The Australian romance book industry’s top prizes were awarded last Saturday at the Romance Writers of Australia conference at Fremantle. Congratulations to Life Member Bronwyn Jameson, and RUBY winners Stephanie Laurens, Nicola Marsh, Emily Forbes and Tricia Stringer.
Once again, this year’s Romantic Book of the Year (RUBY) awards were dominated by Harlequin, whose authors won four out of five of the major awards. Bronwyn Jameson, also published by Harlequin, was presented the Life Member award and was given a standing ovation by her peers. In the short romance categories, Destiny Romance got a look in with one nomination—not a bad effort for a digital-first imprint just celebrating its first anniversary—but both awards ultimately went to Harlequin authors Emily Forbes, for Sydney Harbour Hospital: Bella’s Wish in the Short Sweet category, and Nicola Marsh, for Marrying The Enemy in the Short Sexy category.
Stephanie Laurens took the RUBY in the Long Romance category with The Lady Risks All, published by Avon. The Romantic Elements category was dominated by rural fiction, with the prize going to Tricia Stringer for Queen of the Road, published by Harlequin’s general fiction imprint, Mira.
The RUBY awards are open to Australian and New Zealand authors who have published a romance novel in the previous year. Unlike its American counterpart, the RUBYs are judged by romance readers. You can find a list of finalists here.
The Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) also awarded a slew of minor prizes at the awards gala, the peak of its annual conference.
The Ella award for the best published novella went to Carolyn Wren for The Diplomat’s Daughter, published by Secret Cravings Publishing.
The Romance in the Media (ROMA) award went to John Affleck for ‘Happily Ever After’, published by the Gold Coast Bulletin. RWA noted that they received a lot of entries this year and that the quality of the entries for this award has been very high. (As an aside, Fairfax covered the RUBYs, although I have no idea what that headline is about.)
The Emerald awards, for unpublished writers, went to Dorothy Bramich (category romance) and Chris Taylor (single title). The Single Title and Loving It (STALI) award went to Cheryl Baker for Who Said Immortals Can’t Die?, and the First Kiss award went to Ella Audrey for Unbottoned. The Valerie Parv award was given to Michelle Somers for Lethal In Love.
This year’s awards were presented at The Esplanade, Fremantle, as part of RWA’s annual writers’ conference. Next year’s conference will be at the Novotel, Sydney Olympic Park, from August 7 to 10. Details are available at the RWA website.