Writer Milly Johnson has won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award for her “extraordinary contribution” to the genre.
Johnson will be presented with a trophy on 2nd March at the annual Romantic Novel Awards at the Leonardo Royal London City Hotel.
RNA president Katie Fforde said: "Milly Johnson is such a deserving recipient of this award. She is one of the shining stars of our industry."
The author, who had a series of previous jobs including writing greeting cards, turned to fiction after ending an “increasingly violent and abusive” marriage, the RNA said, moving back to her hometown of Barnsley with her two sons.
She submitted a story based on her pregnancy diaries to agent Darley Anderson and the resulting book, The Yorkshire Pudding Club, was snapped up by Simon & Schuster and published in 2004.
As her readership built, she appeared on TV show "Come Dine With Me" and won, leading to a spike in sales for her books and hundreds of marriage proposals.
She has now written 17 novels, with millions of copies of her books sold across the world, the RNA said. Her new novella The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe (Simon & Schuster), which will be published on 20th February, is billed as "a story of hope, resilience and the importance of community, kindness and friendship". A new novel, My One True North (Simon & Schuster), will be published in hardback on 5th March.
The RNA said in its announcement: "Milly’s life, like her writing, show that with drive and an indomitable spirit, life really can be magical."