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Dartford author shortlisted for prestigious award

PUBLISHED: 10:56 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:56 04 April 2018

Elaine Roberts from Dartford is among the contenders for the prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. Picture: RNA

Elaine Roberts from Dartford is among the contenders for the prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. Picture: RNA

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An author from Dartford is among the contenders for The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) prestigious Joan Hessayon Award.

Elaine's book The Foyles Bookshop Girls has led to her being shortlisted for the award. Picture: RNAElaine's book The Foyles Bookshop Girls has led to her being shortlisted for the award. Picture: RNA

Elaine Roberts has been shortlisted for the award following the publication of her book The Foyles Bookshop Girls.

The shortlist is made up of authors whose debut novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme.

Each year 250 places are offered to unpublished writers focusing on the romantic fiction genre and as part of the scheme, they can submit a complete manuscript for critique by one of the association’s published authors, as well as attend RNA events which offer opportunities to meet and network with publishers, agents and other published authors.

This year’s competing novels include historical romance, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and romantic comedy, and explore a variety of themes which include family, secrets and loss.

The Foyles Bookshop Girls is set in London, 1914, and the threat of war hangs over Britain.

Childhood friends, Alice, Victoria, and Molly work in Foyles Bookshop.

When Alice’s underage brother enlists, her boyfriend declares his love, wanting to marry, but her excitement is ripped away.

The last two years have been a whirlwind for author Elaine, who took voluntary redundancy from her job at Easter 2016 and signed a three book contract with publisher Aria Fiction in 2017.

Her first book will be published in June this year, and she is very excited about what 2019 might hold for her.

Nicola Cornick, current RNA Chairman, said: “The RNA is particularly proud of its New Writers’ Scheme, which is unique to the association, and helps new writers on that difficult path to publication.

“Having read every last one of them, I’m delighted to see a new generation of talent being fostered by the scheme.”

Imogen Howson, who runs the scheme, said: “It is wonderful to see debut authors graduating from the scheme and we are ever grateful to Dr. David Hessayon who continues to support the awards in honour of his late wife, Joan.”

The award will be presented at the RNA Summer Party on May 17 at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

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