Brigid Coady has won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award for her book No One Wants to be Miss Havisham (HarperImpulse).
Coady was presented with the £1,000 prize for the award, given for new writers, at the RNA’s Summer Party, held this evening (21st May) at the Royal Overseas League in London.
No One Wants to be Miss Havisham follows Edie Dickens, a divorce lawyer who doesn’t believe in love and happily ever after. Haunted by the Ghosts of Weddings Past, Present and Future, she must change her ways before her best friend’s wedding or end up being damned to an eternity watching others’ happiness.
The judges for the award, which included new RNA chair Eileen Ramsay and outgoing chair, Pia Fenton, together with adjudicator and former RNA chair Anthea Kenyon, said the winning novel was “outstanding”, and selected it for its “sheer originality and wide range of emotions”.
The judges said. "No One Wants to be Miss Haversham is a great story, well written, fast paced and suspenseful. Great chemistry between hero and heroine – loved it."
Coady was selected as the winner from a shortlist of 15. Fenton said of the shortlist: "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 New Writers' Scheme is unique to our association and it's wonderful to see that it really works. Congratulations to all the authors on the shortlist.
“We offer our special congratulations to Brigid for her winning novel. The story is based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and this modern adaptation is done extremely well.”
The Joan Hessayon Award is 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 supporter of its New Writers' Scheme.