Congratulations to the winners of the Romantic Book of the Year awards, the premiere awards for authors romance fiction in Australia.
The RUBYs, as the awards are affectionally known, were presented at the Romance Writers of Australia conference last Saturday at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. Once again, Harlequin books dominated the night. Favourite Short Sweet Romance was awarded to Waves of Temptation by Marion Lennox (BT | Amz), and Favourite Short Sexy Romance went to Damaso Claims His Heir by Annie West (BT | Amz). Favourite Long Romance went to Amy Andrews for Risky Business (BT | Amz), published by Harlequin’s digital imprint Escape Publishing. Johanna Nicholls broke Harlequin’s run, taking the RUBY for Favourite Romantic Elements with The Lace Balcony (BT | Amz), published by Simon & Schuster.
The ELLA, for favourite novella, was a tie this year, between Anna Campbell’s Her Christmas Earl and Anna Hackett’s Beneath A Trojan Moon. Notably, both works were self-published.
This year, the Emerald award for best unpublished manuscript was split into two categories: one for an unpublished writer, and another for a published writer writing in a new subgenre. PJ Vye won the Emerald for The Hermit Next Door, and Heidi Catherine won the Emerald Pro for The Soul Weaver.
The absolutely fabulous Danielle Binks won the Romance Media Award (ROMA) for Things no one tells you about romance readers, which was published in The Daily Life, and covered the Australian Romance Readers Convention earlier this year. I won’t lie: I was biased and totally wanted her to win! (Incidentally, Danielle and Adele Walsh, the Program Coordinator for the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, are leading the organising committee for ARRC 2017.)
Jennifer Brassel was awarded lifetime RWA membership* inducted to the RWA Hall of Fame; unfortunately, she was not present to give a speech, and her award was accepted by Shannon Curtis. The Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award went to Diane Curran, who was stepping down from her position as RWA Secretary after many years. I met Diane at my first RWA conference (also in Melbourne) and I was so happy to see her win this award. The night was a little different, starting with a musical theatre number in keeping with the Singin’ in the Rain theme. Two topless butlers were on hand to assist award-winners to and from the stage, as well as to help raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Later, The Rosie Project author Graeme Simsion, one of the conference’s keynote speakers, offered a tweeting challenge to add to the donations.
*Corrected per Imelda Evans’s comment to this post. There was no Hall of Fame inductee this year.
Having a #romance heroine moment for Indigenous Literacy!!! #rwaus15 #rubyawards #mantitty A photo posted by Kat (@bookthingo) on
The awards dinner was followed by a dance-tastic after party sponsored by Escape publishing, where attendees were treated to a free swing (the dance style, not the erotic romance trope) lesson. I’d tell you more about it, but what happens at the after party stays at the after party. ;-)
You can find a full list of winners and runners-up at the RWA blog.
Th next RWA conference will be held in Adelaide 2016, from August 19 to 21, at the Stamford Grand Hotel in Glenelg. The theme will be ‘Ain’t Love Grand’ and will partner with Flinders University to deliver an academic stream. I’m SO excited. More details on the RWA website as they become available.