Anne here. I watched the RITA award ceremony last weekend, via a live on-line feed from Romance Writers of America (RWA). The RITA Awards celebrate the best of English-language romance writing, as judged by participating members of RWA.
I love the RITAs — I enjoy award ceremonies in general, as long as they don't get too over-the top. I love to see people's efforts recognized and I always learn a little more about the various individuals from the way they accept an award. Like the Olympics, there are stories within stories at the RITAs.
Each year I enter the RITA, and, along with hundreds of others, I'm also a judge. I get a packet of around 9 or 10 randomly selected books—though not in my category or subgenre—to judge, and so I'm always invested in who finals and who wins. But more than that, this is my "tribe" — the tribe of romance writers — and it's made up of some of the most generous writers around.