RITA Award

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RITA Award
Barbara Samuel O'Neal's RITA awards.jpg
Awarded for Excellence in romantic fiction
Country United States
Presented by Romance Writers of America
Official website http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=528

The RITA Award is the most prominent award given throughout the genre of romance fiction.[1][2] It is presented by Romance Writers of America (RWA). The purpose of the RITA Award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published novels and novellas. It is named for the RWA's first president, Rita Clay Estrada.


The RITA Award opens for entries in the fall. Entrants must supply five printed books by the posted deadline. Each title is judged by five separate judges during the preliminary round. Finalist are announced in mid-March. Winners are announced at the annual award ceremony, held on the last day of RWA's National Conference, which is normally held in July.[3][4] Winners receive a gold statuette, book editors receive a plaque.

Current contest rules may be found on the RWA website (www.rwa.org), in the Awards section.


Current award categories are:

  • Best First Book
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Erotic Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Inspirational Romance
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Romance Novella
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Short Contemporary Romance
  • Young Adult Romance

Best First Book[edit]

Contemporary Series Romance[edit]

Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure[edit]

Contemporary Single Title[edit]

This award refers to novels that are not part of a series.[5]

This award may correlate to:

  • Best Category Contemporary Romance in 1982
  • Various awards in 1983
  • Best Contemporary 65-80,000 words in 1984
  • Best Single Title Contemporary 1990 and from 1992 to 1993
  • Best Contemporary Single Title (Romance) from 1994 to 2008

Past winners:[6]

Erotic Romance[edit]

Historical Romance[edit]

Inspirational Romance[edit]

Long Contemporary Series Romance[edit]

  • 2013 A Gift For All Season by Karen Templeton

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements[edit]

This award may correlate to:

  • Best Romance from 1990 to 1996
  • RWA's Favorite Book in 1998
  • Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements from 2004 to 2008

Past winners are:[6]

Paranormal Romance[edit]

Romance Novella[edit]

Romantic Suspense[edit]

Short Contemporary Series Romance[edit]

Young Adult Romance[edit]


  1. ^ Vineyard, Rebecca (2004). The Romance Writer's Handbook: How to Write Romantic Fiction & Get it Published. Watson-Guptill. p. 122. ISBN 0-87116-204-0. 
  2. ^ Brown, Janelle (September 29, 1999). "Forbidden romance?". Salon.com. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  3. ^ Clay, Pat (August 8, 2007). "Authors earn respect of romance writers". Florida Today. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  4. ^ Bouricius, Ann (2000). "The Romance Readers' Advisory: The Librarian's Guide to Love in the Stacks". Chicago: American Library Association. p. 69. ISBN 0-8389-0779-2. 
  5. ^ Category vs. Single Title Romance as compiled by newsletter editor Diana Rowe Martinez
  6. ^ a b "RITA Awards: Past Winners". Romance Writers of America. 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 

External links[edit]