Toronto Woman Wins Global Writing Contest

Offered Two-Book Contract with Harlequin

NEW YORK, LONDON, TORONTO and SYDNEY, Dec. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Harlequin, one of the world's leading publishers of books for women, capped its tremendously popular global writing event, So You Think You Can Write by announcing Jennifer Hayward of Toronto, Canada, as the winner of its contest and awarding the Toronto-area resident with her very first publishing contract.


Hayward, a consultant for a Toronto public relations agency, said it was her dream to be a Harlequin author. "I have loved reading romances since I was a teenager, particularly Harlequin Presents, which took me away to glamorous places with wonderful heroes." The Nova Scotia born and raised Hayward says with her journalism background "it was just such a natural thing for me to catch the bug and want to write a novel."

Hayward's winning manuscript, The Divorce Party, about a billionaire who throws a million-dollar divorce party to celebrate his amicable split from his wife, was the most popular manuscript as voted by the public as part of Harlequin's online So You Think You Can Write conference.

So You Think You Can Write is an annual digital conference where hopeful romance novelists get to spend time with more than 50 Harlequin editors from New York, London and Toronto through social media tools including podcasts, videos, blogs, live chats, community discussions and Twitter events. Aspiring authors are led through a virtual week-long "boot camp" designed to teach them how to write a romance novel that will attract the attention of publishers. The contest portion of So You Think You Can Write allows entrants to experience the path a professional writer undertakes from the genesis of a story idea all the way through to, if selected as the winner, the publication of a novel.

Approximately 700 participants entered the English language contest by submitting a first chapter and a 100-word pitch. An online vote, open to the public, narrowed the field down to 25 contestants who, along with three "wildcard" entrants selected by Harlequin, were required to submit a finished manuscript. Harlequin editors selected the three finalists whose manuscripts were, once again, judged in an online vote by the public. Hayward's manuscript was the top vote-getter.

Harlequin Presents senior editor Joanne Grant says Hayward's story stood out from the very first chapter with her original idea. "But it was her characters and natural story-telling voice that kept you reading. This story has all the elements our readers expect from a Presents novel: passion, drama, a gorgeous alpha hero and an empathetic heroine." The London-based editor added, "I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer to Harlequin."

The Divorce Party is scheduled to be published as a Harlequin Presents novel in October 2013. Its release will be accompanied by cover details and promotions declaring it as a So You Think You Can Write winner.

So You Think You Can Write will return for its fourth conference and contest in September 2013. Check out the website, visit on Facebook or follow on Twitter @sytycwglobal and hashtag #sytycw2012 for updates.

About Harlequin
Harlequin ( is one of the world's leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 34 languages and sold in 114 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,200 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation (, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Harlequin's website is located at Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information, please visit and Follow Harlequin on Twitter @HarlequinBooks.

Media Contact
Melanie Dulos
Senior Manager, Publisher Relations & Corporate PR

SOURCE: Harlequin

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