Monday was my 3rd RNA award lunch and well it felt like a home coming as opposed to the fear and trembling that gripped me the first time. My day began at Jenny Haddon's house and where I laughed till I nearly cried with her and Anne Ashurst (aka Sara Craven). Once in me finery - such as it was- we set off for the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. The first familair face was that of Janet Gover who is the lucky friend that just signed the contract with Little Black Dress. (pictured l-r Liz Baily, Janet Gover and Susie Vereker)
Then I bumped into friends who were up for the Romance Prize - Julie Cohen and Fiona Harper with Kate Hardy (who won!!!) and the lovely Anna Lucia. (l-r Anna Lucia, Kate Hardy, Janet Gover and Julie Cohen)
Events on this scale don't take place without huge effort on many people's part and here are two - Jane Gordon Cummings and Jan Jones. Catherine Jones (aka Kate Lace), the chairwoman, did a fantastic job thanking all those involved.
So the drinks reception allowed me to catch up with fellow Novel Racer while she was chatting with Katie Fforde. We tried to persuade Katie to join but she was too afraid she couldn't keep up!
I glanced at the seeting arrangement and was delighted to see that I was sitting with the lovely blog friend Ray Anne, editor Gillian Green from Ebury, Bex Leith, reader/reviewer Lizzie Roach,Henri Gyland, Jan Sprenger, and the big surprize was a distant relation by marriage the elegant Una Mary Parker. (pictured l-r Pia Tapper-Fenton, Gillian Green and Ray-Anne Lutener)
Trisha Ashley did a wonderful presentation of the romance award which the lovely Kate Hardy won and then Helen Lederer (pictured here with l-r Anne Ashurst, Helen and Evelyn Ryle) had us all in stiches with her chat before presenting the Romantic Novel of the Year Award which went to Freya North for Pillow Talk. Freya's speach was wonderful and brought a tear to my eyes as she dedicated the award to a friend who had died of cancer and she was donating her prize to a cancer charity.
(pictured Lizzie Roach and Freya North)
After a final word by Diane Pearson, the President of the RNA, we emerged for another drink in the reception area where I caught up with the lovely Judy Astley. The crowd moved to the Goat across the road which finally gave a me chance to a decent chat with Julia Williams and moan about not being to get my hands on a copy of her book. In fact I am leaving London very frustrated today as thus far I have not been able to put my paws on Julie Cohen's latest One Night Stand, Julia Williams' Pastures New and Jan Jones' Stage by Stage. I think I will have to do a massive Amazon order that my sil will have to bring out to Dubai with her in March. (picutred below Julia Williams and Kate Hardy)
The pub also brought a chance to catch with with Biddy as she flew in after work to join us and was kind about our obvious intoxicated state.
The evening wound down in a wonderful restaurant in Kensington Church Street with Katie Fforde, Jan Jones and the suprememly kind Nick Robinson of Transworld.
I have to say it was well worth the treck to come. I connected not only with friends but editors again which makes it much easier to approach them later. I think the thing that stays with me most is the friendship generousity of of my fellow writers.