RWA New Zealand ~ Clendon Award

Romance writing contest invites aspiring authors to “make this year your
writing year”

The Clendon Award, an annual writing contest in which aspiring romance
authors submit an entire manuscript to be judged by devoted romance readers, is now open for submissions for the 2010 award.

The award, administered by Romance Writers of New Zealand, is believed to be the only contest in the world where every entrant’s full manuscript is read and given detailed feedback. Entries are judged by between three and eight romance readers, depending how far they progress in the contest. Finalist manuscripts are judged by an editor at Harlequin Books in New York, the world’s largest publisher of romance and women’s fiction.

Seven of the previous 11 Clendon winners and a further 11 former finalists
have gone on to have international writing careers, including New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh, and popular Australian Mills & Boon authors Melissa James (previous winner), and finalists Bronwen Jameson, Trish Morey and Maxine Sullivan.

The contest was founded by Barbara and Peter Clendon of Barbara’s Books, the specialist Auckland romance bookstore, after they realized that most people who start writing a novel never manage to finish it. The Clendon Award was an incentive to writers to get to “The End”.

“These days, we have a small army of dedicated volunteers who collate, read
and judge the anonymous manuscripts, all hoping to discover the next
international star,” says Barbara Clendon, whose bookstore continues to
sponsor the award.

Romance Writers of New Zealand president Abby Gaines, herself a former
Clendon Award winner and now a Mills & Boon author, says the Clendon Award is a great opportunity for women to go after what’s often a long-held goal.

“Many women say they hope to write a book one day,” she says.  “RWNZ’s theme for 2010, our 20th anniversary year, is ‘Make this year your writing year’ – do it now! Deciding to enter the Clendon Award is a great incentive to jump in and write.”

The 2010 Clendon Award closes 26 February. Manuscripts must be between
40,000 and 110,000 words. Full details, including the entry form, can be
found on the Romance Writers of New Zealand website,

For additional information and interview please feel free to contact:

RWNZ President, Abby Gaines, email , website

RWNZ Publicity Liaison, Sue Knight at,

Romance Writers of New Zealand Inc.
PO Box 10264 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024, New Zealand

Leave a comment


  1. Good luck to everyone who enters the Clendon! That’s an amazing history of success!

  2. Kylie Griffin

     /  December 17, 2009

    For those interested, other finalists or place-getters who are now published include Yvonne Lindsay, Tessa Radley, Helen Kirkman, Sophia James, Frances Housden, Maree Anderson, Karina Bliss, Sandra Hyde, Helene Young, Sharon Archer, Zana Bell, Emily Gee, Paula Roe, Beth Heywood, Shelley Munro, Pat Snellgrove, Leda Swann and Nikki Logan.

    If you’re umm’ing and ahh’ing about whether it’s worth it, take it from me it’s a fabulous contest – I’ve entered the Clendon the last four years and the feedback from the reader judges certainly helped me polish and tighten my work. 🙂

    It’s as awesome as the Emerald – the readers fill out a comprehensive set of scoresheets under the headings of FIRST CHAPTER, WHOLE BOOK, MAIN CHARACTERS, SECONDARY CHARACTERS, GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE STORY, WRITING STYLE & AFTERGLOW (ie.impressions at least one hour after finishing reading the story). There’s also a COMMENTS section at the end for more feedback.

    Oh, and one more great aspect of the Clendon is that Barbara & Peter Clendon try to read as many of the manuscripts as they can, and if you’re lucky enough to final Barbara usually gives you her personal feedback on your work, too. And she’s one knowledgeable lady, her insights and support of “local” talent is amazing. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    The judge this year is Mary-Theresa Hussey, exec.editor of Harlequin Books. I had the pleasure of meeting her after the Awards dinner last year. She’s also one experienced and knowledgeable lady who acquired mss for many imprints and across a number of genres (not just category) in her career.

    My 2c worth – give the Clendon a go! 😉

  3. Actually, while I appreciate being listed amongst the finalists and winners, I have to confess I never finaled in the Clendon. This one eluded me:-))

    Anne Oliver, on the other hand, there’s anotheree who finaled (came second to Yvonne!) and later sold to Modern Heat.

  4. last time, i joined a writing contests on the internet and i won a small price for writing a nice piece of writing ;:;


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