Romance Writers of America RITA Awards:
From the RWA Website:
In 1980, the newly formed Romance Writers of America identified contests and conferences as key activities to promote the romance genre. The association promptly organized contests with two major divisions: one for published books and the second for manuscripts by unpublished writers. Co-founder Rita Gallagher named the contest for unpublished authors the Golden Heart, while daughter and co-founder Rita Clay Estrada named the contest for published books the Golden Medallion.
The Golden Medallion award became the RITA award in 1990—RWA’s 10th anniversary. RWA held a contest in which members were invited to design a statuette to represent the RITA and excellence in published romantic fiction. The winning design was submitted by Marilyn Clay from the Dallas area. The contests have represented excellence in romantic fiction for nearly 30 years.