One hundred and fifty-eight novels, from twenty-four publishers have been submitted for the 50th Romantic Novel of the Year Award, presented by the Romantic Novelists' Association. Eleven of the books were penned by male authors, a record number of men.
RNA Chair Katie Fforde said it was an impressive array of wonderful titles for the Association's golden anniversary year. 'There is really something for everyone and each one a gem,' she said.
A shortlist of six titles (to be announced on February 11th) will be selected and sent to the final judges.
This year's judges are Sharon Gurney, Senior Book Buyer at Sainsbury's, responsible for buying titles for both chart and range. She says romantic fiction is incredibly important to Sainsubury's "I'm delighted to be part of this judging panel and I'd really like to see the award acknowledged not just in the world of publishing but also by retailers and ultimately the consumer."
The author of two non-fiction titles, Alyson Rudd was a financial reporter before becoming a sports reporter, and ran The Times Book Club. She is pleased to be to reading novels that will take her mind off football for a few hours. 'I am looking forward to reading some of the very best romantic novels that will, hopefully, tug at my heart strings and offer a few surprises,' she said.
The third judge is Moira Briggs, from the literary website Vulpes Libris, who says there are few things quite as adept at lifting the spirits as a well-crafted romance. 'Although being asked to choose the best of the best is a bit daunting, I'm delighted to play a small part in raising the profile of a genre that comes in for far more than its fair share of slings and arrows.'
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 16th 2010 at the Award Luncheon at the Royal Garden Hotel, in Kensington.
The complete longlist of twenty novels(in alphabetical order of author):
The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison, Alma Books
Passion by Louise Bagshawe, Headline Review
Beachcombing by Maggie Dana, Pan Macmillan
Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson, Avon (Harper Collins)
Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon, Hodder & Stoughton
A Single to Rome by Sarah Duncan, Headline Review
A Mother's Hope by Katie Flynn, Arrow (Random House)
A Glimpse at Happiness by Jean Fullerton, Orion
10 Reasons Not to Fall in Love by Linda Green, Headline Review
Marriage and Other Games by Veronica Henry, Orion
The Glass Painter's Daughter by Rachel Hore, Simon & Schuster
It's the Little Things by Erica James, Orion
I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk, Harper
The Heart of the Night Judith Lennox Headline Review
The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore, Hodder & Stoughton
The Summer House by Mary Nichols, Allison & Busby
One Thing Led to Another by Katy Regan, Harper
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, Little Brown (Sphere)
Last Christmas by Julia Williams, Avon (Harper Collins)
The Hidden Dance by Susan Wooldridge, Allison & Busby
You can view more romance fiction here.
With thanks to Camden Lock Books for flagging this up!