The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) has announced the shortlist for its prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

The shortlist is made up of authors whose debut novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme. Each year 250 places are offered to unpublished writers writing in the romance genre. As part of the scheme, they can submit a complete manuscript for critique by one of the Association’s published authors as well as attend RNA events which offer opportunities to meet and network with publishers, agents and other published authors.

This year’s contending novels include historical romance, contemporary romance and romantic comedy, and explore themes as diverse as frozen eggs, stalkers and adultery.

Commenting on this year’s shortlist, Pia Fenton, current RNA Chairman, said, “This year’s list of contenders once again demonstrates the depth and breadth of the work produced by RNA authors and I am absolutely thrilled that we have another superb group of graduates from our New Writers’ Scheme. The Scheme is unique to our association and it’s wonderful to see that it really works. Congratulations to everyone on the list and especially to the winner!”

Immi Howson, who runs the New Writers Scheme, commented, “The Scheme offers new writers fantastic opportunities to network with over 800 other members who have ‘been there and done it’. As a result they can, and frequently do, offer fantastic advice and a wealth of experience which is invaluable for anyone embarking on the difficult path to publication.”

The Award will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on Thursday 21st May at the Royal Over-Seas League, Park Place, London SW1A 1LR at 19.15.

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 2015 is:

  • Karen Aldous The Vineyard – Carina
  • Caitlyn Callery  The Bankrupt Viscount  – MuseItUp
  • Ashlinn Craven  Maybe Baby  – Crimson Romance
  • Brigid Coady No one Wants to be Miss Havisham – HarperImpulse
  • Joan Fleming  What the Future Holds  – Tirgearr
  • Kathy Jay  What If He’s The One  – HarperImpulse
  • Natalie Kleinman  Safe Harbour  – White Glove (originally published by Safkhet)
  • Nikki Moore Crazy Undercover Love  – HarperImpulse
  • Margaret Pardoe  Meant for Each Other  – DC Thomson novella
  • Janice Preston  Mary & the Marquis  – HMB Historical
  • Caroline Roberts  The Torn Up Marriage  – HarperImpulse
  • Heather Rosser  In the Line of Duty  – originally accepted for publication by Attica/published by New Generation Publishing
  • Georgina Troy  A Jersey Kiss  – Accent Press
  • Jules Wake  Talk to Me  – Choc Lit
  • Gwyneth Williams  Echoes in the Sand  – Endeavour Press

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.

Images of authors and books can be found in our photo gallery.



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