Northern Hearts Contest Rules

Toronto Romance Writers presents…

The Northern Hearts Award for outstanding published novels and novellas in romance fiction. This contest is judged by authors, readers, librarians, and booksellers.

Contest opens January 1, 2018


2018 Contest Requirements

Fees: RWA members (all chapters) – $35.00 CDN per entry; Non-RWA members – $40.00 CDN per entry

Maximum 2 entries per registrant

An entry in the Toronto Romance Writers 2018 Northern Hearts contest must:

  • be an original work of romance fiction, published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, must contain a central love story, and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic
  • meet the requirements for the category in which it is entered


Canadian Author Award: the entry written and entered by a Canadian author which achieves the highest score among all categories. A Canadian author will be considered to include an author who qualifies as a legal resident of any Canadian province or territory.

Novella: Novels of any genre (with a primary focus on the romantic relationship as noted above), not exceeding 45,000 words

Contemporary Romance: Novels exceeding 45,000 words, set in modern times (approx. 1950 to present)

Historical Romance: Novels exceeding 45,000 words, set in historical times (prior to 1950)

Romantic Suspense: A romance novel exceeding 45,000 words in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute a major part of the plot

Paranormal/Sci-Fi: A romance novel exceeding 45,000 words in which either time travel, futuristic, fantasy world, or paranormal elements are a major element of the plot

Young Adult: A romance novel exceeding 45,000 words in which the main protagonist(s) are under eighteen years of age. May take place in any timeline, and/or contain suspense, paranormal, sci-fi elements.

The categories listed above are open to all heat levels and all manner of diverse characters


The Northern Hearts Contest will open for entries on January 1, 2018

Entry forms, books and fees must be received no later than 11:59 pm EST/DST (Eastern/Daylight Savings Time)  on March 31, 2018

  • Entry forms and links for payment of fees will be available on the website by November 1, 2017
  • One .pdf of the book (English language) is required for the contest and must be emailed to This book file will be distributed to four random judges within the pool of judges. The file must be submitted as a single .pdf file, complete with copyright page, and authorized by the publisher (for purposes of self-published works, the author is the publisher)

Finalists will be announced July 1, 2018

Winners will be announced following the Gala Banquet of the Northern Hearts Conference in Toronto, Ontario on September 22, 2018 (conference details will be available on the website by November 1, 2017)

  • In the case of a tie for first place between entries within a given category, the lowest scores will be dropped for each book in order to determine the first place winner. If the first place winner still cannot be determined in doing so, each book will be read by an additional judge


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