If you don't know what The RITA® Awards are or why they're kind of a big deal, it's an annual contest organized by the professional organization Romance Writers of America (RWA). It is one of, if not the most esteemed book awards in all the land and is said to tell the world which romance books published in the prior year were essentially the best of the best. It involves at least a couple to a few rounds of judging on certain criteria, and there's a big award ceremony at the RWA National Conference each year that makes it a really special event.
We posted a couple weeks ago about the finalists for each category, which is a special achievement in itself! But here, my romance-reading friends, are the winners.
Best First Book
Contemporary Romance (Long)
Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length)
Contemporary Romance (Short)
Historical Romance (Long)
Historical Romance (Short)
Mainstream Fiction With A Central Romance
Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Young Adult Romance
One of the things to note with this year's winners is that we had the first two black romance authors to ever win the Rita award since its inception nearly 40 years ago! (Kennedy Ryan and M. Malone) Plus, the first South-Asian author can be added to the winner rosters (Nisha Sharma). We're excited to see RWA moving in a good direction for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, leading the Twittersphere to explode with #RitaSoLit, and people took to blogging their thoughts on the matter, such as this article by Jessica Pride on BookRiot titled #RitaSoLit: A Breakthrough In Romance. RWA also put out a statement regarding this important issue that you can read here.
We're also super-happy for the five self-published authors who won an award this year, helping to demonstrate that many self-published books are just as good as traditionally published books (or better!), and paving the way to destigmatization.
So now that you know which books passed rounds of judging and were deemed tip-top of their categories for 2019, which books will you add to your TBR piles? Let us know down below!