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RWA Announces Rules and Dates for Submissions for The New Vivian Award


On the eve of the annual Romance Writers of America (RWA) convention, RWA has announced the opening of submissions for its first annual Vivian Award. The Vivian Award was established this year to replace the Rita, which was canceled last year as a result if a host of issues that had arisen around voting and judging of the organization’s annual award.


The Vivian was named after RWA founder Vivian Stephens, who was one of the most influential editors at Harlequin in the 70s when romance novels first broke out in publishing. Here is a link to a recent interview with this innovator, who gave her blessing to the new award.


The new Vivian award will be open to both RWA members and non-members. Members will pay $50 per entry, and nonmembers will pay $100, for a total of two entries per person. The submission process closes December 4thth, 2020.


All submitted works must be a work of original Romance Fiction and have an English language publication date of 219 or 2020. In order to be defined as a romance, all entries must have the following:

  • A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

  • An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

There will be three rounds of judging in each category, and all judges will be trained.

Below are important dates for the new Award


October 1 - 23, 2020 Judge Sign Ups are open. November 10, 2020 Contest opens to one entry per RWA member. November 17, 2020 Entry opens to non-members. All entrants may only enter one book during this period. November 24, 2020 Both member and non-member entrants may enter a second book. All entrants may enter up to 2 books total. December 4, 2020 Contest closes to entries. January 4, 2021 Deadline for books to be submitted to RWA's contest site. March 29, 2021 Finalists announced. July 14-17 Winners announced at RWA2021 ceremony.

Good luck to both the writers and to RWA 2.0.