One of the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards will next year be sponsored by Simon & Schuster UK's women’s fiction community, Books and the City.
Books and the City, a project launched by S&S UK nine years ago as a multi-platform project aimed at fans of commercial women’s fiction, will sponsor the RNA's Romantic Comedy award in 2019.
The RNA awards are the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction. For next year, they will also include the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year, the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel of the Year, the Books and the City Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year, a Fantasy Romantic Novel of the Year, a Shorter Romantic Novel of the Year Award and a Debut Romantic Novel of the Year Award sponsored by author Katie Fforde. The RNA will also continue to present an Outstanding Achievement Award to a writer who has made an extraordinary contribution to the field of romantic fiction, chosen from member nominations.
The association’s chair Nicola Cornick said: "There could be no more exciting match than between the dynamic Books and the City fiction community and the RNA’s Romantic Comedy of the Year Award. We are thrilled to be working with Books and the City and developing ongoing links with Simon & Schuster."
Books and the City brand director Sara-Jade Virtue said: "Championing the varied and diverse work of romantic fiction authors is at the heart and soul of everything we do at Books and the City, and we look forward to watching the development of the new RNA Inclusivity Initiatives with much excitement."
Last week the association's five industry award winners were announced during its winter party, held in the Library at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London.
Publisher of the Year went to Rachel Faulkner-Willcocks, Avon's commissioning editor, for her joint runner ups named as Laura McCallen, editorial director at Canelo, and S&S UK's editor Emma Capron. Amanda Preston from LBA took the Agent of the Year with Kate Nash, from Kate Nash Literary Agency, and Juliet Pickering, from Blake Friedmann, as joint runners-up.
Romantic Bookseller of the Year went to store manager Elizabeth Shaw accepted the award on behalf of Waterstones, Truro, while David Headley and team at Goldsboro Books were joint runners-up with Andrew Sellers and the team from Blackwells, Leeds.
Sharon Hunt, from Kingswinford Library in Dudley, won Librarian of the Year, for being committed to supporting and promoting romantic fiction through library events, reviews, and publicity, the RNA said. Runner-ups Will Cooban from Bexley Libraries, and Ben Woodfine from Bedford Libraries, were nominated "for their continual support and proactivity, and for bringing romantic fiction events to their region".
Meanwhile blogger Kaisha Holloway from The Writing Garnet was awarded Media Star of the Year "for her great support for authors and her honest, detailed and reflective reviews", the RNA said. Fellow bloggers Anne Cater, from Random Things Through My Letterbox and Rachel Gilbey, from Rachel's Random Reads, were joint runners-up.
The RNA also recently released a raft of inclusivity initiatives, including the launch of 10 new bursaries aimed at supporting a more diverse range of romantic fiction.
Further sponsorship announcements will be made next year.