The Emily Contest was first established by the West Houston Chapter of RWA® in 1990 in order to promote publication of previously unpublished writers of romance. The contest is unusual in that it does not limit its entrants to members of RWA. Rather, it is open to any writer who has not published in a given category within the past three years.
The Emily got its name as a result of its initial publicity campaign involving a young scribbler named Emily who was a victim of writer’s block. The contest was promoted as a way to end this malady. So the contest was named in honor of this anonymous character, rather than Emily Dickinson or Emily Bronte.
The first Emily contest chair was the late Arnette Lamb.
In the years that followed its inception, the Emily has garnered a reputation as one of the top contests in the romance writing genre. Many Emily winners and finalists have gone on to be published. The list follows.