Did You Know...

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Each year the RITA contest finalists and presenters gather on one special evening to learn who will take home the most coveted award in the romance genre.  The RITA Awards Ceremony is the culmination of months or work by board members, judges and RWA staff.  From reviewing each year's rules and entry procedures to two rounds of judging, determining the RITA winners is a year-long process.

Here are ten of the most interesting facts about the RITA competition and the RITA Awards Ceremony:

RITA winner seal

    1. First awarded in 1982 in four categories, the Golden Medallion award was the most prominent award given throughout the genre of romantic fiction. The categories expanded to six in 1983, eight by 1989 and eventually twelve. In 1990 the Golden Medallion was replaced with the RITA Award.

    2. The RITA contest has reached maximum number of allowed entries every year since 2010.

    3. In 2017, 10,000 books were shipped to the RWA office for sorting and distribution to judges.  RWA staff checks in each set of books.  Then a randomized formula is used to determine which judges receive each book.  Once the distribution list is created, RWA staff manually selects and packages the appropriate books for each judge.

    4. RITA judges are sent between 5 and 7 books to judge.

    5. RWA shipped 1,625 boxes of books to judges for the 2017 RITA preliminary round.

    6. The 2016 RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony was viewed via live stream in 32 different countries.

    7. There were viewers in 48 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

    8. The 2017 RITA contest included 197 international judges.

    9. Members from the following countries are judging the 2017 RITA:
      • Australia
      • Austria
      • Belgium
      • Brazil
      • Canada
      • Curacao
      • France
      • Germany
      • Hungary
      • Ireland
      • Japan
      • Martinique
      • Mexico
      • Netherlands
      • New Zealand
      • South Africa
      • Sweden
      • United Arab Emirates
      • United Kingdom
      • United States

    10. Top Ten RITA Award Recipients
      • Nora Roberts
      • Anne Stuart
      • J.D. Robb
      • Maggie Shayne
      • Jo Beverley
      • Lisa Kleypas
      • Susan Wiggs
      • Marion Lennox
      • Merline Lovelace
      • Jill Shalvis