Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA), in partnership with Australia’s leading essential building and infrastructure services provider ARA Group, is excited to announce the Shortlists for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize.
This year’s Shortlists explore a diverse range of powerful themes, from recognising the silent victims of war and the uncomfortable truths of colonialism, through to stories of love, loss and belonging, as well as messages of hope and beauty. The Shortlists demonstrate the irresistible prose, unforgettable characters, and epic storytelling for which historical fiction is known.
The Shortlist for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize – Adult Category is:
- Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray River of Dreams, by Anita Heiss (Simon and Schuster)
- Our Shadows, by Gail Jones (Text Publishing)
- The Burning Island, by Jock Serong (Text Publishing)
The Shortlist for the 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize – Children and Young Adult (CYA) Category is:
- The Grandest Bookshop in the World, by Amelia Mellor (Affirm Press)
- We are Wolves, by Katrina Nannestad (HarperCollins Australia)
- The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle, by Pamela Rushby (Walker Books Australia)
The ARA Historical Novel Prize winners will be announced at the HNSA virtual conference on 22 October 2021. Join our free virtual Cocktail Party to celebrate the announcement of the winners of the $100,000 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize. Presented by Julia Baird, the virtual Cocktail Party will include illustrated readings from the shortlisted books, and you’ll be able to hear from our judging panels, as well as the authors themselves.
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 Shortlists 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 to our past.”
“From tales that recognise the silent victims of war and sensitive portrayals of humanity at its best and at its worst, through to potent blends of magic, fantasy, mystery and history, the shortlisted novels feature 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 shortisted 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 Federman.