List of RWA chapters and publishers issuing statements
Please note that some chapters have issued official statements of their position on the recent controversies while others have posted statements to membership expressing concern and indicating that there will be ongoing analysis and possible action to come. I have included both in this list.
Orange County Chapter - Romance Writers of America - http://occrwa.org/
Heart and Scroll - This was Suzan Tisdale’s local chapter.
Louisville Romance Writers (NOTE: Not an official board statement, but an announcement to members relaying concerns)
Maryland Romance Writers - https://marylandromancewriters.com/statement-from-maryland-romance-writers-board/
New England RWA - Note: This is a Twitter thread so it has several posts.
Greater Detroit RWA - http://www.gdrwa.org/
New Jersey Romance Writers - https://www.njromancewriters.org/
Land of Enchantment Romance Authors - https://leranm.com/ (interim statement; body of it mentions that a further statement will be issued shortly)
NOTE: 1/7/2020 EDIT - The President of Land of Enchantment Romance Authors has issued this letter to her chapter.
Central New York Romance Writers - Twitter thread
Philadelphia Romance Writers - Twitter thread
(not a full statement, but expression of concerns and directing membership to a timeline of events; If you check the full Facebook page, there is also information provided regarding the recall petition.)
Virginia Romance Writers - http://virginiaromancewriters.com/
Greater Seattle RWA - Twitter thread
Wisconsin RWA - http://wisrwa.org/ethics/
I’ve been informed that Wisconsin RWA is in the midst of redoing their website, so here is a link to their statement in Twitter form in case the website is temporarily offline for the re-do.
Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest - This is the chapter that originated the petition calling for recall of Damon Suede. I link to their general Twitter feed because there is a lot of information there - https://twitter.com/CIMRWA
See also this link to the Petition letter that went to RWA on 12/31/2019
Young Adult RWA - https://twitter.com/YA_RWA/status/1211063382696177664?s=20
Washington Romance Writers (DC) - This is an interim statement made to membership pending an upcoming Board meeting to decide whether or not the Board should issue a statement to the national organization.
January 4, 2020
The Romantic Women’s Fiction Chapter - This chapter’s statement is not available online, but it was provided to me by a chapter board member, with permission for me to post it here. Here is the complete text:
Letter to RWF Members
Dear RWF Members,
Many of you are may already be aware of the current implosion at the highest levels of the RWA organization. If you have been out of touch because of the holidays (and aren’t on Twitter), you can find a very good recap here: https://www.claireryanauthor.com/blog/2019/12/27/the-implosion-of-the-rwa
It is being updated periodically as more information comes in. There is also a great deal of information being posted on Twitter. The RWA sent out a letter to its members a few days ago, which I have posted below for anyone who didn’t get it.*
We, the board of the Romantic Women’s Fiction chapter, felt it was important to reach out to our members and make sure that everyone was aware of the situation, since it may have far-reaching consequences for the chapter, as well as the organization as a whole. For the moment, as a board we are all sitting tight and waiting to see what happens as this all shakes out. It is impossible to predict what changes may come to the organization but we wanted to reassure our members that as long as it is possible, we intend to keep this chapter running as usual.
We also wanted to make it absolutely clear that the Romantic Women’s Fiction chapter is committed to including any and all writers, no matter their race, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. All members will be treated equally, and with courtesy and respect. If anyone has ever had an experience otherwise, we hope that you will contact us and let us know. We are writers and we are here for each other.
This issue will be discussed in detail at the upcoming January 12th board meeting, and we are open to all comments and questions any of you might want addressed at that time. We have no answers at this moment as to what measures are being taken to remedy the leadership gap at the top, but we will keep you posted if there are any major developments.
Please feel free to contact any of us with questions or concerns. Thank you for your continued membership and your patience during this alarming and upsetting time.
Kristi Rhodes, President
Deborah Blake, Secretary
Brenda Willis, Treasurer
January 5, 2020
I have received word of statements being issued by two additional chapters so far this morning. Here they are:
Dallas Area Romance Authors - Please note that this statement raises some issues not included in most other chapter statements(probably because some of this information only very recently came to light.)
Chiming in again this evening with details on one more chapter statement. Here it is:
Passionate Ink - Please note that this statement addresses both the ethics committee issues as well as the situation involving alleged nonpayments by Dreamspinner to its authors.
January 6, 2020
IASPR - This is not a chapter of RWA, but the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance has received sponsorship from RWA, and has released a statement calling not just for change, but for certain specific actions. I’m including it on this list as I thought it would be of interest to RWA chapters, and the romance community as a whole.
New Jersey Romance Writers - In addition to the link provided above, NJ Romance Writers issued an additional statement today which I found on Twitter.
January 7, 2020
San Antonio Romance Writers - Note: This statement contains both a video and written statement from the chapter board. This chapter has also announced via Twitter that it will be holding further discussions at its upcoming January meeting.
Georgia Romance Writers - This is a statement from the chapter board, and they also indicate that there will be further discussions with membership at the chapter’s upcoming January meeting. This statement can also be found on Facebook.
Past Presidents and Board Members of RWA - Author Leslie Kelly, a past President of the RWA board, posted on her website a letter that had been sent to the current board on January 2, 2020. The letter was originally confidential, but given the current board’s insufficient response, decision was made to post the letter publicly. The letter is quite detailed and provides concrete suggestions for improvement that many readers will likely find of interest.
Heart of Carolina Romance Writers - This is a letter from the chapter board to membership, rather than a statement or letter from the chapter to the board of the national RWA organization. It’s a bit different in tone and language from some of the other chapter statements. There are some things in here that I personally find troubling, but I include it because I wanted to report all the chapter statements as I learn of them.
January 8, 2020
I don’t have any new chapter statements this morning, but Avon and reportedly also Harlequin (see Twitter thread) have announced that they will neither sponsor nor attend RWA nationals in the wake of actions being taken by RWA national leadership.
I take that back. I did just get one more chapter statement link. Here we go:
Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers - Twitter thread
Another Letter from Past Board Pres/Members to the Current Board - This letter concerns the issues raised with regard to Damon Suede’s qualifications (or alleged lack thereof) to serve as President of RWA.
BIG NEWS TODAY (1/8)
Now publishers are starting to pull out of RWA Nationals due to the issues raised by Board conduct. So far I have found statements from the following:
Sourcebooks - Twitter thread
January 9, 2020
Ottawa Romance Writers - Please note that this statement was approved unanimously by the board and membership.
Romance Writers of America - This statement contains the resignation of Damon Suede and the “resignation” of Carol Ritter. I suspect there will be much unpacking of the wording in this unsigned statement in days to come.
January 12, 2020
Kiss of Death - Please be aware that while I have linked to the statement, there is quite a history. KOD initially indicated that they would remain “neutral” in this controversy. After being pushed, it was announced that they would be polling their membership as to how the chapter should respond. It is also worth noting that while the KOD chapter did release a statement, it was followed by the chapter board resigning. Screenshots of the resignations can be found here.
Virginia Romance Writers - The original December 27, 2019 statement is linked above. Following the RWA announcement on January 9, 2020, VRW has released an additional statement, which is worth reading.
January 17, 2020
RWA Chapter Leaders’ Statement - Thirty RWA chapter leaders and members in good standing have forwarded a letter to RWA. I linked to the Twitter thread by Kelly Maher (President of Washington Romance Writers) because it was the first one I saw that also had transcription of the screenshotted letter. However, many of the other folks who signed this letter have also either tweeted it or shared on Facebook.
**NOTE: The letter makes reference to a settlement offer made by Courtney Milan. That settlement offer can be found in the Twitter thread linked here.
Chicago North RWA - I have already linked to this chapter’s original statement above. However, the chapter did release an additional statement on their Spring Fling conference page, and that is the one linked here.
January 20, 2020
Las Vegas Romance Writers - This last statement, among other things, confirms that the actions of RWA National have now led to at least one chapter voting to disband.
I may have missed some statements, and I also know that as the year starts for each chapter, new statements may be issued. Please DM me on Twitter at @LynnAAR or email me at lspenceraar AT hotmail DOT com if your chapter has a statement for me to add to this list. If I don’t follow you, just drop me a tweet and I’ll follow so you can message me. Thank you!