On the 2019 RITAs from the RWA Board of Directors

The Board is very proud of this year’s RITA winners and celebrates their incredible achievements. The awards ceremony was a reminder of who we are as a community and how great we can be when we are open and welcoming to all members. 
We wanted to recognize the historic evening and RWA’s first two black author winners – M. Malone and Kennedy Ryan – and first South Asian author winner, Nisha Sharma. Their wins were far too long in coming. That delay only highlights the impressive nature of what they accomplished. 
This was the first year in which the final round judging panel for each category included at least one judge from outside RWA. We also required that the final round judging panels be more diverse and reflective of our membership. It is our belief that these changes resulted in a fairer and more inclusive contest final, allowing members who might have been shut out of winning in the past to shine.
There will be more changes coming to the RITA Award in the 2019-2020 award season. We view next year’s contest as a test year where the preliminary judging panels will mirror the broader judging pool like the one used in the final round this year. We believe that these changes, along with others, will make the RITA a fairer contest for all.
Thank you to our members, our speakers, the Awards Ceremony Committee, our emcee, Sarah MacLean, and her writing team, and, of course, to all the finalists, for making this year’s event so special.
Respectfully yours, 
HelenKay Dimon, President
on behalf of the RWA Board of Directors