Gang war. Will it ever end? Will we see, in our lifetime, a cessation of the senseless romance-writer-on-romance-writer violence? Will we know the peace of a torn dress pressed against a bare chest that looks like it’s been soaking in coconut butter during a heatwave? Will the bodices ever get back to being ripped open by grim pirates with 39 synonyms for their pendulous genitalia? Or will we be forced to continue watching a bunch of middle aged woman with hairdos from a 1996 New Jersey Statewide battle-of-the-bands duke it out for a piece of the lucrative organizational pie? Can the RWA be saved? Not so long as there is breath in the heaving bosom of one curb-stomping hairspray addict out there still unsure of who owns actually owns the leash attached to Fabio’s studded collar. Oh, sure, the names may change (“Rita” becomes “Vivian”, “the majestic tip of his prodigious sex” becomes “the business end of his love shiv”), but the battle will continue. Mark my words. These people have chosen a hard life on the mean streets of literature, right in the middle of the district with the highest death rate: at the corner of Rough-but-Gentle Hands Alley and Throbbing Member Way.
The Romance Writers of America will permanently retire its annual RITA Awards, which it has presented annually since 1982, and introduce a new award, the Vivian, named after RWA founder Vivian Stephens.
The move to retire the RITAs follows a controversy related to issues of diversity at the organization this winter that saw the resignation of its newly-instated president and its entire board of directors, as well as the cancellation of this year’s planned RITA Awards ceremony. In January, the RWA announced that it planned to hold the RITAs again “to celebrate 2019 and 2020 romances” in 2021.