When I won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Media Star of the Year award back in 2019, it was such a proud moment – there was something so special about being recognised by a group of people who write the books that constantly delight me and who have provided me with so many years of reading pleasure. The only small cloud on the night was the fact that one of the others on the shortlist was Rachel Gilbey – her second well-deserved appearance on the list, and I really had thought it was going to be her year. I was so moved by the generosity of her congratulations while watching me walk away with a title and trophy that she more than deserved – so much so, that I just had to write a post about it (you can read it again here).
Last year was a bit of an unusual one (in so many ways – I’ve always had a gift for understatement!). No Winter Party to celebrate everyone’s success, everything on line only – both Rachel and I were finalists again, and had the rather bizarre experience of recording our own acceptance speeches on camera in advance, to be shown if we were winners on the night. But last year’s award was won by Julie Morris and her excellent blog A Little Book Problem – my first thought was how much she deserved the accolade, but I will admit that my second thought was “thank goodness no-one will ever see my video”! And, of course, it did mean that Rachel was runner-up yet again – and that was her third time. So I was particularly delighted this year to see her name on the shortlist yet again – and what a wonderful list it is.
Kim Nash has such a well-deserved place – her Tuesday night book chats on Facebook really kept me going through the solitude of the last year, and they’re still a regular fixture in my diary (you can catch up here on any you might have missed). As well as being Head of Publicity for publisher Bookouture and a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk, she’s also a rather fine writer of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, feel-good, romantic fiction (you’ll find my special feature on her first two books here – and there are also reviews of Sunshine and Second Chances and Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove). She’s also a wonderful friend, checking on me regularly through all the ups and downs of this last difficult year – it’s something I so appreciated.
And then there’s Anita Faulkner – the Facebook group she set up, Chick Lit And Prosecco, is just fantastic, a celebration of romantic fiction and a cosy space for writers and readers to hang out and share their love of books. It’s such a great source of support to the writing (and reading) community, holding regular live author chats and writing festivals – Anita says that the group and its fantastic members make her proud every single day. And she’s a writer too, of what she calls ‘warm and fuzzy romcoms’ – her debut novel, A Colourful Country Escape, will be published by Sphere in June 2022.
I have no idea how on earth the RNA members decide who to vote for, and every one of these lovely ladies deserves a trophy this year for their efforts – but at least there’ll be a party this year for everyone to enjoy. Sadly, I can’t be there – I have a “moment” of my own a few days later, travelling to Exeter to appear on a blogger panel at the excellent LitFest (you’ll find their website here) – but I’ll certainly be there in spirit, cheering on the finalists in all the categories.
But enough – I have a press release to share. They asked Rachel which bloggers she’d like them to send her press release to – she chose both Julie (who was quicker off the mark than me – you’ll find her post here) and me, and I’m particularly thrilled to share her news. I’m sure it can’t have escaped your notice that a considerable number of my reviews begin with “my thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support”, and it’s always such a delight to be part of her tours – in fact, I can credit her with introducing me to so many romance authors I might not have otherwise discovered, and also blame her for the vast number of other review promises that I’ve failed to deliver (sorry, everyone!).
I wish all three of the ladies on the list the very best of luck on the night – they’re all winners in my book – but I’m sure they’ll forgive me if I confess that I’d really love to see Rachel finally raising the trophy this year!
London media star, Rachel Gilbey, has been shortlisted in the Media Star of the Year category for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual Industry Awards for 2021. The awards, which include four exciting new categories for this year, celebrate the hard work and talent of any person, group or organisation who has championed the broad genre of romantic fiction in a positive way.
Since starting her popular blog, Rachel’s Random Reads, over six years ago, Rachel has discovered just how much the book community means to her, and has even created her own ideal job of organising blog tours. She loves reading a wide range of genres, but particularly enjoys contemporary romantic fiction. She lives in London, which she says is useful for attending book events and indulging in her passion for West End musical theatre.
Rachel commented, “I am over the moon and completely shocked to be shortlisted for the fourth year in a row for this fabulous award. I never thought I’d be nominated for an award once, let alone four times, and maybe, just maybe this will be my year! Either way, my love of romance will never wane, and it truly is an honour to be nominated by the RNA which features so many authors that I love reading.”
Laura James, the RNA Industry Awards organiser, commented, “Despite the lockdowns, the isolations and difficult times we’ve endured over the last eighteen months, romantic fiction has continued to entertain, bring comfort, and provide an escape for our readers, and a substantial part of that is due to the dedication and calibre of the nominees in the Industry Awards categories.”
The awards have been held for the past seven years and are highly respected in the UK publishing industry. The shortlistees are nominated by the full and associate membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
The new award categories recognise the best Narrator, Named Cover Designer, Indie Editor, and Indie Champion of the Year. Along with the best Bookseller, Media Star, Agent, Publisher or Editor, Library or Librarian, and the Inclusion Award for championing inclusivity in romantic authorship and publishing, they spotlight the many professionals who promote and support romantic fiction.
The winners of the ten awards will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Winter Party and Industry Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ, on Thursday 28th October 2021 at 6.30pm.
ABOUT THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION
The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) is a professional body primarily for writers of romantic fiction. Founded in 1960 to provide a voice for romance authors and to be a network for writers, it continues to raise the prestige of romantic fiction and encourage romantic authorship. Their 1000+ membership includes writers across the spectrum of commercial and women’s fiction, along with publishing industry professionals, booksellers, and book reviewers. In addition to organising annual publishing awards, they also host a range of workshops, talks, networking events, a three-day annual conference, and provide support to unpublished authors through their New Writers’ Scheme.
For more information about the Romantic Novelists’ Association, please visit their website.
If you’re a blogger and would like to join me in hosting some of Rachel’s blog tours – I really do recommend it most highly – you can sign up here. And if you’re an author, wondering what she can offer to help you promote your writing, you’ll find all the information you need here.