At the presentation of the 2012 RoNA Awards

As the title of my blog suggests, I’m going to be writing about my world, or, to put it another way,ย  I shall be jotting down bits & pieces about my life – and about writing – from week to week.

I’m a writer so it’s not surprising that much of my life centres around the writing world to which I belong. At the heart of this world lies the Romantic Novelists’ Association (the RNA), and since we’ve just had one of the RNA’s annual events, I thought I’d tell you about it today.

My focus is the people there, rather than what was said in the speeches. Shallow? Moi??

First of all, for those who haven’t heard of the RoNAs, they’re the annual awards given by the RNA for the very best in romantic fiction. Six RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) were announced at the ceremony yesterday.

Five of the RoNA categories are open only to books that are already out in paperback – these are the awards for Best Contemporary/Epic/Romantic Comedy/Historical/Young Adult Romantic Novels.

Each of the five winning books goes to a panel of judges, and the panel selects the Best of the Best. The winning book – The Romantic Novel of the Year – will be announced at the RNA‘s Summer Party in May.

The sixth RoNA Rose Award celebrates shorter/category romantic fiction, either in hardback or paperback.

The venue for the event was the Gladstone Library in One Whitehall Place, on the Embankment, virtually opposite the London Eye. To get to the Library, we had to climb the magnificant circular staircase.

I was early – I usually am – but I was far from the first person there. The shortlisted authors were already there, and were having their photos taken. Whilst this was going on, I wandered over to the window and couldn’t resist taking a photo of the lovely view. Alas, I fear that I haven’t done justice to it.

The view from One Whitehall Place

In addition to writers and photographers, there were also tables of shortlisted books. And pretty soon, there was pink champagne, too.

In the Reception area

Books & other necessities of life



The line-up of the RoNA Rose shortlistees.

Large numbers of people started arriving, and I wandered around, saying hello to friends, and taking photos whenever I remembered. Annoyingly, I didn’t photograph my friend, Alison, who did sterling work for me, holding my glass of champagne every time I angled the camera. Without Alison, I would have had pink fizz down the front of my top.

Barbara Alderton

Jenny Barden & Jean Fullerton

Fellow Choc Lit authors Margaret James & Linda Mitchelmore

Choc Lit's Christina Courtenay & Myra Kersner

The room got fuller and fuller as everyone crowded in, eagerly taking one of the glasses of champagne or juice proffered by the waiters who were everywhere. Thanks to Jenny Barden, I have a picture of several of us taken before too much champagne had been consumed.

Choc Lit authors Christina Courtenay & Sue Moorcroft, with Choc Lit MD Lyn Vernham

Choc Lit author Kate Johnson & her mother

Richard Fenton, Christina Courtenay, Myra Kersner, Me, Carol McGrath. Photo taken by Jenny Barden


We then went into the main room where we had canapรฉs and more fizz during a ceremony slickly hosted by author and columnist Jane Wenham Jones. The presentations were made by Sunday Times number one bestselling crime writer Peter James, who made a lively, entertaining speech.

A slightly fuzzy Julie Cohen, Liz Fenwick & Jane Wenham Jones, plus books

My table – one of the Choc Lit tables – was overjoyed that two Choc Lit authors, Christina Courtenay and Jane Lovering, won the Historical Romantic Novel Award and the Romantic Comedy Award, respectively. Katie Fforde won the Best Contemporary Romantic Novel; Caroline Green, the Young Adult Romantic Novel Award, and Rosie Thomas won the Best Epic Romantic Novel.

The RONA Rose Award was won by Sarah Mallory.

Hearty congratulations to all the winners!

We now have an agonising wait until the RNA Summer Party on 17th May to find out who has won the Romantic Novel of the Year 2012 Award.

When the ceremony was over, a number of people went to the restaurant downstairs, but a large group of us – me included – ended what had been a fabulous evening at the nearby Pizza Express. The perfect conclusion to a brilliant day!

Night has fallen, and the lights from within the room are reflecting against the window panes

At the Pizza Express


Saying hello to Kate Johnson's mum & Kate while we wait for the pizza to arrive. Photo taken by Barbara Alderton


Next Tuesday, the Oxford Chapter of the RNA meets for its monthly lunch. Since I’ve run the Ox Lunch for over six years now, it’s very much a part of my life, and I think that next week I’ll introduce you to the lunch venue and to some of the Ox lunchers.

Bye for now!

  • Great round-up, Liz! Lovely to see the photos and everyone looking so glam.

  • Liz:

    I caught the Reception at a time when it was half empty. When it was full, it was resplendent. Such a shame you missed the do. But not that long to the Summer Party!

  • It was lovely to see you at the RNA awards, Liz. I love your pictures – a great reminder of a lovely afternoon!

  • Jan Brigden:

    Fabulous photos, Liz! Thanks so much for posting. Looks like a great time was had by all. So exciting to read all about the award winners and speeches x

  • Lovely blog, Liz, and lovely photos. Now seeing that spiral staircase you had to climb, I’m not quite so sorry I couldn’t come!

    • Liz:

      There was a lift, too, and a number of people used that. It wouldn’t have photographed quite so dramatically, though ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Rebecca Leith:

        I used the lift, Lesley, due to shoe malfunction!

        Lovely post, Liz, and wonderful photos. I also had camera malfunction, which was a great shame.

  • Fabulous photography, Liz. You could be the official RNA photographer in your spare time. What? Spare time?? Ha, ha! Hoping to come to the RNA Summer bash. Will see you there. ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    • Liz:

      At least, none of the photos is upside down. Result! I do hope you make the Summer Party. It sounds as if it’ll be great fun. x

  • Jan Sprenger:

    It was a brilliant afternoon and evening! So lovely meeting up with friends again. And Liz – well done for organising the night at Pizza Express.


    • Liz:

      I, too, really enjoyed the meal at the Pizza Express. It was a great way to finish the day. We have to thank Henri for that brilliant idea. x

  • What a great round up of the event, Liz. And such lovely photographs. I’m sad to have missed it, it seems like it was a great day.


  • Gilli Allan:

    Lovely pics Liz. A fab event. I wish I’d been there. Gillix

  • Catherine Miller:

    Lovely post, Liz. Lovely to see how the day went and the fact a large number of you ended up in Pizza Express – you’re so my kind of girls ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Your turn next year with any luck ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • Liz:

      Many thanks, Katie, Gilli and Lucie. You were missed. But the good news is that there are lots of brill RNA events throughout the year, and I very much hope to see you at one of them soon.

  • Barbara Alderton:

    What a great blog, Liz!

    It was fun, wasn’t it? I’ve never been to Pizza Express before and I really enjoyed the meal.

    • Liz:

      Many thanks. I thought the meal great fun. Being with a large group, who were all out to enjoy themselves – it couldn’t not be good. x

  • Thanks for sharing this Liz. I’m definitely hoping to attend the Summer Party!

  • What a lovely post with great photos Liz. Hope to make it next year.

  • Love the pictures and the report too. It was an absolutely fabulous evening. Thank you for posting all this whilst it is still so fresh.

    • Liz:

      Thanks, Carol! I love having pictorial reminders of events like these. I must try to capture more friends on film at the Summer Party. x

  • Great post Liz – looooove all the photos. A wonderful day for Choc Lit! Sx

    • Liz:

      Hi, Sarah! Thank you for the comment. Yes, it was a terrific day for Choc Lit. Hopefully, it’ll be repeated in May. x

  • Hang on…we went to Pizza Express? Ah, that explains the anchovies I found in my bag…

    Lovely photographs, Liz (how did I manage to avoid being in any?) and wasn’t it a wonderful event? The organisers obviously worked their socks off to pull off such a glam evening.

    • Liz:

      So that’s why there were no anchovies on my Four Seasons!!

      Next time there’ll be two pics of you, Jane. Knowing my skill with the camera, you may well come to wish that you hadn’t said anything!

  • i enjoy your blog posts, thanks for posting this informative article.

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