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Strelitzia Award 2019

In 2019, ROSA hosts its third annual Strelitzia Award for unpublished romance authors (writers whose books have not yet been published either traditionally or self-published). This award is open to entrants in both English and Afrikaans.

The purpose of the Strelitzia Contest is to encourage excellence in the romance genre and to develop members who have not yet been published.

The 2019 contest will once again be made up of two rounds: a first round of 10 entrants who will receive mentoring as they prepare their entries, and a second round in which 3 finalists will submit their completed manuscripts.

2019 Contest Timelines

  • Entry forms must be submitted by Sunday, 25th November 2018.
  • In late November, successful entrants will be selected from among the applicants, and introduced to their mentors.
  • From early December 2018 to end February 2019 (3 months), entrants and mentors will work together on the first round submissions (first three chapters and synopsis)
  • First round submissions must be submitted to the Contest Administrator by Thursday 28th February 2019.
  • First round judging will take place in March and April.
  • During the judging phase, we recommend that entrants continue working on their manuscripts.
  • A shortlist of three entries will be announced in mid April. These three entrants will then be required to submit their FULL manuscripts on Sunday 28 July 2019.
  • Second round judging will take place August to mid September.
  • The 2018 winner will be announced at the ROSA gala dinner in September 2019.

How to enter

  • Download an entry form by clicking on the link below. Send the completed application form, plus a two page synopsis and the first two pages of your novel, to contest@romancewriters.co.za by end of day on Sunday 25th November 2018.

  • You will receive an email confirming receipt within 2 days. If you do not receive the email please send a query to the Administrator.

  • All applications for the contest will be reviewed by the the contest administrators, and all successful candidates will be notified within a week of the closing date.

  • Once the successful candidates have paid their entry fees, they will be allocated to mentors.

Our Recommendations

  • Submitting an entry form before the deadline is not a guarantee of a place in the contest. You need to submit a synopsis and writing sample together with your application. While we understand that the synopsis is only a rough guideline, and that the entry will change as it is written and edited, this submission will be used to determine eligibility and to allocate mentors. We recommend you read this post on the ROSA blog before submitting.

  • Treat this contest as you would a submission to an editor or agent: edit and proofread your work thoroughly before you submit, and follow the submission guidelines.

  • As you would with a professional submission, make use of every possible opportunity to strengthen and improve your work before submission. The rules of this contest do not require that you limit yourself only to your mentor's feedback, nor do we proscribe how you go about preparing your submission.

  • You will get the most benefit out of this contest if your manuscript is at least partially written before the start of the mentorship phase. If you only start writing when the mentorship phase begins, you will significantly reduce the amount of time and input your mentor is able to give you. You will not help your chances of finaling or winning if you rush to finish on deadline but do not allow sufficient time to edit and revise your work before submission.

  • Similarly, although we have extended the time period for the second round, this is still a relatively short period of time in which to write the greater part of a novel. We therefore highly recommend that you continue writing and revising throughout the first round judging phase, and do not wait for the announcement of the finalists to begin.

  • Keep an eye on the ROSA blog as we will be posting tips on how to write synopses. 

What assistance will the mentors provide?

  • Mentoring will take place either via email, Skype or telephonic chat. If feasible for both entrant and mentor, in person meetings may be arranged between the parties.
  • An initial 'brainstorming' chat in late November to discuss the story, plot, character development and conflicts.
  • In December and January, the mentor will provide feedback on the entrant's first three chapters and synopsis.  It is recommended that the entrant already have a first draft of these opening chapters ready for evaluation in early December for maximum benefit.
  • A second round of feedback on revised chapters and synopsis in February 2019 in preparation for submission.
  • Mentors will recommend revisions, in a similar way that an editor would. As with an editor, you cannot expect the mentor to write or revise the manuscript for you. They will provide guidance, and expect you to do the work.
  • The mentors will encourage you to meet the deadlines, but it is not their job to motivate you to write. If you intend to become a professional author, you will be expected to motivate yourself and to meet all deadlines, so this is 
  • If the entrant makes the shortlist for the second round, the mentor will assist the entrant in preparing their full manuscript for submission. Please note that due to time constraints this might not be a full edit.
  • The above input is the minimum we request of our mentors. Depending on each mentor's availability and their own deadlines or work/family commitments, the mentor may be available to assist the entrant more than stipulated above, however this cannot be guaranteed.
  • Watch the ROSA blog for posts from past mentors on what you can expect from a mentor, and how to work with a mentor.

How will the entries be judged?

  • The entries will be judged by the published members of ROSA. 

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

  • Mentors may also volunteer as judges in the second round in the event that their mentee has not progressed to the second round.

  • 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 for the first round to the Contest Administrator by Sunday 14th April 2019. The scores for each entry will then be averaged, and the three entrants with the highest overall score will be contacted to submit their full manuscripts for the second round.

  • The second round judging will take place in August and September, with judging criteria following the same guidelines as in the first round.

  • Each second round entry will be judged by at least two new judges who have not previously judged this entry.

  • The judges will return the completed score sheets for the second round to the Contest Administrator by Sunday 15th September 2019.

  • The winner of the Strelitzia award, based on highest overall score in the second round, will be announced at the ROSA gala dinner in September 2019.

Contest Rules

Please ensure that you read the contest rules before submitting your entry. ROSA reserves the right to disqualify entries that do not comply with these rules. The Contest Administrator's decision in this regard is final, and the entry fee will not be refunded in the event of disqualification.

Meet the 2019 mentors

Kathy Bosman
Suzanne Jefferies
Sophia Karlson
Zee Monodee
Dani Rene
Romy Sommer
Tanya Wilde
Joss Wood
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