Did you really think I was going to talk about something else?

It was always on the cards that this post would be about the RNA Summer party – more pictures of people enjoying themselves.  To be posting following a Choc-lit double – Jane for the Novel of the Year and me (Me!) for the Joan Hessayon Award – well …

100_03352Jane’s prize, a lovely rose bowl, is self explanatory. The best romance of 2012. The Joan Hessayon Award is a little more complex.  Every year the Romantic Novelists’ Association takes on 250 unpublished writers as part of its membership.  Those writers submit a manuscript for a critique. It’s a unique chance for aspiring writers to get an opinion on their work from an expert, although all critiques are anonymous.  Also every year those who go through the scheme and achieve publication are entered for the RNA New Writers’ Award. The Joan Hessayon. This year was unprecedented as there were thirteen qualifiers. Some opted to enter the award next year, when their books are in print, so eight of us lined up last Thursday. Well, you know the rest – there are enough photos floating around on the Internet of me, with mascara running down my face, for you to know that I burst into tears.

For a new writer, the Joan Hessayon is very special. The Award is sponsored by Dr David Hessayon, in memory of his wife, who was a romantic author and a member of the RNA. Her picture appears on the certificates that the finalists receive. Dr Hessayon is the author of the ‘Expert’ series of gardening advice books. Knowing his name, and his connection with the RNA, I was delighted to see his achievement acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society in a time line commemorating the Queen’s Jubilee year, which appeared in The Garden magazine. Be Your Own Garden Expert, the first in the series, was published in 1958.

Everyone in the Joan Hessayon line up has achieved a dream.  They are all published authors. All winners, writing in a range of genres. I was glad to be amongst them, after many years of trying. To actually win the Award …

I don’t have the trophy. It was whisked out of my (shaking) hands before the end of the evening, to have my name engraved on it.  Mary, my official photographer, did manage to get a picture. Thanks Mary

Apparently I will get it back at the RNA Conference, in July. More cause for celebration.

16 thoughts on “Did you really think I was going to talk about something else?

  1. It’s a lovely picture, Evonne, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy displaying the trophy on your mantlepiece when you get it back with your name on it! Yes, definitely cause for more celebration at the conference 🙂

  2. It takes some polishing, that dish – I speak as one who knows, having been NWS Organiser for six years myself. Tip – don’t use that white paste stuff. It’s hell to get out of the engraving. I ended up washing it once, eek, and I used silver polishing cloths after that. Okay, household hints over, and all that’s left to say is HUGE CONGRATULATIONS, EVONNE!!!

  3. I think Choc Lit lifting BOTH trophies out of TWO is a bit like Northampton Town FC beating Man U, Leeds, Liverpool and Arsenal all at once. Fabby!

  4. Thanks, ladies, and especially Margaret, for the household hint. I was wondering about a silver polish cloth – I already have one of those. There is one advantage about not having Jane’s lovely trophy – any little accidents and she will need glue :):)

  5. You will indeed be re-presented with the trophy in the “Congratulations!” session at the Summer Conference, Evonne. Even as I write, it is wrapped up ready to take to the engraver.

    I’m lying. It’s sitting next to my screen for one more day, reminding me that I, too, won it in 2005 – best trophy IN THE WORLD!

  6. Congratulations again Evonne – a fabulous and well deserved achievement. So very pleased for you – and Choc Lit!

  7. Fabulous post & photo, Evonne. Absolutely thrilled for you and for all at Choc Lit x

  8. Congratulations, Evonne.
    Well done. I am thrilled for you.
    Lorraine x

  9. Many congratulations, Evonne, fabulous trophy on a fabulous evening for a fabulous book! And don’t even joke about me breaking mine…

  10. Thanks everyone. I think you are entitled to a little gloat, Jan, as you do so much to organise the party.

    And we can do it all again at the Conference!

  11. What an evening it was, Evonne! Again, congratulations on your success – may it be just one of many such awards.

    Liz X

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