Imbali Award 2018

For the third year, ROSA is running the Imbali Award of Excellence in Romance writing. Open to residents of Southern African countries, as well as South African citizens living abroad, this contest celebrates the best romantic novel published between January 2017 and December 2017.
Entries close on Tuesday 15 May 2018. For further information on submissions, please read the Terms & Conditions below.
The award will be judged by a panel of book bloggers, both local and international, and the winner will be announced at the ROSA Gala Dinner in Johannesburg on Saturday 22 September 2018.
Did you know?

Imbali is the Zulu word for 'flower', and ROSA's Imbali award celebrates not only our African roots, but also the floral associations of our name and logo.

Entry Fees

Entry Fees for South African residents:

R350 entry fee for ROSA Members

R450 entry fee for non-ROSA members


Entry Fees for non-South African residents:

US$25 entry fee for ROSA members

US$30 entry for non-ROSA members


Please use 'Imbali + Your Name' as the payment reference. eg. 'Imbali Jane Doe'. 

If we cannot pick up your payment, you will not be entered!


Payments should be made to:

Romance writers Organisation of SA

Bank:  FNB Northgate

Account Number:  62484552007


Non- South African residents may pay their entry fees via PayPal.

Please contact the Contest Administrator for a PayPal invoice.

Please do NOT make any payments until you have received an invoice!

How to enter

  • Email the signed and completed entry form to before Tuesday 15 May 2018. You will receive a confirmation email within 2 days.

  • If your entry is eligible, you will be sent an invoice for your entry fee. Your entry is not complete until you have submitted both the entry form and proof of payment to the Administrator. Please do not make a payment until you receive an invoice.

  • Once you have entered, you will be sent instructions on where to send your submission (in the form of paperbacks or digital eBooks). Any submissions received after Friday 18 May 2018 will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

  • Entrants submitting print copies only must send four copies of the book to the Contest Administrator before Friday 18 May 2018. If print books are submitted, these will not be returned once judging is completed. Feel free to autograph your books.

  • eBook submissions must be DRM-free, and should be submitted to the Contest Administrator in the following formats (or as many of these formats as are available): pdf, epub, mobi (Kindle). Coupon codes or books gifted via e-tailers will not be accepted.

A notice to Afrikaans entrants

ROSA is aware that in Afrikaans literary circles, authors do not usually enter their own works into contests. However, we are an author association, and we therefore ask that authors themselves get involved in entering this contest. Authors must complete and email in their own entry forms, even if the publisher pays their entry fee and submits the actual books on their behalf.

While publishing houses may pay entry fees and ship books on behalf of their authors, publishers will be limited to paying for only five (5) entries on behalf of their authors. This is in order to allow opportunity for all publishers, as well as authors who have not been recommended by their publishers, to enter.


How entries will be judged

  • The entries will be judged by a panel of independent reviewers / book bloggers. There will be separate panels for the English and Afrikaans categories.

  • Each entry will be read and evaluated by at least 3 judges.

  • The judges will score each entry between 1.0 and 10.0 based on a number of set criteria (including but not limited to use of language, pacing, characterisation and overall page-turning quality).

  • Entries must also fulfil two further criteria in order to be classified as a Romance and to be eligible for the award: the entry must (1) contain a central love story, and (2) have an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

  • The judges will return the completed score sheets to the Contest Administrator in early September. The scores for each entry will then be averaged, and the overall winner will be the entrant with the highest overall score.

  • The winner will be announced and the award presented in Johannesburg on Saturday 22 September 2018.


Terms & Conditions

Entrants will be required to indicate their acceptance of these Ts & Cs by checking the relevant box on the entry form.


  1. An entry fee will be charged to cover the costs of the trophy, postage, and any other costs which may arise.

  2. The entry must be a work of original Romantic Fiction, which means the work must contain a central love story, and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

  3. Only books with an original publication / copyright date between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2017 will be eligible.

  4. Submissions are limited to books with word counts between 15,000 and 85,000 words. Longer works will only be considered if the minimum number of entries is not met, and then will only be read to completion if the writing is of excellent quality.

  5. The contest is open to both ROSA members and to non-members, however entrants must be either residents or citizens of an African nation (including the islands of Madagascar, Comoros, Reunion, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sao Tome & Principe, Cape Verde, and the Canary Islands).

  6. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age by the date of entry.

  7. Entries may be submitted in either print (paperback) or eBook format.

  8. Both traditionally published and self-published works may be entered.

  9. In each category, entry numbers will be capped at the first twelve (12) eligible entries, in order of receipt of entry form and payment. Once 12 entries have been admitted in this category, the contest will close to further entries.

  10. Any entries received after the maximum number of entries has been received will be notified of non-acceptance.

  11. Each entrant may enter one book only. A pseudonym does not count as a separate person (i.e. the limit is one entry per person, not per author name.)

  12. The closing date for entries is Tuesday 15 May 2018, or when the maximum number of entries has been reached, whichever is earlier.

  13. Submissions not received by this date in the required format will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

  14. ROSA office bearers and committee members may enter the contest, as long as they are not involved with the administration of the contest. The Contest Administrator(s) may not enter this contest.

  15. If a novel/novella is published as part of a collection, each work within the collection will be considered as a single entry. Multiple entries from one collection must be entered and judged independently, with a separate fee paid for each.

  16. Entry fees are non-refundable once the entry is accepted. Payments may be made via EFT and PayPal only. No cash or cheques.

  17. The definition of ‘romance’ implies the romantic development of a relationship between the protagonists, and includes all romantic book sub-genres and heat levels (including but not limited to: contemporary, historical, futuristic/science fiction, fantasy, gay/lesbian, paranormal, time travel, romantic suspense, erotic romance, chick lit, young adult, new adult, romantic comedy, inspirational).

  18. The Contest Administrator reserves the right to disqualify any entry should it contain, in his/her opinion, any of the following presented in a positive light or as titillation: rape, paedophilia, incest, racism, or any other conduct that is degrading or promotes hate.

  19. ROSA will not pay for postage costs to return any books received after entries have been closed. You will need to arrange with the Contest Administrator to have these books returned at your own expense. ROSA will not be held responsible for any lost or damaged books, or any postal delays. Check with the Contest Administrator that your books have been received.

  20. Entrants give permission for ROSA to use the covers of short listed/winning books on its website, social media and any material relating to the promotion of this award.

  21. Winners or short-listed entrants will be required to supply ROSA with promotional materials such as book covers, author photographs and biographies as requested.

  22. ROSA discourages any communication between judges and entrants. All queries should be directed to the Contest Administrator on

  23. The winners will be announced at the gala dinner of the ROSA Annual Conference, to be held in Johannesburg on Saturday 22 September 2018. Separate awards will be presented to the English and Afrikaans winners.

ROSA reserves the right to reject entries that do not comply with these entry conditions.

The Contest Administrator's decision in this regard is final.

Imbali 2018 Judges

ROSA would like to thank the judges for their time and experience. The judges in 2018 include:​

  • Nandita Baard

  • Emily Brehaut

  • Amanda Claassens

  • Ilse de Korte

  • Nenette de Lange

  • Lelani Fourie

  • Kathy Heare Watts

  • Suze Lavender

  • Helen Sibbritt

  • Kat Silver

  • Jackie van den Berg

  • Madri Victor