Romance Writers of America Club withdraws Christian novel awards as publishers defend it



(RNS) – Days after Karen Witemeyer’s “At Love’s Command” was announced at the first Vivian Awards in 2021 as best romance with religious or spiritual elements, the Romance Writers Club took home the award. Has been cancelled.

Related: After receiving the award, Christian romance novels evoke criticism of the “romantic massacre” of Native Americans

The move follows criticism from readers and other romance writers that a Christian romance novel that begins with a scene depicting the slaughter of an injured knee makes the Native American murder romantic.

It also follows the emergency board meeting of Romance Writers of America. Make a Statement The organization’s website says it understands the concerns about the book.

“RWA fully supports the rights of the First Amendment, but as an organization striving to continually improve its support for writers left behind by society, it is inhumane to indigenous peoples. We cannot dutifully support the judge’s decision to vote to celebrate a book that portrays treatment and romanticizes the real-world tragedy that still affects people, ”the statement said. ..

“RWA revoked the Vivian awarded to the book finalist” At Love’s Command. “”

The publisher of this book, Bethany House, is a Christian publisher who describes himself as a “leader in inspirational fiction”. On this website, “At Love’s Command” tells the story of Matthew Hanger, a fictional former cavalry officer who “suffers from the horrors of war”. It eventually fell into the hands of Dr Josephine Barckett in Texas in the 1890s, at the head of a group of mercenaries who “protected the innocent and obtained justice for the oppressed.”

The book begins with Hanger at the head of a US Army 7.NOT. A Cavalry Corps confronts Lakota Sue with a knee injury in South Dakota. A historic event now known as the Injured Knee Massacre.

“As Taino, I’m not at all surprised that the book made the massacre romantic, but I was very (disappointed) to see it awarded.” Tweeter Author Mimi Mimi after the announcement of the award.

Others on Twitter have suggested the book should have been disqualified from the Vivian Awards. Verification The burial of hundreds of Indigenous bodies near residential and residential school grounds has led to calculations of Indigenous treatment in Canada and the United States.

Bethany House defended “in the commandment of love” in a statement provided to the Religious Information Service, saying she was in favor of Vitemeier and heard from many readers who were impressed with the book’s redemption and performance. hope. ..

“In the opening scene of the novel, a military officer, the hero of Witemeyer, fights Lakota, who is tired of the war, but is fully involved in the fight with his knee injured. The death toll, including Lakota women and children, makes him sick, he identifies it as a massacre and begs God to forgive him for what he has done. The author deeply regrets his actions. And he reveals through the book that he spends the rest of his life making up for the bad things he did, ”the statement said.

According to Bethany House, the injured knee massacre was one of the “darkest moments in our history” and an act of “mourning” violence. The publisher and the author both intended to “tell this story of the tragedy,” the publisher said.

Related: In 2010, the United States apologized to Native Americans. The new psychomotor aims to recognize this.

In a previous statement, Romance Writers of America president Laquette said the association recognizes the need to continuously analyze and coordinate the awards competition “to avoid permanent damage.” ..

Vivian Awards – Named after black writer Vivian Stevens, who founded the Romance Writers of America Club – Replaced This year’s RITA Controversy Award Last year, the president and board resigned due to the lack of organizational diversity. The organization had already planned a post-winning analysis of the competition to confirm its framework.

This year’s finalists were the most diverse in Romance Writers of America competition history, he said.

Romance Writers of America Club withdraws Christian novel awards as publishers defend it

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