As a brand new member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I’m keen to take part in as many events as possible this year. I’d enjoyed myself (and learnt a lot) at the January and March meetings and had been impressed and touched by the very warm welcome given to not-yet-published ‘newbies’.
I was therefore looking forward very much to the 50th Anniversary awards lunch at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington. I arrived a little early and bumped into another attendee upstairs – we’d smiled at each other in that slightly hesitating way, and simply said ‘RNA lunch?’ Then we smiled again and settled down to a quick glass of wine. This easy willingness to talk to strangers and take a genuine interest in them was a hallmark of the whole event from the crowed reception through to collecting goody bags at the end.
Delicious food (I love guinea fowl!), plenty of chocolate to eat and excellent conversation made the whole event go too quickly. The award winners were naturally thrilled, some quite shocked they had won. Hugs, kisses, pats on the back and tears of joy all round. Barry Norman was his usual acerbic self, with a couple of risqué jokes, Maeve Binchy (by video), Joanna Trollope and Lynn Barber lent a touch of celebrity glamour.
On the personal front, I was very pleased to meet up with other writers I’d ‘spoken’ to on the RNA forum or on Twitter. Nothing quite like a face-to-face chat. The topping on the event was the post-lunch tweetup-cum-general drinks session at the Goat across the road.
Definitely booking next year…