Imbali Award 2019

Submissions for the Imbali Award 2019 have now closed. 
This marks the fourth year in a row that ROSA will run the Imbali Award of Excellence in Romance writing contest. The contest is open to ROSA members who are residents of Southern African countries, as well as South African citizens living abroad. The Imbali Award celebrates the best romantic novel originally published between January 2018 and December 2018 in both the Afrikaans and English categories.
Entries close on Friday 10 May 2019. For further information on submissions, please read the Terms & Conditions below.
As always, the award will be judged by a panel of book bloggers and reviewers, both local and international. The winner will be announced at the ROSA Gala Dinner in Johannesburg on Saturday 21 September 2019.
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


Entry Fees for non-South African residents:

US$25 entry fee for ROSA members

Please use your invoice number as the payment reference. 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

  • Complete the online entry form. The link for this form is on this page - see the Sign Up Here button above or click here to sign up now.

  • You will receive a confirmation email within 2 working days. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt within 2 working days, please send a query email to the Administrator at with subject Imbali Award 2019 Entry Query.

  • If your entry is eligible, you will be sent an invoice for your entry fee. Your entry is not complete until you have submitted the proof of payment to the Administrator at with subject Imbali Award 2019 Proof of Payment. Please use the invoice number as the reference on the payment. 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 not fully received (this includes entry form, payment and receipt of ebook and/or physical book) after the closing date Friday 10 May 2019 will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

  • Entrants submitting print copies only must send at least four copies of the book to the Contest Administrator before the closing date. 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 be members and complete 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 complete online score sheets for each book they read until judging closes mid September 2019. The online scores will be collected by the contest Administrators. The scores for each entry will then be averaged, and the overall winner will be the entrant with the highest overall score.


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 2018 and 31st December 2018 will be eligible.

  4. The contest is open only to ROSA members. Your ROSA membership number will be required.

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

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

  7. Both traditionally published and self-published (this includes Amazon publication) books may be entered.

  8. Submissions are limited to books with word counts between 25,000 and 115,000 words, as per the categories listed below:

    • Category #1: Afrikaans. This category is for works between 25,000 and 85,000 words in length. No single publisher may enter more than 5 books on behalf of its authors, however individual authors may submit their own entries independent of their publishers.

    • Category #2: English Shorter Length. This category is for works between 25,000 and 80,000 words in length. Entries must be submitted by the authors, not by the publishers.

    • Category #3: English Longer Length. This category is for works between 80,000 and 115,000 words in length. Entries must be submitted by the authors, not by the publishers.

  9. Entry numbers for each category will be capped at the following number of entries, in order of receipt of entry form and payment. Once the maximum number of entries has been admitted, the contest will close to further entries.

    • Category #1: Afrikaans – maximum 15 entries.

    • Category #2: English Shorter Length – maximum 12 entries, or a total of 17 books in the combined Short and Long categories.

    • Category #3: English Longer Length – maximum 5 entries, or a total of 17 books in the combined Short and Long categories.

  10. For the purposes of judging, categories 2 and 3 will be judged together and only one winner will be chosen from the combination of the two categories.

  11. Any entries received after the closing date will be notified of non-acceptance.

  12. Each entrant may enter the English and Afrikaans categories. Entries of co-authored books will be accepted as long as both authors are ROSA members. 

  13. Previous winners of the Imbali Award are not excluded and may submit their entries. 

  14. The closing date for entry book submissions is Friday 10 May 2019, or when the maximum number of entries has been reached, whichever is earlier.

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

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

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

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

  19. The definition of ‘romance’ implies the focus of the book is on 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, paranormal, time travel, romantic suspense, erotic romance, chick lit, young adult, new adult, romantic comedy, inspirational).

  20. 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, or any other conduct that is degrading or promotes hate.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

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

  25. The winner will be announced at the gala dinner of the ROSA Annual Conference, to be held in Johannesburg on Saturday 21st September 2019 at The Quatermain Hotel, Morningside. 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 2019 Judges

ROSA would like to thank the judges who participated in the Imbali Award 2019:​

  • Eliza Knight

  • Emily Brehaut

  • Karina Szczurek

  • Nandita Baard

  • Shareese Boezak

  • Kat Silver

  • Monique Bernic

  • Madri Victor

  • Jackie van den Berg

  • Amanda Claassens

  • Lelanie Fourie

  • Sanri van der Walt

  • Ilse de Korte

  • Nenette de Lange

Winners and runners up will be announced during the ROSACon 2019 Gala Dinner.