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Ufere Contest Rules

Ufere Awards

The Ufere Awards aims to champion the best in African Romance by acknowledging excellence in published romantic fiction whether novels, novellas or short stories.

 A novel may be entered by the author. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist then advance to the final round.

Once RWOWA announces the Ufere finalists, a final round of judges evaluates and scores these novels to determine the Ufere Award winners. The Ufere Award winners are announced in February 20, 2021.

The entry fee for RWOWA members is $15 per entry, for the first three entries; the entry fee for non-members is $30 per entry.  

The Ufere Contest is open for entries at 12 noon. West African Time (WAT), July 1, 2020.

E-mail questions to


Scoring Overview

Each preliminary-round entry will be scored individually on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, with 1.0 being the lowest (poor) and 10.0 being the highest (excellent). Judges are allowed and encouraged to use decimal points (7.5, 8.8, etc.) when scoring.

Preliminary-round judges will be required to answer the following three questions in addition to assigning one overall score:

  • Does the entry contain a central love story?

  • Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optimistic?

  • Does the entry fall within the category description?

The top scoring titles of each category’s entries (based on the number of qualified entries received) will advance to the final round. No category will have more than 10 finalists. Any fraction will be rounded up to the next whole number, not to exceed 10 finalists.

Final-round entries for the Ufere contest shall be ranked from first to last place (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) with the lowest score signifying the winner.

The identity of judges is confidential. RWOWA discourages any communication between judges and entrants.

Until the contest winners are announced, to protect the integrity of the contest, judges should not discuss the books, post comments in e-mail, on social media, or review the books they judge. All questions about entries should be directed to RWOWA staff.

Each author's preliminary-round scores will be made available to the author once the contest is concluded and winners have been announced.


Contest Eligibility

The Ufere Contest is open to members of RWOWA as well as non-members, but priority will be given to members. Any lapse in membership during the course of the contest by the entrant or collaborator (from the time of entry until the winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony) will result in the entrant being required to renew within 10 days of notification or pay the higher non-member entry fee.

If an entry is the result of collaboration, all collaborators must be RWOWA members in good standing in order to qualify for the lower entry fee.

All entrants are required to judge the preliminary round. Others eligible to judge are authors who are RWOWA members.

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

Entrants are required to acknowledge the Ufere Contestant’s Agreement by signing the entry form or checking a box on the website indicating their acceptance of terms.

The Ufere contest is open to paid entries.


Entry forms and fees must be received no later than Midnight WAT, September 20, 2020. Entry forms received after the deadline will not be processed.

Books must be received by RWOWA  no later than midnight WAT, Sept 30, 2020. Entrants who fail to meet this deadline will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.


Entry Requirements

A book entered in the 2020 Ufere Contest must:

  • Be a work of original Romance Fiction, which means the work contains a central love story, and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

  • One of more of the lead characters must be of African origin or identify as African or the author must be of African origin or identify as African.

  • Have an English language publication date no earlier than September 2019 and no later than December 2020.

  • Not have been previously entered in whole or in part.

  • Be submitted in eBook format, complete with copyright page, authorized by the publisher. For purposes of self-published works, the author is the publisher.

  • Be an English language edition.

  • Meet the requirements for the category in which it is entered.

RWOWA reserves the right to administratively disqualify an entry. The entry fee will be refunded and books will be returned for any entry administratively disqualified.

*“Original publication date of 2020” means that the book was originally published in 2020 and has a Notice of Copyright date no later than 2020. A book with a Notice of Copyright date prior to 2020, which was not published until 2020, will be eligible. A book published prior to 2020, which lists a Notice of Copyright date of 2020 in the originally published edition, will also be eligible. The intent of this definition is that every book should be eligible for consideration exactly once.

In the event that duplicate entries for the same book are received, the first entry will be the official entry and the subsequent entries and fees will be returned. However, if the author is one of the entrants, the author’s choice of category (and alternate, if applicable) will prevail.

If a novel/novella is published as part of a collection, it is not necessary for each work in the collection to be entered in the contest. Each work will be entered independently.

A collection of novels/novellas in one volume does not constitute a single entry; rather, each work must be entered separately. The appropriate fee will be paid for each entry.

Books not received by this deadline will be disqualified from final round judging, but finalist status will not be revoked. Fees will not be refunded.

Entrants who enter more than two titles may be required to judge an additional panel of books in the preliminary round.


Entry Category Eligibility

The entrant selects the category. Entrants may designate a second category for the work in the event the first-choice category does not receive the required number of entries to be judged or the provisional cap has been reached for their primary category.

A book may not be entered in more than one category. For example: a historical novel that has a strong suspense element may be entered in Romantic Suspense or Historical Romance, but not in both.

Each entrant may enter a maximum of three entries during the first seven days. After this period, the entrant may submit additional entries up to a combined total of six.

Categories with fewer than 5 entries will not be judged. If a secondary category has not been designated, the entry fees will be returned. No category changes can be made after the entry deadline, with the exception of entries in a cancelled category.

Confirmations will be sent to the email addresses of the entrants.


Category Descriptions and Judging Guidelines

All entries must contain a central love story and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

With the exception of Erotic Romance, all categories may have varying levels of sensuality






Bookseller of the Year Award

This award is to honor Booksellers who go above and beyond in their support of the Romance genre, Romance authors, and Romance readers.

Publisher of the Year Award

This award is to honor Publishers who are dedicated to publishing in the Romance genre and supporting Romance authors.


Hall of Fame

Ufere Award winners are determined by the toughest judges in existence—an author's fellow romance authors. For an author to win more than one Ufere during her career is rare. For those outstanding authors who win multiple Uferes, RWOWA will honor them in a special way by creating the RWOWA Hall of Fame. Upon receipt of her/his third (formerly the fourth) Ufere Award in the same category, an RWOWA member is inducted into the RWOWA Hall of Fame for that category.

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