Who Won the 2019 RITA® Awards? (Get Ready to Blow Up Your TBR)

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

Lady in Waiting

Marie Tremayne

Contemporary Romance (Long)

Long Shot

Kennedy Ryan

Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length)

Advanced Physical Chemistry

Susannah Nix

Contemporary Romance (Short)

The Bachelor's Baby Surprise

Teri Wilson

Erotic Romance

Three-Way Split

Elia Winters

Historical Romance (Long)

A Wicked Kind of Husband

Mia Vincy

Historical Romance (Short)

A Duke In the Night

Kelly Bowen

Mainstream Fiction With A Central Romance

How to Keep a Secret

Sarah Morgan

Paranormal Romance

Dearest Ivie

J.R. Ward

Romance Novella

Bad Blood

M. Malone

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

The Saturday Night Supper Club

Carla Laureano

Romantic Suspense


Elizabeth Dyer

Young Adult Romance

My So-Called Bollywood Life

Nisha Sharma

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!

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