2024 STAR Award for Published Women’s Fiction


2024 STAR Award Finalists

Video Replay and List of Finalists

2024 STAR Award Finalists Live Announcement Video Replay

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2024 List of Finalists


Girl Braiding Her Hair by Marta Molnar

This audacious and impassioned novel celebrates overlooked women of art in history. It entwined the lives of Ellie Waldon, a grief-stricken widow of our era who decides to sell her home after her husband's death, and Suzanne Valadon, a painter striving for recognition in 19th-century France. (Taken from Editorial Review) 

Five Winters by Kitty Johnson

This novel is about a woman, Beth Bailey, journey to becoming a mother and moving on from her dream of marrying her best friend’s older brother. A bighearted novel about motherhood, friendship, moving on, and love of all kinds. (Tag line taken from B & N)  

Once Upon a Lie by Rebecca Taylor

Mia Strauss is determined to be a good mother as she battles long-term amnesia and newly surfaced paranoia that’s impacting her day-to-day life. When her husband issues an ultimatum—get real help, or he will live with their twin girls— she’s forced to consider experimental therapy as a last resort to regain her forgotten past and find a way forward. But as her memories resurface, dark secrets emerge, revealing that those closest to her will do anything to keep the truth buried.



Follow the Sun by Liz Locke

For socialite Caroline Kimball, travel is an escape from responsibilities and her mother's disapproval of her musical ambitions. After meeting photographer Jack “Tex” Fairchild on a trip, she leaves her golden cage for a small island where she will confront past trauma and family secrets and find herself torn between her love for Tex, her music career, and saving her family. 

La Vie, According to Rose by Lauren Parvizi

Rose Zadeh pleases everyone except herself. Memories of her late Iranian-immigrant father keep Rose in a dead-end job and tethered to her guilt-trippy mom and needy sisters. She needs an escape which she finds in a mandated vacation to the City of Lights. 

There, she finds her experience not what she expects when she falls under the spell of an unexpected expat, encounters an old family friend with a family secret and through it all, feels herself blossom. Until an unwelcomed reminder of home proves, she must do more than go on vacation to change her life. 

The Art of Becoming Another Person Entirely by Brenda Arnold

Myrna Rutledge has it all in the summer of '65. The only problem? Her husband, Frank, comes with it. And so, after a disastrous twenty-fourth birthday party, Myrna packs it in and heads for L.A.. 

Only L.A. is more seductive than Myrna ever imagined, and Frank’s younger brother, Dan, is a woundingly attractive artist obsessed with the need to photograph every empty chair in the greater L.A. area. Lonely and alone, Myrna joins him on this quest, where he teaches her how to create the perfect image. There, she discovers that she not only has something of value to say but a unique way in which to say it.

CONGRATULATIONS! To all of this year's STAR Award Finalists. 

Best of luck in the final round!




 STAR Award Information 

General Information
Important Dates
Submission Details
Entry Fee

The STAR Award is designed exclusively for the published women's fiction author. 

NEW FOR 2024: The STAR Award just grew brighter!

In addition to the traditional STAR Award trophy and recognition by WFWA, the winner of each category will receive a $500 prize.

The STAR Award has two categories. 
  • A general category for all full-length published women's fiction, regardless of time period of the premise or additional plot element.*
  • The second category is 'Outstanding Debut.' To be eligible, the entry must be women's fiction and the author’s first ever published work in any genre.
A novel may be entered into ONE of the categories.

*Not sure if your novel is eligible? See below.

The STAR Award Contest is limited to the first 50 entries in each of the two categories. 

First-round judging is done by current WFWA members who are readers of women's fiction, and the final round by librarians with an interest in women's fiction.

Entries with the top three scores in each category (General and Debut) will be declared finalists and advance to the final round.

Important Dates

Entry Opens: February 1, 2024 (9:00 am EST) for WFWA members; February 12, 2024 (9:00 am EST) for non-WFWA members, space permitting.

Entry Closes: February 29, 2024, midnight, EST.

Deadline for Entered Books to be Received by the Award Coordinator:  February 29, 2024, *Note: First-round judging is electronic*

Preliminary Judge’s Scores in: May 31, 2024

Finalists Announced: June 7, 2024

Deadline for Finalists' Books to be Received by the Award Coordinator:  June 21, 2024

Final scores due: September 20, 2024

Winners Announced: Mid-October 2024, at the Alexandria Retreat.

Submission Details

Preliminary Round: Submission has two parts. First, complete the registration form and pay the registration fee. Your confirmation email will direct you to our submission portal, where you will complete the second step. A complete submission will include either: An uploaded .epub file of your novel OR three (3) unredeemed Amazon Kindle gift links. Kindle gift links will be provided to the judges in order for them to download a copy of your submission.

Final Round: Mail four (4) copies of the professionally printed book to the STAR Award Contest Coordinator. Finalists' books must be received by the coordinator by June 21, 2024.

Entries will be disqualified and fees forfeited if not received by the award coordinator by the specified deadlines.


Entry Fee

$45 WFWA Members

$60 non-WFWA Members

Paid electronically only – no mailed checks.





Frequently Asked Questions


Open to all authors of book-length women's fiction (60k words or more). Books must be written in English but do not need to follow standard American English spelling and grammar rules. All work must have an ISBN and copyright page with an original copyright date in the calendar year 2023. If an entry doesn’t meet these requirements, it will be disqualified and entry fees forfeited. No novellas or short story collections are accepted.

My book is available online as an eBook only. May I enter?
Yes. But for the final round, all entries must be submitted as printed books.

I’ve self-published my book. Can I still enter?
Yes. Providing it has an ISBN and is available at retailers, either physical stores or online.

I’m published in another genre, but this is my first work of women's fiction. Can I enter as a debut author?
No. The novel entered in this category must be a true debut – your first published in any genre, including memoir and non-fiction. Novellas and short story collections count as being published.


How do I determine if my novel is Women's Fiction?

Women's fiction is defined as a story where the emotional journey of the protagonist is the driving force of the story. The protagonist’s journey must lead to a more fulfilled self.

Women’s fiction is a flexible genre in that it may include romance, or it may not. It could be contemporary or historical and have magical, mystery, thriller, suspense, or other elements.

The driving force of a romance novel is a love story, a mystery's is the exposure of an event, a thriller's is a fear-inducing chase or escape, etc. If your manuscript's driving force best fits another genre, such as romance, science fiction, thriller, etc., it is not eligible for the STAR Award.

PLEASE NOTE: A book can have a protagonist of any gender, he, she, or they. It's the genre, not the gender that matters. 


The STAR Award accepts published .epub format entries only. If your novel is only available in e-book format, you must submit a physical book (Traditionally bound as a hardcover, trade, or paperback. No unprofessionally printed manuscripts will be accepted.)

Frequently Asked Questions
Can I enter more than one of my novels?
No. One novel per entrant.
How many finalists are there?
There are three finalists in each of the two categories.
How will I be notified if I finalize or win?

The finalists will be notified via phone call or email, and the official finalist list will be posted on the WFWA website and through WFWA social media.

Winners are announced at the October retreat in Alexandria, Virginia. WFWA will also issue press releases to the industry with winners featured and announced through WFWA social media.

What is the prize for winning?
The winner of each category will receive a $500 Prize and a STAR Award trophy along with a feature in a future issue of WFWA’s WriteOn! Magazine with a 2000+ person circulation. All Finalists will receive a certificate. Winners and finalists will also receive a digital badge for their website.
What if my novel is disqualified due to not meeting the definition of Women's Fiction?
If your novel is disqualified on the grounds of not fitting the women's fiction definition, you may choose to submit an appeal. The appeal process includes a questionnaire for the author, a committee review, and a final decision made by the Board of Directors. Disqualification will result in forfeiture of the submission fee.

Additional Questions? Contact the STAR Award coordinator at [email protected].