Christmas is my favourite time of year at the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild. We have a lovely party but the best part for me is the awards.
We have lots of fun awards with certificates that highlight member’s achievements or contribution to the group. My first year in the group I received a most improved certificate and I was so thrilled. That’s about eight years ago, but this year as coordinator I’m on the Christmas party committee and have a hand in making up the awards.
We also award trophies for First Sale and this year there were two recipients, Cassandra O’Leary for “Girl on a Plane” and Vanessa Carnevale for “The Florentine Bridge”.
Our major award is given to a member who has distinguished themselves in some way either in service to the group, outstanding effort in their writing or continuing to write while facing adversity. Called the Joan Hunt Award it’s named after a much-loved member who continued to write through difficult days. Many years ago, she passed away just before Christmas.
I think it’s a lovely way to remember someone, at a time when those no longer with us are especially missed.
Our nominees this year for the Joan Hunt Award were Kim Cleary, Cassandra O’Leary and Lauren James. The award went to Lauren James.
The group as a whole has achieved many things in this last year. Notably, our initiative in putting out an anthology of our short stories last year has been followed up with another due out in February next year. So keep a look out for ‘A Taste of Romance’. The Raffle we’ve been running has come to a close and we have notified the winner. It’s been a busy year and very rewarding, however this will be my last year coordinating the MRWG.
I’ll be stepping down at the April AGM but I have loved being a part of the Christmas awards committee. It reminds me how much our members contribute and work together to support each other and celebrate each other’s success. But I think at the MRWG we have the Christmas Spirit all year through, and at Christmastime it culminates into a celebration of all that in a memorable occasion.
On behalf of the MRWG members, I wish you a lovely and memorable Christmas too.