Book covers and profile pics of the w RONA 2021 winners

The RNA announces WINNERS for the 2021 Romantic Novel Awards

Mike Gayle presented with Outstanding Achievement Award

Romantic Novel Awards 2021 logo

MONDAY 8th March 2021: We are delighted to announce the winners for our prestigious 2021 Romantic Novel Awards, and Mike Gayle was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the field of romantic fiction.

Actor Larry Lamb revealed the winners of each category in an online event, compèred by author and broadcaster Jane Wenham-Jones.

The RNA’s awards are the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction. In 2021 they comprise the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Comedy Novel Award, the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Romantic Saga Award, the Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Libertà Shorter Romantic Novel Award and the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award.

RNA Chair Imogen Howson said, “In a year when we have had to deal with anxiety, isolation, lockdowns, and some very surprising product shortages, romantic fiction has remained a source of escapism and comfort – an almost literal lifeline.

The Romantic Novel Awards showcase some of the very best of romantic fiction, and I am delighted and proud to be part of an industry that gives so much happiness to so many people.”

To watch a recording of the 2021 Awards – click here

Romantic Novel of the Year Category Winners

Clare Pooley, The Authenticity Project, Bantam Press
Winner, The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award
(for the best romantic novel by a first-time author)

Kate Hardy, A Will, a Wish and a Wedding, Mills & Boon True Love
Winner, The Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award
(for the best shorter romantic novel)

Shirley Mann, Bobby’s War, Zaffre, Bonnier Books UK
Winner, The Romantic Saga Award
(for the best romantic novel featuring saga elements of characters overcoming social adversity, usually set in the past)

Carole Matthews, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, Sphere, Little, Brown
Winner, The Romantic Comedy Novel Award
(for the best romantic novel with consistent wit and humour)

Louise Douglas, The House by the Sea, Boldwood Books
Winner, The Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award
(for the best romantic novel with thriller, mystery, crime or suspense elements)

Christina Courtenay, Echoes of the Runes, Headline Review
Winner, The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award
(for the best romantic novel that includes paranormal or speculative elements)

Milly Johnson, My One True North, Simon & Schuster
Winner, The Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award
(for the best romantic novel set in the present world or society)

Catherine Tinley, Rags-to-Riches Wife, Mills & Boon Historical
Winner, The Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award
(for novels set in a period before 1970)

Julie Houston, Sing Me a Secret, Aria, Head of Zeus
Winner, The Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award
(for the most commercially successful and popular romantic novel of 2020 as voted for by book bloggers, librarians and booksellers)

Outstanding Achievement Award

Mike Gayle was born and raised in Birmingham. After graduating from Salford University with a degree in Sociology, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism and worked as a features editor and agony uncle. He has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, the Guardian and Cosmopolitan.

Mike became a full-time novelist in 1997 following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend, hailed by The Independent as ‘full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations’, and by The Times as ‘a funny, frank account of a hopeless romantic’. He has since written fifteen novels, including The Man I Think I Know, selected as a World Book Night title, and Half A World Away, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Birmingham with his wife, children and greyhound.

RNA President Katie Fforde said of the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award recipient, “Mike Gayle is a writer who isn’t afraid to tackle the difficult subjects and does it with the same skill and storytelling ability that his more conventional stories have.  He never lets his reader down.”

Since its inception in 1960 the RNA has promoted excellence in romantic fiction and RNA Chair, Imogen Howson, commented, “This year’s shortlists showcase, yet again, the wonderful variety of romantic fiction, with books from publishers large and small, from some authors who are household names and others who may well be the next big thing. In difficult times, the sales of romantic fiction rise, and these books—with all their humour, drama, excitement, and romance—remind us exactly why.”

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