By Cesca Martin
The Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance 2012 was held last night at the Cafe de Paris in London and Novelicious were kindly invited to attend *swooshes hair on behalf of Novelicious team*. So I trotted off to act the Super Fan and get all the goss from the night to bring to YOU, oh marvellous reader...
Hosted by National Express, the event began as any good event should – with awesome canapés and glasses of champagne. I got thoroughly over-excited as I scanned the room whispering things like, “There’s Milly Johnson, ooh that’s Jane Costello, love her dress and, oh, it’s that woman from Ab Fab – oh you know the one with the chairs, the lovely chairs (cue blank face from listener)”. Over-excited to be surrounded by some fantastic authors I imagine it is the equivalent of what a normal person would feel like if they attended the BAFTAs.
We were introduced to the books by the wonderfully raucous Jo Brand who was mostly trying, and failing, to ensure she didn’t end up getting mis-quoted in the Daily Mail this morning. We heard music from the marvellous Lisbee Stainton (plant music is now officially my favourite musical genre) and tapped along to some of her brilliant songs. There were lovely speeches from Andy, MD of National Express, paying tribute to the Award and books of the genre and a confident, and very moving, speech from Sam, Melissa’s son. Joanne Trollope, who announced she was stepping down after 6 fabulous years, also went on to explain how the Melissa Nathan Award will develop. As of next year the goal posts will be widened and the award will be altered to include comic books about ‘Life and Love’. The illustrious judging panel, including the likes of: Morwenna Banks and Sophie Kinsella, then announced the winner of the Award. Jenny Colgan scooped the top prize for ‘Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe’ (published by Sphere - Little, Brown) and spoke fluently, thanking those who had helped her on her way and congratulating Jane Lovering on just being amazing, all at the same time.
It was a fantastic night (they brought out the canapés another time, oh, those fish and chips...) and we tried to get round and snap some of the runners-up as people talked. Thank you so much to the organisers of the Melissa Nathan Award, and National Express, for inviting us to share the evening.