My Night of Posh Frocks and Glamour by Creative Writer of the Year winner Stacey Dove
2012/07/02  |  By:   |  Features  |  

Posh frocks, glitz and glamour were on the cards when Team Books and the City left the office and headed to the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance ceremony, a prize for women’s fiction, held in June.Two of our resident authors were nominated for the accolade – Milly Johnson for AN AUTUMN CRUSH and Jane Costello for GIRL ON THE RUN.

Jane said: “It’s fantastic to be nominated. It’s lovely that comedy, romance and chick-lit are being recognised.”

The other shortlisted ladies were Allie Spencer for SUMMER LOVING,

Jenny Colgan for MEET ME AT THE CUPCAKE CAFE, Sarra Manning for YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME andJane Lovering for PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC.Speaking on the night about her nomination, Sunday Times best-selling author Milly said: “I’m stunned. I’m very excited to be here as I have never been nominated for anything like this before.

“Because Melissa was a very good friend of mine, it means something to be up for an award that is set up in this way.”

Melissa Nathan, author of chick-lit favourites Persuading Annie and Acting Up, outlined the criteria for the award herself, shortly before her death from breast cancer in 2006 aged 37.

She wrote: “The first part of this award is for a book that is suffused with humour, where the jokes are not an added extra, but where the writer’s voice and the comedy are interdependent…To create believable, sympathetic characters, with whom your readers desperately want to fall in love, is no easy feat. And so, the second part of this award is that the romance is utterly believable, and so important to the reader that the romance is a page-turner…

Together, the melding of these two great connectors should create a book that is witty, romantic and full of warmth.”

And who wouldn’t love a book like that?

Melissa’s husband, Andrew Saffron, founded the award in his wife’s honour, with the first prize going to Marian Keyes in 2007 for Anybody Out There.

Funny woman Jo Brand presented and helped judge the awards, with author of the Shopaholic series, Sophie Kinsella, best-selling novelist Joanna Trollope OBE, actress and writer Morwenna Banks, and book buyer for Waitrose, Freya Wright making up the rest of the judging panel.

Champagne, canapés, (large glasses, small portions), speeches and music later, the winner was announced as Jenny Colgan. Jenny’s 11th book tells the story of Issy, a young woman who is made redundant from her City job and decides to open up her own café, armed with her grandfather’s recipes.

Jenny said: “I’m so chuffed to win, it’s brilliant. I love that there is an award that recognises comedy as well as romance, it’s such a wonderful legacy for Melissa herself.”

A huge ‘well done!’ from Books and the City to Jenny and all of the fabulous nominees, a great night was had by everyone celebrating the genre that we love the most – women’s fiction packed with life, love and laughter.