Skip navigation
Skip navigation
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser.

Surprise winner beats Andrea Levy to win
FosterGrant Reading Glasses Romantic Novel of the Year Award

A tragi-comedy of unrequited love and misunderstanding has beaten tales of predatory women, sexual ambivalence and adultery to win the FosterGrant Reading Glasses Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

First-time novelist Katharine Davies beat several acclaimed authors to scoop this prestigious literary prize, awarded in past years to popular writers like Joanna Trollope, Rosamunde Pilcher and Cathy Kelly.

Katharine, a former English teacher, beat off competition from a strong shortlist, which included celebrated novelist Andrea Levy, to win the £10,000 FosterGrant award.

Katharine’s book ‘A Good Voyage’ is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. It was described by the judges as a "superbly constructed, magical story that brilliantly contrasts the timelessness of romance with the grittiness of reality".

Chair of judges, book industry commentator Danuta Keane said:

"’A Good Voyage’ takes readers back to the roots of romantic fiction in all its joys and turmoil. It was a clear winner in a strong field of titles that ranged from domestic dramas to high politics. This is an astonishingly well-crafted first novel, peopled with believable, empathetic characters, and characterised by a poise and lightness of touch that evokes the magic and pathos of Shakespeare’s lovers and losers. It is a wonderful illustration of romantic fiction at its best."

The award was made today, April 14th 2005, at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel, London attended by over 300 guests from the publishing industry.
The FosterGrant Romantic Novel of the Year Award was established in 1960 and is one of Britain’s longest-running literary competitions. Its object is to recognise excellence in romantic fiction, amongst the UK’s most popular literary genres, and the award is open to any book first published in the UK in the last year which embraces romance in its widest sense.
Successful romance writers can expect to sell 10,000 copies of a book within a week of publication, with many past award winners achieving considerable literary and commercial success.
This year’s winner Katharine Davies taught English Language and Literature in secondary schools in the UK and Sri Lanka, before moving to Wales to write.
‘A Good Voyage’ is published by Chatto and Windus, price £12.99.

For further information:
Caroline Wade: mob. 0797 067 9437
Or Penny Clifton: mob. 07789 463017
Spreckley Partners Ltd, 020 7388 9988
For information on the FosterGrant award:
For information on the Romantic Novelists’ Association:
For information on FosterGrant Reading Glasses:

Notes to editors:

1. Photographs of the award ceremony available from Spreckley Partners.
2. The Romantic Novelists’ Association is the UK’s only professional writers’ association specialising in romantic fiction, and includes many best-selling writers such as Joanna Trollope, Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews among its members.
3. The 2005 shortlist was:
A Good Voyage by Katharine Davies (Chatto and Windus)
Love and Devotion by Erica James (Orion)
Small Island by Andrea Levy (Headline)
The Hornbeam Tree by Susan Lewis (Heinemann-Random House)
The Tenko Club by Elizabeth Noble (Hodder)
Ghost Heart by Cecilia Samartin (Bantam Transworld)

4. Romantic fiction is among the UK’s most commercially successful book categories, appearing under a variety of publishers’ labels including general fiction, women’s fiction, chick lit and historical sagas.
5. FosterGrant Reading Glasses are sponsoring this award for the first time in 2005. Their exclusive collection of designer inspired men's and ladies styles is ideal for reading and close-up work.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Spreckley Partners in the following categories: Men's Interest, Entertainment & Arts, Leisure & Hobbies, Women's Interest & Beauty, Media & Marketing, for more information visit