Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Pure Passion Awards 2010

This was always going to be a very special event. Not only is 2010 the RNA’s Golden Anniversary, it is also fifty years since the Romantic Novel of the Year was first awarded. A fabulous party was obviously in order – and fabulous parties are something the RNA does with aplomb! The champagne reception before lunch was a glamorous melee of writers, agents, editors, and the other great and the good of the publishing industry; the meal a sophisticated three-course affair of melon, guinea fowl, and a specially created chocolate dessert; whilst the tables were beautifully decorated with artfully stacked pink gift boxes and sprinkled with Galaxy ‘Minstrels’ and golden heart-shaped chocolates.
It was fitting to have someone of the stature of Barry Norman (possibly the ultimate contender for the title of ‘Thinking Woman’s Crumpet’) to present the awards. Barry is no stranger to the world of publishing, and has not only written a number of books himself but is married to Ariana Franklin, the historical novelist. He told us that writers were the group of people he admired most in the world – even more than his sporting idols – and described the assembled audience as ‘the José Mourinho’s of the written word’.
The presentation of the awards themselves also had a number of fresh twists: as well as four new prize categories, those short-listed for the main award each gave a little pre-recorded speech and these were then shown in between the other presentations. This increased the (already overwhelming) sense of anticipation and gave the audience a chance to get to know the nominees a little – a splendid innovation.
The afternoon was rounded off with goody-bags containing more scrummy chocolate and an edition of Loves Me, Loves Me Not. As Chairman Katie Fforde aptly put it, this was ‘an extra fabulous event for our Fiftieth Anniversary’. Well done, RNA.

The People's Choice Award: Missing You by Louise Douglas (Pan)

Love Story of the Year: Animal Instincts by Nell Dixon (Little Black Dress)

Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year: The Nearly-Weds by Jane Costello (Simon and Shuster)

The Harry Bowling Prize for New writing: Fear No Evil by Debbie Johnson

Romantic Film of the Year: An Education by Lynn Barber (Penguin)

Romantic Novel of the Year: Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon (Hodder and Stoughton)

There were also lifetime achievement awards for the wonderful Maeve Binchy and Joanna Trollope.

A brilliant event to celebrate brilliant books and, as nominee for Love Story of the Year Nina Harrington put it, the real prize wasn't winning, it was simply being shortlisted for such a prestigious award. Huge congratulations to all those nominated - winners or not - you are all fabulous!

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