• The Romantic Novelists’ Association has announced the shortlist for its prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. This year there are no fewer than seventeen contenders from all over the UK and abroad.

    Commenting on this year’s shortlist, Pia Fenton, current RNA Chairman, said, “As always, the list of contenders shows the incredible diversity of RNA authors and I am absolutely delighted that there is such a bumper crop of graduates from our New Writers’ Scheme this year. It shows that romantic fiction continues to go from strength to strength and that our mentoring really works.”

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

    The full shortlist for 2014 is:

    • Celia J Anderson Sweet Proposal, Piatkus
    • Elaine Everest Gracie’s War, Pulse
    • Helena Fairfax The Silk Romance, MuseItUp
    • Sue Fortin United States of Love, Harper Impulse
    • Kathryn Freeman Too Charming, Choc Lit
    • Jessica Gilmore The Return of Mrs Jones, Harlequin Mills & Boon
    • Laura E James Truth or Dare?, Choc Lit
    • Jennie Jones The House on Burra Burra Lane, Harlequin Australia
    • Alison May Sweet Nothing, Choc Lit
    • Teresa F. Morgan Plus One is a Lucky, Number Harper Impulse
    • Jane O’Reilly Once a Bad Girl, Escape
    • Helen Phifer The Ghost House, Carina UK
    • Jill Steeples Desperately Seeking Heaven, Carina UK
    • Jo Thomas The Oyster Catcher, Accent Press
    • Lin Treadgold Goodbye Henrietta Street, Safkhet Publishing
    • Susan Willis Yes Chef, No Chef, Endeavour
    • Jennifer Young Thank You For the Music, Tirgearr Publishing

    Images of the authors and books can be found in our photo galleries:


    The New Writers’ Scheme has been run by the RNA since 1962 and is unique among professional writing associations. It aims to encourage fresh talent in the writing of romantic novels that reflect all aspects of love and life, contemporary or historical.

    Manuscripts submitted under the scheme are from unpublished authors and are read by an experienced writer or editor who provides invaluable feedback. Any manuscript that is subsequently published as a debut novel is eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award. All eligible books are judged by a panel of experienced RNA members who are already published authors.

    The Award itself will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on 22nd May in London


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