Guest Fern Britton with the 2016 RoNA Award winners and Outstanding Achievement recipients.
Iona Grey triumphed over fellow competing authors to win the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s highest accolade, The Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year, with Letters to the Lost, published by Simon & Schuster. Fern Britton presented Iona with her trophies and a cheque for £5000 at a star-studded event, compèred by Jane Wenham-Jones.
Iona Grey was the winner of the Historical Romance Novel of the Year category. Her book then went forward, along with those of the five other category winners – Contemporary, Epic, Romantic Comedy, RoNA Rose and Young Adult – to contest the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) most coveted award, the Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year.
A panel of independent judges read the six category winners’ novels before meeting to debate the finer points of each book. The panel included Matt Bates of WHSmith Travel; Sarah Broadhurst, formerly The Bookseller; novelist Elizabeth Buchan; Dorothy Burrows, Programme Director of the Wantage Literary Festival; Alison Flood, Guardian.co.uk; and Karin Stoecker, ex-Editorial Director, Harlequin Books.
The judges described Letters to the Lost as “A skilfully told story with captivating characters, convincing and compelling. Beautifully done.”
Eileen Ramsay, Chairman of the RNA, said, “I loved this heart breaking love story, a worthy winner in an extremely professional shortlist. Absolutely perfect.”
David Headley, Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, commented, “This wonderful range of books demonstrates the breadth and depth of the genre and illustrates its enduring popularity and appeal to a wide and discerning audience.”
Romantic Novel of the Year Category Winners
Prior to announcing the overall award winner, Fern Britton revealed the winners of the individual categories and presented them with star-shaped crystal trophies.
The winners were:
Melanie Hudson, The Wedding Cake Tree, Choc Lit
Winner Contemporary Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960, and can include chick lit, paranormal and romantic suspense)
Emma Hannigan, The Secrets We Share, Headline Review
Winner Epic Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for novels containing serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories)
Iona Grey, Letters to the Lost,Simon & Schuster
Winner Historical Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for novels set in a period before 1960)
Milly Johnson, Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café, Simon & Schuster
Winner Romantic Comedy Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for consistently humorous or amusing novels)
Annie O’Neil, Doctor… To Duchess?, Mills & Boon Medical Romance
Winner RoNA Rose Award
(for category/series and shorter romance)
Lucy Inglis, Crow Mountain, Chicken House
Winner Young Adult Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(featuring protagonists who are teenagers or young adults)
Outstanding Achievement Awards
Anita Burgh is the author of twenty three novels, all published after she reached 50. Claire Lorrimer, who has written more than 100 novels, is the daughter of the RNA’s first President, best-selling novelist Denise Robins. Both Anita and Claire were presented with outstanding achievement awards for their continued championing of the RNA and romantic fict