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.rwanational.org/

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]

  • 2008 Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey
  • 2009 Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
  • 2010 One Scream Away by Kate Brady
  • 2011 Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner
  • 2012 First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
  • 2013 The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

Contemporary Series Romance[edit]

  • 2008 Snowbound by Janice Johnson
  • 2009 A Mother's Wish by Karen Templeton
  • 2010 A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews
  • 2011 Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton
  • 2012 Doukaki's Apprentice by Sarah Morgan

Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure[edit]

  • 2008 Treasure by Helen Brenna
  • 2009 Danger Signals by Kathleen Creighton
  • 2010 The Soldier's Secret Daughter by Cindy Dees
  • 2011 The Moon That Night by Helen Brenna
  • 2012 Soldier's Last Stand by Cindy Dees

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]

Historical Romance[edit]

  • 1990
  • 1991
    • Best Series Historical: A Wild Yearning by Penelope Williamson
    • Best Single Title Historical : Where Love Dwells by Elizabeth Stuart
    • Best Regency Romance: The Sandalwood Princess by Loretta Chase
  • 1992
    • Best Series Historical: The Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas
    • Best Single Title Historical  : Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi
    • Best Regency Romance: Emily and the Dark Angel by Jo Beverley
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1995
    • Best Historical Romance: To Tame a Texan’s Heart by Jodi Thomas
    • Best Long Historical Romance: Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney
    • Best Regency Romance: Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 1999
    • Long Historical Romance: My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway
    • Short Historical Romance:
    • Best Regency Romance: His Grace Endures by Emma Jenson
  • 2000
  • 2001
    • Long Historical Romance: Devilish by Jo Beverley
    • Short Historical Romance:
    • Best Regency Romance: A Grand Design by Emma Jensen
  • 2002
    • Long Historical Romance: The Bridal Season by Connie Brockway
    • Short Historical Romance: Tempt Me Twice by Barbara Dawson Smith
    • Best Regency Romance: Much Obliged by Jessica Benson
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
    • Long Historical Romance: The Devil to Pay by Liz Carlyle
    • Short Historical Romance: The Texan's Reward by Jodi Thomas
    • Best Regency Romance: A Reputable Rake by Diane Gaston
  • 2007
    • Long Historical Romance: On the Way To the Wedding by Julia Quinn
    • Short Historical Romance: The Book of True Desires by Batina Krahn
  • 2008
    • Historical Romance: Lessons of Desire by Madeline Hunter
    • Regency Historical Romance: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
  • 2009
    • Historical Romance: The Edge of Impropriety by Pam Rosenthal
    • Regency Historical Romance: My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne
  • 2010
    • Historical Romance: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
    • Regency Historical Romance: What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
  • 2011
  • 2012
    • Historical Romance: The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
    • Regency Historical Romance: A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
  • 2013
    • Historical Romance: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Inspirational Romance[edit]

  • 2008 A Touch of Grace by Linda Goodnight
  • 2009 Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren
  • 2010 The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander
  • 2011 In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon
  • 2012 The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena B. Miller
  • 2013 Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

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]

  • 2008 Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward
  • 2009 Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwen Cready
  • 2010 Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
  • 2011 Unchained: The Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood
  • 2012 Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
  • 2013 Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole

Romance Novella[edit]

  • 2008 "Born in My Heart" by Jennifer Greene in Like Mother, Like Daughter
  • 2009 "The Fall of Rogue Gerard" by Stephanie Laurens in It Happened One Night
  • 2010 "The Christmas Eve Promise" by Molly O'Keefe in The Night Before Christmas
  • 2011 "Shifting Sea" by Virginia Kantra in Burning Up
  • 2012 I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden
  • 2013 Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James

Romantic Suspense[edit]

  • 2008 Ice Blue by Anne Stuart
  • 2009 Take No Prisoners by Cindy Gerard
  • 2010 Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin
  • 2011 Silent Scream by Karen Rose
  • 2012 New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
  • 2013 Scorched by Laura Griffin

Short Contemporary Series Romance[edit]

  • 2013 A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan

Young Adult Romance[edit]

  • 2008 Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  • 2009 Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore
  • 2010 Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
  • 2011 The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  • 2012 Enclave by Ann Aguirre
  • 2013 The Farm by Emily McKay


  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]