Romance Writers Ink (RWI), an Oklahoma chapter of the national Romance Writers of America, has cancelled its “Where the Magic Begins” writing contest after their refusal to accept same-sex entries created a controversy.
The RWI Magic Contest blog explains: “We have heard and understood the issues raised, and will take those concerns into consideration should the chapter elect to hold contests in the future … We recognize the decision to disallow same-sex entries is highly charged. We also opted not to accept YA entries. We do not condone discrimination against individuals of any sort.”
The cancellation comes after authors around the blogosphere expressed anger about the new rules. Author Courtney Milan blogged: “You can write about aliens from another planet who have tentacles, or barbed sexual organs. You can write degrading rapes. None of those things are barred from entry in the More than Magic contest, and if you write them, they’ll try to find judges who are predisposed to like your books. But they won’t do that if you write same sex romance–even if it’s a sweet romance with no sexual contact whatsoever.”
Author Kari Gregg was disturbed by the exclusion and urged writers to get involved on her blog. She wrote: “I ask you that you please consider emailing a note to RWA to ask them to step forward to address this wrong. Romance is defined as occurring between two individuals by RWA. RWA has not excluded LGBT pairings from its own contest categories (Golden Heart, Rita), nor created a specific category for LGBT romances.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post did not attribute the contest to a Romance Writers of America chapter.