Author Milly Johnson (pictured) collected the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award last night as HarperCollins triumphed to win three awards.
RNA Chair Alison May said: “The quality of the shortlists for the awards this year was breathtaking, and the winning novels demonstrate the breadth and strength of romantic fiction.”
Writer and performer Jenny Eclair revealed the winners of each category and presented them with crystal trophies at an event in London, 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.
Pictured left to right: Anstey Harris, Sue Moorcroft, guest presenter Jenny Eclair, Milly Johnson, RNA Vice Chair Imogen Howson, compère Jane Wenham Jones, Samantha Tonge, Ruth Hogan (kneeling), Mary Jayne Baker, Jenni Fletcher, Tania Crosse, Lorna Cook.
Accepting her award, Johnson said: "What an absolute honour this is. I can’t tell you what a dreamlike state I’m in. I know it’s not a dream because I’m fully dressed and my ex-husband isn’t chasing me with an axe through a field of syrup - but I’m sure I’m not the only one here who pinches themselves and remembers back to those days when you wanted to see a book with your name on it so much that it hurt and now you have loads of them and you think, how the bloody hell did that happen?"
HarperCollins authors did the triple with Lorna Cook's The Forgotten Village (Avon) winning the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award and Avon stablemate Sue Moorcroft winning the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award for A Summer to Remember. Jenni Fletcher completed the hat-trick with Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess (Mills & Boon Historical) taking home the Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award.
Head of Zeus imprint Aria Fiction won two prizes with the Romantic Saga Award going to The Street of Broken Dreams by Tania Crosse and Mary Jayne Baker's A Question of Us scooping the Romantic Comedy Novel Award.
Ruth Hogan's Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel (Two Roads) won the Fantasy Romantic Novel Award while Hachette stablemate Natasha Lester won the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award for The French Photographer (Sphere). Completing the prize-winners, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton (Simon & Schuster) by Anstey Harris won the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award and Samantha Tonge's Knowing You (Canelo) took home the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award.