The Romance Writers of America recently announced the finalists for the 2019 RITA Awards, which recognize excellence in romance novels and novellas. The winners will receive their awards at the Romance Writers of America's annual conference in July.
The RITA finalists announcement this year swiftly evoked an objection from readers, authors, and nominees alike who noted that the finalists reflected a lack of diversity, specifically calling out an absence of authors of color and LGBTQA+ authors.
HelenKay Dimon, president of RWA, issued an apology and spoke to changes that will be made to the nomination and judging process for the 2020 awards. "The Board affirmatively states that there is a serious problem with reader bias in the judging of the RITAs. This is most evident in the preliminary round of the RITAs," said Dimon's statement. "The Board apologizes to our members of color and LGBTQ+ members for putting them in a position where they feel unwanted and unheard." Currently, authors nominate their own books for a fee, and nominating authors are required to judge other nominations. Other RWA members who are eligible to judge are published authors.
The nominees for Best First Book, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance are below.
Following the RITA nominations is our own Amazon editors' list of excellent romances by authors of color or LGBTQA+ authors who made our Best Romances of 2018 list, including the novel we picked as the best romance of 2018, Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient.
Best First Book
Contemporary Romance: Long
Historical Romance: Long
Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
The Amazon Books editors recommend these excellent romance novels published in 2018 by authors of color that made our list of the Best Romances of the Year:
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