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Student writer wins national recognition from Romantic Novelists' Association


Brunel University PhD student Liesel Schwarz has won a prestigious prize for new writers from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Liesel, who is studying for a PhD in English and Creative Writing, won the Joan Hessayon Award for her first novel, the steampunk adventure A Conspiracy of Alchemists. Published earlier this year by the sci-fi and fantasy imprint Delrey UK, the novel is the first in a trilogy entitled The Chronicles of Light and Shadow and was completed during Liesel's MA in Creative writing at Brunel. She is working on the second volume for her PhD.

Liesel said: “Winning the award was very unexpected because the standard of the entries for the Joan Hessayon Award is so high. I am however delighted that the judges liked the book and I am proud to be counted as a member of the RNA.”

Commenting on Liesel’s novel, the judges said: “Terrific writing. It was absolutely un-put-downable. Once you started you couldn’t stop reading. The hero was most attractive and unusual and the heroine was strong and appealing. Wonderfully creepy villains! We hope to meet them all again.”

The RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme has been running since 1962 and aims to encourage fresh talent in the writing of broadly romantic novels. Liesel received a cheque and a silver trophy at the awards ceremony at RNA summer party.