Farahad Zama has been announced as the first man to win the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy romance—beating the five female authors on this year's shortlist, which included Kate Harrison and Jane Costello.
Zama picked up the £5,000 prize for his The Marriage Bureau for Rich People (Abacus) last night in a ceremony at the Café de Paris in London. He said: "I am absolutely delighted at winning the Melissa Nathan award. When I started writing, it was as a diversion from a stressful job and getting awards was the last thing on my mind, especially from a jury of such well-known authors, comedians and literary figures."
This year's judging panel comprised comediennes Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks, Joanna Trollope, Sophie Kinsella, Tesco’s head book buyer Gaynor Allen, and presenter Liza Tarbuck.
The Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance is the UK’s only literary award dedicated to comedy romance writing. The inaugural winner, in 2007 was Marian Keyes, with Lisa Jewell winning last year.
The other shortlisted novels were: The Secret Shopper’s Revenge by Kate Harrison (Orion); Bridesmaids by Jane Costello (Pocket Books); Recipe For Disaster by Miriam Morrison (Arrow); A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley (Avon); The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer (ChocLit).