It’s Not Exactly Bodice-Ripping, But There’s A Scandal At The Romance Writers Association

A director of the board of Romance Writers of America stepped down after the association censured a member for calling out racism in the industry.

By Terri LangfordJanuary 13, 2020 1:37 pm, ,

“Hot and steamy” is a reliable way to describe romance novels, but the romance novel industry these days is one hot mess. Critics complain about a lack of diversity among writers in the 9,000-member Romance Writers of America association, or RWA, and the content that those writers produce. And a recent critical tweet led to the resignation of the director-at-large of the RWA.

Andrew Dansby is an entertainment writer for the Houston Chronicle. He says that the controversy started when former board member, Courtney Milan, who is of Chinese descent, criticized the old romance novel “Somewhere Lies the Moon” in a tweet.

“There was a Chinese-American character in it that Courtney Milan found – she found the presentation objectionable and tweeted about,” Dansby says.

Milan called the novel “a racist (expletive) mess” – a comment for which the RWA censured her.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How association members responded to the RWA censuring Milan

– How publishers responded to the controversy

– How the RWA plans to move forward


Written by Caroline Covington.