There’s a change coming for this year’s Melissa Nathan book awards. Jade Craddock reports.
Shortly before she passed away in 2006 at the age of 37 from cancer, chick-lit favourite Melissa Nathan, author of The Nanny, The Waitress and The Learning Curve, drew up the criteria that would underpin the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Introduced posthumously in 2007 by her husband Andrew Saffron, the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance has gone from strength to strength, honouring some of the biggest names in the genre and attracting a star-studded nominations list and judging panel.
Now in its seventh year, the award will be broadening its criteria under the new moniker of The Melissa Nathan Award for Fiction about Life and Love which will allow the award to encompass fiction that includes all aspects of relationships. Awards co-ordinator Rachel Lee explains: “We are still looking for authors who recognise the humour in many aspects of relationships, it is just that we felt the romance part of the criteria needed to be opened up.”
Nominated titles will continue to be judged by readers on “Comedy” and “Story”, but “Romance” will be replaced by the criteria “Truth of relationships and life”.
Jo Brand at the inaugural award ceremony in 2007.
Previous winners have included Marian Keyes for Anybody Out There, Lisa Jewell for 31 Dream Street, Farahad Zama for The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, Janet Skeslien Charles for Moon Light in Odessa, Helen Simonson for Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Jenny Colgan for Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe. The broadening of the criteria will ensure that the best names in fiction about life and love continue to be recognised and celebrated. The shortlist for this year’s award will be announced in the coming weeks and the awards ceremony will take place in June.
This year’s judging panel consists of comedian Jo Brand, authors Sophie Kinsella and Kathy Lette, actress Morwenna Banks, Andrew Saffron and Andrew Cleaves, from sponsor National Express Coaches.