In 1979, editor Vivian Stephens and a group of romance writers met at a
writers conference at the University of Houston. At the time, writers
groups largely ignore the romance genre, and these women recognized the
value of an organization dedicated to the needs of romance writers in
the rapidly growing American romance fiction market.
By December 1980, these five writers had grown to thirty-seven, and they
held the first official meeting of Romance Writers of America® in
Houston, Texas. The first board of directors was elected, and they
quickly set about recruiting members. The first annual Romance Writers
of America conference was held in June 1981 and was an overwhelming
success. To this day, RWA hosts a conference each summer in a different
US city. This year’s conference will be held in Denver.
Membership quickly took off, and today our organization has more than
9,000 thousand members and more than 120 chapters in the US,
internationally, and online dedicated to advancing the professional
interests of career-focused romance writers.
RWA's founders instilled in the organization the importance of sharing
the knowledge and encouragement that romance writers are hard-pressed to