The Melissa Nathan Award

Posted by Guy Pringle, 22nd July 2013

Take a bow, those of you who were involved in this year's preliminary reading . . .



I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Fiction about Life and Love is WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.   
The other shortlisted titles for 2013 are:
CHARLOTTE STREET by Danny Wallace (Ebury Press)
YOU HAD ME AT HELLO by Mhairi McFarlane (HarperCollins)
SUMMER DAYDREAMS by Carole Matthews (Sphere)
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell (Orion)
THE WEDDING DIARIES by Sam Binnie (HarperCollins)
This year the Award received a record entry of over 90 books.   The judges were unanimous and enthusiastic in declaring WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple to be the winner, and declared it to be one of the funniest books ever to be submitted.   Maria Semple said:
"I was already wildly honored to be short listed for the MELISSA NATHAN AWARD, and now this!  What a surprise and a delight.  Thank you to the judges, especially Andrew Saffron, who founded this award to honor his wife.  As Melissa Nathan knew only too well, it's hard work making comedy look easy.  I'm so grateful that Where'd You Go, Bernadette has been acknowledged for its heart and humor."
Unfortunately our sponsors have not been able to continue with the Award this year.   For that reason we are not holding our usual champagne party to announce the winner .    I very much hope that we will find a new sponsor, but for the time being the Award is ‘on hold’.    I look forward to being able to announce a new sponsor, and more fun and parties in the future.    Please – if anyone reading this has a friend or relation who is a lover of the arts, and could sponsor the Award, please put them in touch with me to talk about a new and rewarding sponsorship opportunity!
 In the meantime – my heartfelt thanks to all the following who have helped so much in establishing the Award:
Our Judges over the seven years the Award has run:   Jo Brand, Joanna Trollope OBE, Morwenna Banks, Sophie Kinsella, Kathy Lette, Jessica Hynes, Lisa Tarbuck, Freya Wright, Andrew Cleaves and Gaynor Allen, book buyer for Tesco.   Thanks especially to Jo, who has so generously hosted all seven of our Award parties, and entertained us magnificently.
 All the publishers and agents who have supported this new Award by submitting books and coming to the Award parties.   I have so enjoyed meeting you and your authors, and reading the books.
 The editors and readers of newbooks Magazine, who have so kindly done the initial readings for us, which enabled us to come up with a shortlist of six titles every year.
Thanks to Kate Elton, Melissa’s publisher, whose help got the Award started back in 2007. Thanks also to the Romantic Novelists Association, whose advice helped us to get the Award started.
 Thanks to Maggie Phillips, Sarah Williams and Charlie Campbell at Ed Victor Ltd, who have worked tirelessly to put the Award on the publishing calendar every year since we started in 2007.   Thank you also to Rachel Lee, who has done press and publicity for the Award for many years, whether she was paid or not!
 Sam and I look forward to seeing you all again.   It’s been great fun, and we hope that we can continue in the future.
 Andrew Saffron 

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