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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Author Moyes wins romance prize
Jojo Moyes
Jojo Moyes used to be a reporter for The Independent
A former journalist has won the £10,000 Parker Romantic Novel of the Year award with a story of two love affairs set 50 years apart.

Jojo Moyes, 34, collected the prize for her second novel, Foreign Fruit, set in the fictional seaside town of Merham.

The setting is based on Frinton, Essex, where Moyes enjoyed childhood holidays.

Moyes - whose first book, Sheltering Rain, sold 250,000 copies in the UK - received her award at London's Savoy Hotel on Thursday.

The ceremony was attended by guests including writer and broadcaster Germaine Greer.

Wider sense

Moyes said her first thought when she learned she had been nominated was that "mine isn't a romantic novel".

"Then it got me thinking in a wider sense about what romance might mean - that it might not just be the clichéd 'boy meets girl' kind of romance," she said.

Moyes was inspired to write her first book after hearing the story of her grandparents' courtship during the Second World War.

Its success gave her the confidence to give up her job as a reporter at The Independent newspaper to become a full-time author.

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