The winner of the fifth Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance was announced last night at a gala evening at the Café de Paris, in London. Judged from over 90 entries, the winning novel from the short list of six was declared to be:
MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson
Our fabulous Novelicious writers Amanda Keats and Cesca Martin attended the event. Here's what happened….
Cesca: We arrived at the swanky Cafe de Paris (must pronounce in French accent or friends think less of you) off Piccadillly Circus and were ushered into the dimly lit ballroom which has been frequented in the past by the likes of Princess Margaret.
being Editor to some of the greatest women's fiction out there! (Jealous? Me?) Nah! So after being happy that I had actually recognised somebody I was raring to go…
Cesca: Fortunately everyone was descending the stairs and we were whisked along with the tide, eagerly scanning the room for more people we knew.
Cesca: The evening took a wonderful twist and we found ourselves meeting the winner herself, hot off a plane from the States, and dragged her across to have her photo with us. The photographer got us to get VERY up close and personal and the poor woman will probably never forget the encounter.
Cesca: We then chatted to a range of lovely people from publishers to authors to PR gals. Katie Fforde and Kate Lace were also on hand for a photographic opportunity and everyone was very warm and welcoming.
About the Award
The Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance is the UK’s only literary award dedicated to comedy romance writing. The criteria for the Award were drawn up by bestselling writer Melissa Nathan, one of the leading comic romantic novelists of her generation, who died of cancer in 2006. The Award is a fitting tribute to Melissa, and as the winning novelist, Lisa Jewell said, when she won in 2008.
"You feel undervalued when you write the kind of fiction I write, so it's great to have this genre given its own night of appreciation and recognition. To win is just wonderful."
This sentiment is echoed by Sophie Kinsella, best- selling novelist and Judge of the Award.
"I'd like to show people that this prize is about what people love to read – not what they feel they ought to read. I think people look at the pastel jackets and the swirly writing on the cover and dismiss it because it's about love. But really – what's more important in life than love?"
The inaugural MNA was held in June 2007 and the winner was Marian Keyes. In 2008, the award was won by Lisa Jewell, in 2009 by Farahad Zama and in 2010 by Janet Skeslien Charles. This year, the judging panel featured writer and comedienne Jo Brand, mega-selling novelists Joanna Trollope OBE and Sophie Kinsella, actor and comedienne Morwenna Banks, and actor and television presenter Liza Tarbuck, Managing Director of National Express Coaches Andrews Cleaves, and Waitrose book buyer Freya Wright.
The other shortlisted novels were : Foursome, Jane Fallon (Penguin), Getting Over Mr Right, Chrissie Manby (Hodder), Obstacles to Young Love, David Nobbs (HarperCollins), Perfect Proposal, Katie Fforde (Random House),Sweet Temptation, Lucy Diamond (Pan)