Bookseller Matthew Bates, TV scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield and a group of eight women, known as The Romaniacs, were all crowned the winners at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s inaugural Industry Awards yesterday evening (18th November), recognising those who have contributed to the success and sales of romantic fiction.
The three awards for Bookseller of the Year, Best Adaptation of a Novel and Media Star were presented in front of an audience of romance writers, publishers and agents at a ceremony in London.
WHSmith Travel book buyer, Matthew Bates (pictured) was awarded the Bookseller of the Year Award for “his enthusiasm and passion for books”, nominated on the basis that he is an “undeniable and as a self-confessed romance fan” who “has championed many of our members’ books, turning them into bestsellers.”
Runner up for the prize was Michael Korel from Waterstones Camden, recognised for his committed support of the genre, particularly in promoting indie Romance writers.
Responsible for the hugely successful Poldark series, described by the RNA as a “faithful adaptation” of the original novel by Winston Graham - a former judge in the early days of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award - theatre and television writer Debbie Horsfield won Best Adaptation of a Novel.
Runner up was Jamie Patterson, independent film director from Jumpstart Productions, who adapted RNA member Cally Taylor’s novel, Home for Christmas.
The final award of the evening for Media Star went to The Romaniacs, eight romance writers who banded together to create a popular blogging and social media phenomenon. They first met online three years ago as members of the RNA’s New Writers Scheme, describing themselves as ‘kindred spirits with a love for writing’. The name The Romaniacs was an error of a mistyped tweet, it has been revealed, that stuck. They have been described as “a source of constant inspiration in their quest to become published and in their unbounded generosity supporting and promoting other authors”. Five of the original eight have now secured publishing deals, they’ve published their own anthology, and between them they have notched up several short story awards wins.
Runner up for the Media Star award was Radio Gorgeous, launched in 2012, which broadcasts “podcasts for bold, intelligent and vibrant women and aims to entertain, communicate, amuse, provoke and enthuse”. The Gorgeous team has been particularly supportive of women authors in their interviews and broadcasts.
Commenting on the inaugural awards, Eileen Ramsay, chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, said: “Within the romance publishing industry, there is a real will to collaborate with and support each other. These awards are an opportunity for us as an organisation to say thank you to those in the industry who make a difference to romance book sales.”
Goldsboro Books, which only a week ago announced its renewed sponsorship of the HWA's Crown Award, will sponsor the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2016, taking place on Monday 7th March 2016 at the Gladstone Library in South West London. Katie Fforde, president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, made the announcement to a packed audience of RNA members. She said: “Bookshops are disappearing at a terrific rate and we are thrilled that one of the best bookshops in the country is sponsoring the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Authors and publishers need the support of bookshops and this is a perfect way of celebrating that collaboration.”
David Headley, owner of Goldsboro Books and founder of DHH Literary Agency, said: ”Part of the success of Goldsboro Books has come from the very close relationships that we’ve built with publishers and authors over the years. The RNA is an organisation that mirrors this type of collaboration within the industry and therefore it seemed fitting to sponsor the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Although romance in its own right is a huge genre, you’ll also find the themes of romance in so many other genres and in the huge range of books we sell.”