The Golden Heart Award

The purpose of RWA’s Golden Heart® contest is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding manuscripts written by members who have not published a Novel or Novella. Golden Heart necklace


About the Contest

The Golden Heart Contest seeks to showcase the next great generation of romance writers by recognizing outstanding manuscripts from never-before-published Romance Writers of America members.

The Golden Heart supports the career goals of finalists with a fantastic program of benefits:

  • All Golden Heart finalists have the opportunity to compile a pitch proposal that is made available to acquiring editors and agents prior to conference.
  • A private networking social will be held for all Golden Heart finalists, agents, and editors during conference.
  • One non-finalist Golden Heart entry in each category will be randomly selected to win a critique of their entry by an RWA Honor Roll author.​

So polish off your WIPs and submit your completed manuscripts!

A writer may enter a romance manuscript in one of nine contest categories. In the preliminary round, the manuscripts are read and judged by General RWA members. Judges enter a numeric score (1-10) for each entry assigned.  Judges do not provide feedback, critiques, or reviews.  Entries meeting the qualifications to final will proceed to the final round of judging.

The final round of the contest is judged by acquiring editors from romance publishing houses. Many Golden Heart finalists sell their manuscripts to publishers as a result of the exposure from the contest.

RWA announces the award winners at the Golden Heart Awards Luncheon at the RWA Annual Conference.

The words Golden Heart® and the drawing of the Golden Heart emblem are registered service marks belonging to RWA. The design/emblem of the Golden Heart necklace may not be used in generic fashion as a logo or decorative motif for any purpose in any publication not explicitly authorized by RWA. Permission to use RITA and Golden Heart symbols and institutional marks of RWA for any publication in other than fair use, hard-news reporting must be obtained in writing from RWA.