Michelle Watson

Librarian shortlisted for Romantic Novelists' Association Industry Awards

Northumberland librarian, Michelle Watson, has been shortlisted in the Library or Librarian of the Year category for the Romantic Novelists' Association's annual Industry Awards for 2021.  
The awards celebrate the hard work and talent of any person, group or organisation who has championed the broad genre of romantic fiction in a positive way. 
Michelle is a Reader Development Librarian with Northumberland County Council. She has worked there as a librarian since 2008; prior to this, she worked at Derwentside College, in the library, and with Durham County Council. She also worked in the library for the North East Religious Resource Centre in Durham. Michelle completed her degree at Stirling University, followed by an MSc in Information and Library Management with Northumbria University. 
She said: "It is a great honour to have been shortlisted for this award. I love working in the public library sector and working with organisations such as the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) who have been a great support to me over the years in suggesting authors to work with.  
I plan a range of different author events over the course of the year, and with Covid happening last year, we decided to move a whole programme of events online. The RNA suggested a range of fabulous authors we could work with! We have had panel events, and individual author events, and participants across Northumberland and beyond have very much enjoyed these and have been asking for more!" 
Laura James, the RNA Industry Awards organiser, said: "Despite the lockdowns, the isolations and difficult times we've endured over the last eighteen months, romantic fiction has continued to entertain, bring comfort, and provide an escape for our readers, and a substantial part of that is due to the dedication and calibre of the nominees in the Industry Awards categories." 
Cllr Jeff Watson, cabinet member for libraries at Northumberland County Council, said: “Congratulations to Michelle on her much-deserved nomination. Our staff have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure that our members continue to receive an exceptional service and Michelle’s efforts are just one example of this.”  
The awards have been held for the past seven years and are highly respected in the UK publishing industry. The shortlisted are nominated by the full and associate membership of the RNA. 
The new award categories recognise the best Narrator, Named Cover Designer, Indie Editor, and Indie Champion of the Year. Along with the best Bookseller, Media Star, Agent, Publisher or Editor, Library or Librarian, and the Inclusion Award for championing inclusivity in romantic authorship and publishing, they spotlight the many professionals who promote and support romantic fiction. 
The winners of the ten awards will be announced during the RNA’s Winter Party and Industry Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel, London on Thursday 28th October 2021. 
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