Imbali Award 2020

Submissions for the Imbali Award 2020 have closed! 
This marks the fifth year in a row that ROSA is running the Imbali Award of Excellence in Romance writing contest. The contest is open to all romance authors - ROSA members, as well as non-members. The Imbali Award celebrates the best romantic novel originally published between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019 in both the Afrikaans and English categories.
Online entries will close at midnight on Friday 15 May 2020. For further information on submissions, please read the information below.
As always, the award will be judged by a panel of book bloggers and reviewers, both local and international. This year's winners will be announced at the Awards Evening during the ROSA Online Conference on Saturday 24 October at 20:00.
Please click here to watch. Attendance is free!
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

R700 entry fee for non-ROSA Members


Entry Fees for non-South African residents:

US$25 entry fee for ROSA members

US$50 entry fee for non-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 7 working days. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt within 7 working days, please send a query email to the Administrator at with subject Imbali Award 2020 Entry Query.

  • Once your entry has been verified as 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 15 May 2020 will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

  • Entrants submitting print copies must liaise with the Contest Administrators regarding the number of print copies required. Once the number has been confirmed, these books must be received by the Contest Administrators before the closing date. Where print books are submitted, these will not be returned once judging is completed. Please feel free to autograph your books as many end up on book shelves.

  • 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 local and international 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 and 10 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.

  • Judging closes on Monday 5 October 2020. The 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.

For further information regarding becoming a Judge, please click here to view our Frequently Asked Questions page.


Should you wish to become a Judge for the ROSA Imbali Award please click here. Please note preference will be given to Judges who love all sub-genres of romance writing and blog about, review or promote romance novels on a regular basis.


Terms & Conditions

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


  1. The entry fee is charged to cover the costs of the trophy, postage, and any other costs which may arise. Non-payment of the entry fee will disqualify the work from the contest. 

  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 2019 and 31st December 2019 will be eligible.

  4. The contest is open to all romance writers - ROSA members as well as non-members. Your ROSA membership number will be required if you are entering as a ROSA member.

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

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

  7. Both traditionally published and independently published books may be entered. (This includes Amazon, etc)

  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 Novellas. This category is for works between 25,000 and 35,000 words in length. Entries must be submitted by authors, not by the publishers.

    • Category #3: English Shorter Novels. This category is for works between 35,000 and 80,000 words in length. Entries must be submitted by the authors, not by the publishers.

    • Category #4: English Long Novels. 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 20 entries.

    • Category #2: English Novellas – maximum 5 entries.

    • Category #3: English Shorter Novels – maximum 10 entries, or a total of 15 books in the combined Shorter and Longer 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, this year categories 2, 3 and 4 will be judged together and only one winner will be chosen from the combination of the three 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.

  13. Each entrant may enter a novel as an individual work of fiction as well as a co-authored novel.

  14. Entrants may not enter more than one single author and one co-authored novel.  

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

  16. The closing date for entry book submissions is Friday 15 May 2020, or when the maximum number of entries has been reached, whichever is earlier.

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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: chick lit, contemporary, dark romance, erotic romance, fantasy, futuristic/science fiction, historical, inspirational, paranormal, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and young adult/new adult).

  22. The Contest Administrators reserve 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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

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

  27. The winner will be announced during the ROSA Annual Conference, on Saturday the 24th of October 2020. 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 2020 Judges

ROSA would like to thank the judges who participated in the Imbali Award 2020:​

  • Amanda Claassens

  • Lelanie Fourie

  • Madelie Human

  • Nandita Baard

  • Shareese Boezak

  • Cliffordene Norton

  • Belinda Mountain

  • Kerry-Ann Bell

  • Lara van Lelyveld

  • Sevannah Storm

  • Nenette de Lange