Amid the ongoing issues with the Romance Writers of America (RWA), several major publishers have decided to not attend the National Convention. As of this writing, HarperCollins Publishing/Harlequin Books, Avon Books, Kensington Books, Berkeley Publishing, Sourcebooks, Tule Books to name a few.
Here are several Twitter notifications/press releases:
HarperCollins Canada & Harlequin
January 8, 2020
Romance Writers of America
Attn: RWA Board of Directors
14615 Benfer Road
Houston, TX 77069
To RWA Board of Directors,
As a leading global publisher of romance fiction that is committed to diversity and inclusion, we at Harlequin believe it is important that all authors feel included, respected and heard. Recently reported actions by RWA leadership have therefore led us to decide not to sponsor or attend the RWA2020 national conference. We will reevaluate our participation in 2021 as the organization works with its members to address concerns that have been raised.
We will continue to support Harlequin authors and we are currently looking at additional ways to reach out to both our authors and to the romance writing community in the coming year.
CC: Carol Ritter
Avon is proceeding in accordance with your valued feedback, in line with Avon’s diversity and inclusion statement.
We have informed Romance Writers of America that Avon Books will not have a presence at the conference, nor will we be investing in any promotional sponsorship.
In addition, Avon plans to redirect and refocus the Beverly Jenkins Diverse Voices sponsorship, and we are working with Bev to create other mentorship opportunities to support up-and-coming voices in inclusive romance publishing.
To the RWA Board of Directors,
We are extremely distressed by the recent events concerning RWA and the magnitude of the problems that persist in the organization. Kensington continues to be a leading advocate for increased diversity and inclusion in publishing. As an industry, it is clear we have a great deal of work to do. We are committed to supporting our authors, however, we cannot support RWA or the national conference until you are fulfilling your mission to your members.
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Most of these are major publishers of romance, so this comes as quite a blow to the organization. More publishers are expected to withdrawal from convention participation.