Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Joan Hessayon Awards 2016 by Sophie Claire

"You all feel like winners on the night" a good friend told me, referring to the Romantic Novelists' Association's (RNA) Joan Hessayon Awards. She was so right.

The award is given in honour of romantic writer, Joan Hessayon

I figured there can't be many times in a writer's life when your book is up for an award, so I booked a hotel, dug out a dress and heels, and caught the train to London seeing the trip as a treat for myself.

The Joan Hessayon Award is awarded each year to a writer whose book has passed through the New Writers' Scheme and subsequently been published.

The 14 contenders for the Joan Hessayon award 2016
There were fourteen contenders this year and it was lovely to meet the other authors, some of whom I 'know' from Twitter. It was also a great opportunity to meet my fellow Accent authors as four of us were in the shortlist.

The evening passed in a blur of posing for photographs and chatting with new friends and old, and before I knew it last year's winner, Brigid Coady, was giving a short speech about what the win has meant for her. 

The contenders were each in turn presented with certificates, then - drumroll - the winner was announced, and it was:

Clare Harvey for her novel, The Gunner Girl.

Champagne glasses were raised in celebration!

Research - honest!

Next day I took things easy, and made the most of staying near Covent Garden to explore and do some window shopping. I even managed to squeeze in some research for the novel I'm currently working on.

I know, it's a hard life!


Sources and links:
The Romantic Novelists' Association
Clare Harvey's website
Thanks also to John Jackson for his photo

Sophie Claire's (shortlisted!) novel is currently 99p from Amazon


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Susie, and thanks for coming over to speak to me - it was a bit nerve-wracking to arrive on my own!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Jo, really sorry I couldn't be there. I see you had a lovely evening. In a lovely dress... Congratulations. Publication is such a big achievement. anne

    1. Thanks Anne. Sorry you weren't there too! Hope to catch up soon.x

  4. Congratulations, Sophie. What a wonderful achievement being short-listed. Sounds as though you enjoyed an amazing couple of days. : )

    1. Thanks Rae. Yes it was a lovely break and an exciting experience!x

  5. It was lovely to see you, Sophie, and congratulations on your nomination for the Joan Hessayon Award. Covent Garden isn't a bad spot for doing research! Wishing you much success with your novels.

    1. Thanks Anita. Was lovely to see you too!x ;)


We love to hear from you, so don't be shy . . .