Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA), in partnership with Australia’s leading essential building and infrastructure services provider ARA Group, is excited to announce the Longlists for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize.
This year’s Longlists explore a diverse range of powerful themes, from the seductive appeal of false stories and the uncomfortable truths of colonialism, through to epic stories of love, loss, belonging, loneliness and friendship. The Longlists demonstrate the power of the historical fiction genre to explore what lies hidden and unspoken in society today, illuminated by the sometimes shadowy, yet revealing, paths through to the past.
The Longlist for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize – Adult Category is:
- The Tolstoy Estate, by Steven Conte (HarperCollins Australia)
- A Room Made of Leaves, by Kate Grenville (Text Publishing)
- Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray River of Dreams, by Anita Heiss (Simon and Schuster)
- The Last Convict, by Anthony Hill (Penguin Random House)
- The Glass Harpoon, by Robert Horne (Ginninderra Press)
- Our Shadows, by Gail Jones (Text Publishing)
- The Madwoman’s Coat, by Ian Reid (Framework Press)
- The Burning Island, by Jock Serong (Text Publishing)
- The Silent Listener, by Lyn Yeowart (Penguin Random House)
The judges also awarded two books a Highly Commended honour:
- The Tulip Tree, by Suzanne McCourt (Text Publishing)
- Lucky’s, by Andrew Pippos (Pan MacMillan Australia)
The Longlist for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize – Children and Young Adult (CYA) Category is:
- The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, by Anna Ciddor (Allen & Unwin)
- Night Ride into Danger, by Jackie French (HarperCollins Australia)
- Heroes of the Secret Underground, by Susanne Gervay (HarperCollins Australia)
- The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel, by Nicki Greenberg (Affirm Press)
- The Grandest Bookshop in the World, by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)
- We are Wolves, by Katrina Nannestad (HarperCollins Australia)
- Echo in the Memory, by Cameron Nunn (Walker Books Australia)
- The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle, by Pamela Rushby (Walker Books Australia)
- Harmony, by Richard Yaxley (Scholastic)
The ARA Historical Novel Prize shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 22 September. The winners will be announced at the HNSA virtual conference on 22 October 2021.
Our thanks are extended to our two judging panels including Nicole Alexander (Chair), Carmel Bird and Roanna Gonsalves (Adult category), and Paul McDonald (Chair), Cath Mayo and Thuy On (CYA category). For further information about each of the judges, visit: Judging Panels for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize.
About the ARA Historical Novel Prize
In just its second year of operation, the ARA Historical Novel Prize is worth a total of $100,000 in prize monies. The Prize will award $50,000 to the Adult category winner, with an additional $5,000 to be awarded to each of the remaining two shortlisted authors. In the Children and Young Adult (CYA) category, the winner will receive $30,000, while the two shortlisted authors will receive $5,000 each.
Chair and Program Director of the Historical Novel Society Australasia, Elisabeth Storrs, said, “Selected from over 130 entries, the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize Longlist demonstrates the true depth of talent of historical fiction authors.”
“From tales set in Russia during World War II and Budapest during the Holocaust, through to stories of colonial Australia told by convicts, First Nations people and the colonists, our Longlists feature strong leading characters, and representations of time and place that bring history to life.”
“Historical fiction has the power to recover lost, overlooked or deliberately erased histories, and can play a part in achieving truth in reconciliation. The ARA Historical Novel Prize is a true celebration of the genre, and a real opportunity to foster the genre on a grander scale,” said Storrs.
The ARA Historical Novel Prize has been made possible through the generous patronage of ARA Group. The ARA Group, and its Founder, Executive Chair and Managing Director Edward Federman, are committed to supporting the arts and literature.
ARA Group Founder, Executive Chair and Managing Director — and patron of the arts — Edward Federman said, “I congratulate all the talented authors longlisted for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize. It is a pleasure to be involved in making a long-lasting contribution to the arts, particularly to the historical fiction genre that has not always received the attention it rightly deserves.”
“We’re hopeful the new CYA category and additional funding for the ARA Historical Novel Prize will not only make a considerable difference to the lives of the winning authors, but also shine a light on the historical fiction genre and the work of all entrants across Australia and New Zealand,” said Federmen.
The Judging Panels
The 2021 judging panel for the Adult category included Nicole Alexander (Chair), Carmel Bird and Roanna Gonsalves.
According to Nicole Alexander, “The 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize Adult Longlist highlights the distinctive and compelling voices writing within the genre. These richly imagined books give new interpretation to difficult histories, reflect different levels of complexity, and address personal and social aspects of humanity. Tales of greed, conflict, dispossession, love, justice and resilience encompass colonialism, Indigenous culture, environmental destruction, intergenerational trauma and the place of women in society.”
The 2021 judging panel for the CYA category included Paul McDonald (Chair), Thuy On and Catherine Mayo.
According to Paul McDonald, “The Judges of the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize were impressed by both the quality and certainly the diversity of entries for this year’s inaugural Children’s and Young Adult Novel Award Category. Entries demonstrated great writing, extensive research and offered great appeal for young readers.”