The Lambda Award is presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) for many categories of LGBT fiction and nonfiction, including Gay Romance and Lesbian Romance.
On September 16, 2009, the LLF encountered controversy when it released a statement changing the eligibility guidelines for the award. For the previous twenty years, the Lambda Award had been conferred based on LGBT content and literary merit alone. During the years 2009 and 2010 (when the field of gay romance as written by straight women was undergoing tremendous expansion), the LLF attempted to protect LGBT authors from increased competition by heterosexual authors writing on LGBT themes by restricting Lambda nominations only to books whose authors self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. So essentially the LLF was discriminating against authors based upon sexual orientation. On August 29, 2011, after massive condemnation from gay and straight writers alike, the LLF returned to the previous way of doing things in which all authors, regardless of sexual orientation, could be nominated on the basis of literary merit in handling LGBT themes. To achieve its goal of nurturing LGBT writers exclusively, the LLF compromised with creating three new awards to recognize the career stages in the life of an LGBT writer.
The Rainbow Award is hosted and owned by blogger Elisa Rolle and jointly coordinated by The Rainbow Romance Writers (a chapter of The Romance Writers Of America). It is judged by a large pool of authors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers from the LGBT fiction community. The award recognizes LGBT-themed fiction in several categories, including Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Romantic Comedy, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, and Fantasy Romance.
The Goodreads.com M/M Romance Group Readers’ Choice Awards are for gay romance in several categories including Best Title and Best Sex Scene.
AWARDS FOR Male-Female ROMANCE
The RITA Award
The RITA award is presented by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) in the following award categories are:
- Best First Book
- Contemporary Romance
- Erotic Romance
- Historical Romance
- Inspirational Romance
- Paranormal Romance
- Romance Novella
- Romantic Suspense
- Short Contemporary Romance
- Young Adult Romance
The RNA Award
The RNA award is based in the United Kingdom and presented by the Romance Novelists Association (abbreviated to RNA, sometimes RoNA) for Romantic Novel of the Year and the Love Story of the Year for shorter fiction. The award categories are:
- The RoNA for a Contemporary Romantic Novel, which is post-1960 and (according to Wikipedia) “including chick-lit, beach reads, and genres such as paranormal/fantasy/time slip/romantic suspense.”
- The RoNA for a Historical Romantic Novel (pre-1960, includes time-slip novels)
- The RoNA for an Epic Romantic Novel, containing (according to Wikipedia), “serious issues or themes, including grittier fiction such as sagas,” as well as multi-generational storylines and time-slip novels.
- The RoNA for a Romantic Comedy Novel
- The RoNA for a Young Adult Romantic Novel
I will update this list as I encounter more book awards for excellence in romance fiction writing. Please let me know in the forum or via my contact form (on my Bio page) if you know of an award I should list here.