The late agent Carole Blake has been honoured with the Agent of the Year award at the Romantic Novelists' Association's (RNA) second industry awards tonight (16th November).
The new award honoured Blake of Blake Friedmann, whose sudden death in October "stunned her many friends and colleagues in the publishing industry". Described as "a hard-working professional", with "an immense sense of fun", Blake was respected for her knowledge of the industry and loyalty to her clients, many whom became close friends.
The RNA’s deputy chairman Nicola Cornick presented the trophy to Blake’s colleagues Hattie Grünewald and Juliet Pickering. Grünewald said: “Carole was delighted to have been shortlisted for the Agent of the Year Award and would have been thrilled and honoured to have won. Carole was a keen supporter of the RNA over many years, and this award is a worthy acknowledgement for all she achieved for Romantic Fiction, and a lovely tribute to one of the best agents in the business.”
Lizzy Kremer, director and head of the books department for David Higham Associates and vice president of the Association of Authors' Agents was runner-up for the prize.
The RNA industry awards recognise those who have made a "significant contribution" to the success and sales of romantic fiction in 2016.
Some of the winners from the night
Bookseller of the Year Award went to Goldsboro Books’ managing director, David Headley, whose Romance in the Court event earlier in the year provided a "tremendous opportunity" for authors, agents, publishers and readers to meet and celebrate romantic fiction. Runner-up for the award was Blackwell’s Lancaster University branch.
The Media Star prize was presented to Kim Nash, publicity and social media manager at Bookouture, for her "extensive and creative promotion" of Bookouture titles. Runner-up in this category was Jo Good, presenter at BBC Radio London.
Best Adaptation of a Novel was awarded to Jojo Moyes for the film "Me Before You", which she adapted from her own novel of the same name. Runners-up were Diana Gabaldon and Ronald D. Moore for "Outlander", a film based on Gabaldon’s timeslip novels.
The final award of the evening, for Publisher of the Year, was won by Oliver Rhodes, managing director and publisher of Bookouture, for his "vision, drive and passion". Kimberley Young, publisher at HarperFiction, was runner up in the category.
Commenting on the awards, Eileen Ramsay, chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, said: “It's wonderful to see talent and hard work being recognised. The record number of nominations submitted this year shows how RNA members have truly embraced the Industry Awards, and how keen they are to acknowledge those who support romantic fiction at every stage.”