Romance Writers of America Announce Inaugural Vivian Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2021 Vivian Awards, which succeed the Romance Writers of America’s retired RITA Awards, were announced April 14. It may not be a complete list yet, as the webpage said “we’re posting names here as they’re notified,” however no new names have been added to the genre categories in the past 24 hours and romance specialty blog Ruby Slippered Sisterhood has the same list at this hour. The nominees of genre interest follow. RWA’s list of all categories is here.

Speculative Romance – Long

Works in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot that are 80,000 or more words in length.

  • Curse of Seduction by Claire Robertson
  • Echoes of the Runes by Christina Courtenay
  • A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
  • Written in Water by Elizabeth Schechter

Speculative Romance – Mid

Works in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot that are between 50,000 and 80,000 words in length.

  • Betwixt by Darynda Jones

Speculative Romance – Short

Works in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot that are between 20,000 and 50,000 words in length.

  • No finalists named yet

In 2020, as the new board of Romance Writers of America was recovering from the backlash of mass resignations of officers and loss of members following their predecessors’ attempt to censure Courtney Milan, one measure taken to signal their changing vision for the problem-ridden organization was to remake RWA’s annual awards and name them after founder Vivian Stephens, an African-American woman.

In a statement last year, “Introducing The Vivian, a New Award for a New Era”, they said —

The RWA Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the introduction of a brand-new award, The Vivian, named after RWA founder Vivian Stephens, whose trailblazing efforts created a more inclusive publishing landscape and helped bring romance novels to the masses.

…In support of The Vivian, and guided by the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, the contest task force has been hard at work developing a contest that aligns with the Board’s vision for RWA 2.0 and that is designed to fulfill the following mission:

The Vivian recognizes excellence in romance writing and showcases author talent and creativity. We celebrate the power of the romance genre with its central message of hope–because happily ever afters are for everyone….

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