecil Court, has seven employees, is in proud possession of the largest First Edition Book of the Month Club, and boasts a turnover of £1.1m.

Waterstones Birmingham

Waterstones in Birmingham is the tallest bookshop in the country, trading over six floors with a wide range of books and gifts to suit all ages. They are also home to Waterstones Cafe, situated on the first floor. The building dates back to the 1930s and was given a new look in 2015 when it was completely re-vamped, giving a shop that the friendly and knowledgeable team are very proud of.

 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 our stocked titles signed by the authors as possible.

WHSmith Salisbury

WHSmith Salisbury loves to celebrate local writers, and the team enjoys being able to give writers a platform to speak to their readers through events, as well as through book sales. The shop has something for everyone, and the Salisbury team is particularly committed to promoting the love of reading from an early age – their recent store transformation includes a new children’s book section, complete with bean bags and tables, so children can relax while they choose their latest books.

 

Media Star of the Year

Anne Williams

Anne Williams is a book blogger and reviewer, at Being Anne (http://beinganne.com): the blog is now approaching seven years old. She lives in Wetherby in Yorkshire, and took early retirement five 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 couple of years ago, when she became carer for her mother, who has dementia: the travel has had to stop for a while, but nothing can come between Anne and the reading. Her blog has won the Best Pal award at the Annual Bloggers’ Bash for three years running.

Rachel Gilbey

Rachel Gilbey started her popular blog, Rachel’s Random Reads, four years ago. She loves reading a wide range of genres, but particularly enjoys contemporary fiction. She lives in London, which is useful for attending book events, and indulging her passion for West End musical theatre.

Caroline O’Donoghue

Caroline O’Donoghue is the author of Promising Young Women and the forthcoming Scenes of a Graphic Nature and a young adult fantasy series, All Our Hidden Gifts. She is also the host of Sentimental Garbage, a podcast where guests are invited to talk about “the chick-lit that made us who we are”. Although going less than a year, Sentimental Garbage has already been nominated for London Book Fair’s podcasting award, and has been featured in The Irish Times, The AV Club, The Guardian and Red Magazine. The early success of the podcast is proof that, for a long time now, readers have been desperate for an outlet where books that are often dismissed as sentimental, trashy or formulaic are not just afforded the respect they deserve, but are given the same level of critique and analysis as any other form of literary fiction.

UKRomChat

#UKRomChat is a live Twitter chat for romance writers, both published and unpublished, and the wider romance community. The current team consists of Jeanna Skinner, Lucy Flatman and Lucy Keeling. Every fortnight a guest author or publishing industry professional answers ten questions about their book, business or writing process. The final question is always “What do you love about creating Happily Ever Afters?”

Since launching in 2018, #UKRomChat has been successful beyond its founders’ wildest dreams, something they couldn’t have achieved without the support of the romance community. Guests have included Harlequin editors, literary agents and award-winning bestselling authors. The aim was to create a fun, friendly, positive and supportive space for all, regardless of background, physical abilities, race, gender or sexual orientation, because they firmly believe that romance IS for everyone.

 

Agent of the Year

Kate Nash

Kate Nash suspects she is the UK’s only literary agent to have come into publishing in the first place via the RNA’s own New Writers Scheme. In 2009 she founded the Kate Nash Literary Agency Ltd, which has gone on to become one of the UK’s foremost independent literary agencies, specialising in bestselling commercial fiction and non-fiction for adults, young adults and children. She enjoys championing romantic fiction and works with authors who can make her fall in love with their characters.

Diana Beaumont

Diana Beaumont worked in publishing as a senior commissioning editor before her move into agenting. She was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2012 and represents smart, feminist commercial fiction and non-fiction. Clients include Daisy Buchanan, Lucy Vine, Eva Woods, Nancy Revell, Tanya Atapattu, Fiona Collins and Alice Peterson.

Hattie Grunewald

Hattie Grunewald 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. Previously she was an agent at Blake Friedmann agency. Her RNA clients include Catherine Miller, Sue Fortin, Roxane Dhand and Drew Davies.

Lina Langlee

Lina Langlee joined the Kate Nash Agency in 2018 after working in publishing for several years. She likes stories where the voice hooks you immediately, and books that make you laugh or cry, or ideally both. Having only agented for a year she already represents some fabulous RNA authors such as Christina Courtenay, Rachel Dove, Natalie Normann and Sandy Barker.

 

Publisher of the Year

Aria Fiction, Head of Zeus

Aria fiction is the digital-first imprint from independent publisher Head of Zeus. Aria pride themselves on working closely with both debut and established authors, nurturing their careers and continuously building bestsellers. They have a nimble and individual approach to their publishing, and put authors at the heart of everything they do. With a small, hands-on team, they’re always looking at innovative ways to break boundaries in a competitive commercial market. They’ve enjoyed success across their list this year, and look forward to championing romance in the industry for many years to come.

Charlotte Ledger, HarperCollins

Charlotte Ledger is Editorial Director at HarperCollins UK. She acquires for the Harper Fiction list and heads up the brand new digital-first division, One More Chapter, publishing an exciting list of bestsellers such as Glynis Peters and Zara Stoneley.

Charlotte works on authors across commercial fiction including Irish Times and Kindle bestseller Carmel Harrington, Debbie Johnson, who has now sold over a million copies of her books, and the Kindle #1 and USA Today bestseller Sue Fortin.

Keshini Naidoo and Lindsay Mooney, 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.

Simon & Schuster

Championing the varied and diverse work of romantic fiction is the heart of Simon & Schuster’s Books and the City community.  They publish, amongst others, previous RNA winners Milly Johnson, Iona Grey, Catherine Isaac and Santa Montefiore, Sunday Times bestselling authors Paige Toon, Jackie Collins, Rachel Hore and Patrica Scanlan, and, through their industry first initiative – #DigitalOriginals – have launched the hugely successful careers of Heidi Swain, Holly Hepburn, Penny Parkes and Juliet Ashton. They are committed to building a culturally diverse publishing list, and bringing stories for readers to fall in love with regardless of age, race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, social circumstance or disability status, to the shelves of bookshops and libraries far and wide.

 

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