In conjunction with its generous sponsor ARA Group, the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) has announced the nine talented authors, and their outstanding novels, selected in the Longlist for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize – CYA Category. The longlisted entries include:
- The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan by Felice Arena (Penguin Random House Australia)
- Slipping the Noose by Meg Caddy (Text Publishing)
- Katipo Joe: Wolf’s Lair by Brian Falkner (Scholastic New Zealand)
- Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong (Hachette New Zealand)
- Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time by Lauren Keenan (Huia Publishing)
- Augustin and the Hot Air Balloon by David Metzenthen (Ford Street Publishing)
- Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad (HarperCollins Publishers Australia)
- The Secret Battle by Pamela Rushby (Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press)
- The Wearing of the Green by Claire Saxby (Walker Books)
The ARA Historical Novel Prize Shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 28 September. The winners will be announced on 20 October 2021.
THE JUDGING PANEL
The 2022 judging panel for the CYA category included Paul McDonald (Chair), Deborah Abela and Rachael King.
According to Paul McDonald, “The Judges of the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize were impressed by the incredible diversity of entries for this year’s Children and Young Adult Category. The Long-listed titles invite the young reader to experience moving and inspiring stories set against the backdrop of the Second World War in Australia and Europe, pirate ships in the 18th century, the streets of 1920s Shanghai and the streets of Melbourne in the 1850s. We are asked to witness the turbulent times of the French Revolution and travel through New Zealand’s distant past. Entries ultimately demonstrated great writing, extensive research and offered great appeal for young readers, enabling readers to experience a broad range of landscapes and varied lives.”
The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan by Felice Arena
(Penguin Random House Australia)
About Felice Arena
Felice Arena is one of Australia’s best-loved children’s writers. He is the author and creator of many popular and award-winning children’s books for all ages, including the acclaimed historical adventures The Boy and the Spy, Fearless Frederic and The Great Escape, the bestselling Specky Magee books and the popular Andy Roid and Sporty Kids series. For further information, visit:
About The Boy Who Stepped Through Time
The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan is a moving and inspiring story set against the backdrop of the Second World War in Australia, the women’s movement and the little-known history of women’s football.
It’s 1942. The war seems a long way away to Maggie Flanagan.
Her brother is on the other side of the world flying to protect England from the enemy. But Maggie is more interested in kicking the footy and finding out who’s going to play for St Kilda this season.
But when the war comes to Australia and Maggie sees what she’s sure is a Japanese spy plane in the skies of Melbourne, it all gets very real. The Japanese attack Australia up north, raining bombs on Darwin and Broome, and American soldiers start appearing on the streets.
Worst of all, it looks like the football season will be cancelled!
When Maggie decides to stage an all-girl football game to raise money for the troops, she’s breaking all the rules. Everyone knows that girls can’t play footy! But the rules aren’t going to stop the unstoppable Flying Flanagan . . .
A Quote from Felice Arena
“For many it’s comforting to look back at the past for answers, inspiration, and to hear from the voices of those who have come before us. The HNSA – ARA Historical Novel Prize shines a proud spotlight on those voices. I am absolutely delighted that The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan has been longlisted in the CYA category, and that the voice of a 12-year-old girl who challenges the status quo by wanting to play football in the 1940s, has been heard.”
Slipping the Noose by Meg Caddy
About Meg Caddy
Meg Caddy is a part-time bookseller and a full-time nerd. Their fantasy novel Waer was shortlisted for the 2013 Text Prize and the 2017 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and their historical fiction Devil’s Ballast was shortlisted for the 2020 Readings YA Book Prize. They are currently undertaking a PhD in queer fiction. For further information, visit:
About Slipping the Noose
Anne Bonny is chained up in the hold of a prison ship, nursing nine-month-old Molly. The baby is all she has left of Calico Jack, the swaggering pirate captain who loved her and stole her away to sea—and who now hangs from a gibbet. When armed men rip the child from her grasp, Bonny can do nothing and Molly seems lost. But Anne Bonny was not cut out for despair. She will plan for escape and rescue, and the plan will become action. And the streets of London will belong to her and her daughter—and the ragtag remnants of Calico Jack’s crew.
Anne Bonny looms large in the history of piracy on the high seas. But history, having left the notorious female buccaneer languishing in a Jamaican jail, then carelessly mislaid her. Fortunately we have Meg Caddy to imagine her subsequent exploits and whereabouts, and to bring them so vividly and rakishly to life.
A Quote from Meg Caddy
“I am so thrilled and honoured to be long-listed for the ARA Historical Novel Prize, and grateful to the ARA Group for making this possible. Historical fiction has a powerful way of connecting people across generations and places, and sharing stories that might otherwise stay hidden or be forgotten to time. I researched Slipping the Noose with the help of my wonderful late grandfather, to whom the book is dedicated. We roamed London together, sent each other ship blueprints and 18th century maps, and spent long evenings watching documentaries. He and Anne Bonny would both be delighted by this news!”
Katipo Joe: Wolf’s Lair by Brian Falkner
(Scholastic New Zealand)
About Brian Falkner
Brian Falkner began college intending to study computers, but along the way he decided to shift his focus to something more creative. After gaining a diploma of journalism, he worked as a reporter and advertising copywriter. Other jobs helped pay the bills and also expand the first-hand experiences that would enrich his fiction, among them stints as a motorcycle courier, radio announcer, graphic designer, and an Internet developer.
Brian’s previous books with Scholastic NZ have been the widely acclaimed Shooting Stars, and his World War One novel, 1917 Machines of War, part of the Kiwis at War series. Katipo Joe: Blitzkrieg, released in 2020, and Katipo Joe: Spycraft, released in 2021, are the first two books in the Katipo Joe series. Brian currently lives on the Gold Coast of Australia. For more information, visit Brian’s website.
About Katipo Joe: Wolf’s Lair
The harrowing and thrilling story of Joseph (Katipo) St George continues. Joe has penetrated the very heart of the Nazi spiderweb, spying on Adolf Hitler and his cronies as the Second World War gains momentum and Germany begins its crucial invasion of the Soviet Union. But British Intelligence wants Hitler dead. Joe must use all his skills and put not only his own life at risk, but the lives of the people he most cares about.
From Hitler’s armoured train, to the secret Nazi headquarters in a swampy East Prussian forest, this is Joe’s story. Set amidst real events and real-life characters in real-world locations, Joe’s adventures will bring the realities of the Second World War to life for young readers.
A Quote from Brian Falkner
“In the words of philosopher George Santayana: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ To understand the events happening now in Ukraine for example, it is necessary to understand the events of the Second World War and its aftermath. Yet in a recent study only around six percent of young people said they had any interest in historical events. These events are ancient history. They happened last century, they happened last millennium! Young people struggle to understand the relevance of historical events to their modern, social-media dominated lives.
For this reason I cannot overstate the importance of the ARA CYA Historical Novel Prize in encouraging writers like myself to bring history to vivid life for young readers, to ensure the lessons of the past are not forgotten.”
Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
(Hachette New Zealand)
About Chloe Gong
Chloe Gong is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English and international relations. During her breaks, she’s either at home in New Zealand or visiting her many relatives in Shanghai. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear when ‘Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture’ is chanted into a mirror three times. For further information, visit:
About Our Violent Ends
The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.
After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step into usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.
Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right – even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.
Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all.
A Quote from Chloe Gong
“I’m thrilled to be in consideration for the ARA Historical Novel Prize. Writing historical novels is both a joy and a responsibility I hold close to my heart, a balance between portraying a carefully-researched past and releasing my own storytelling in a way that I hope will stay with a reader. I had the best time writing Our Violent Ends and its tumultuous world of 1920s Shanghai. It’s a great honor to be considered among this longlist.”
Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time by Lauren Keenan
About Lauren Keenan
Lauren Keenan (Te Ati Awa ki Taranaki) is a writer of creative non-fiction, novels, short stories and popular psychology. Lauren was a winner at the 2017 Pikihuia Awards for Maori writers and a finalist in the 2019 awards. She was also a participant in Te Papa Tupu mentoring programme. Her short stories have appeared in Huia Short Stories collections in 2015, 2017 and 2019, and in 2020 her book The 52 Week Project was published. Lauren has a Master of Arts in History. For further information, visit:
About Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time
Amorangi and Millie lost their mum. Their only clue to her whereabouts is a carving on a tree that says I’m in the past! Rescue me! To do this, Amorangi and Millie must travel up every branch of their family tree and collect an object from each ancestor they meet.
They must then be back in the modern day before the sun sets, or they’ll all be trapped forever in the past. But can they do it in time?
In their travels, the children experience aspects of events in New Zealand history, such as the invasion of Parihaka, the Great Depression, World War Two, the Musket Wars and the eruption of Mount Taranaki. They also experience changes in the town and landscape, the attitudes of people and the way people live their lives.
A Quote from Lauren Keenan
“I am delighted to be in the longlist for this important award. In my iwi (tribe) we have a saying: haere whakamua, hoki whakamuri. We go forward, but we look back. This was the overarching theme of Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time and something I consider very important: moving forward as a people, but still looking back at our history to enable us to learn and grow. And the great thing about kids’ books set in the past is how they can bring history alive for the next generation.”
Augustin and the Hot Air Balloon by David Metzenthen
(Ford Street Publishing)
About David Metzenthen
David Metzenthen lives in Melbourne. He has published over fifty books for children and young adults. David has won five Premier’s literary Awards, a Children’s Book Council of the Year Award for Older Readers, and a Prime Minister’s Award. Some of his tiles have been translated into languages other than English and he has twice been nominated as the Australian author representative in International Board of Books for Young people (IBBY) Hans Christian Anderson Award.
About Augustin and the Hot Air Balloon
Augustin is a poor boy who lives in a barn.
Celine is a rich girl who lives in a mighty palace.
Together they escape into the sky –
Only to land in a world of terrible trouble and dangerous secrets!
A Quote from David Metzenthen
“I am honoured to have my novel, Augustin and the Hot Air Balloon, long-listed for the ARA Historical Novel Prize. When I unwittingly fell into the wild and fabulous world of the French Revolution, I hoped to share some of the fascination I found there with young readers. To have my novel considered for this wonderful prize is simply joyful!”
Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad
(HarperCollins Publishers Australia)
About Katrina Nannestad
Katrina Nannestad is an award-winning Australian author. Her books include the CBCA-shortlisted We Are Wolves, The Girl Who Brought Mischief, the Travelling Bookshop series, the Girl, the Dog and the Writer series, the Olive of Groves series, the Red Dirt Diaries series, the Lottie Perkins series, and the historical novel Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief. Katrina’s novel, We Are Wolves, was the winner of the inaugural 2021 ARA Historical Novel Prize.
Katrina grew up in country New South Wales, in a neighbourhood stuffed full of happy children. Her adult years have been spent raising boys, teaching, daydreaming and pursuing her love of stories. Katrina celebrates family, friendship and belonging in her writing. She also loves creating stories that bring joy or hope to other people’s lives.
Katrina now lives on a hillside in central Victoria with her husband, a silly whippet called Olive and a mob of kangaroos. For further information:
About Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief
Wood splinters and Mama screams and the nearest soldier seizes her roughly by the arms. My sister pokes her bruised face out from beneath the table and shouts, ‘Run, Sasha! Run!’
So I run. I run like a rabbit.
It’s spring, 1942. The sky is blue, the air is warm and sweet with the scent of flowers. And then everything is gone. The flowers, the proud geese, the pretty wooden houses, the friendly neighbours. Only Sasha remains.
But one small boy, alone in war-torn Russia, cannot survive. One small boy without a family cannot survive. One small boy without his home cannot survive. What that small boy needs is an army.
A Quote from Katrina Nannestad
“What an honour and a delight to have Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief included on the longlist for the ARA Historical Novel Prize! Historical fiction is a wonderful means of bringing the past alive for our young readers. It allows them to explore important and exciting events in a way that is entertaining, age-appropriate and thought-provoking. This longlist is a real encouragement to writers and an endorsement of the power of storytelling and history.
Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief is about a child soldier, so is a story of sadness, loss, and the tragedy of war. But it’s also a story of hope, a reminder that there are good people on both sides of any conflict, and that kindness has the power to change lives.”
The Secret Battle by Pamela Rushby
(Eagle Books, an imprint of Christmas Press)
About Pamela Rushby
Pamela Rushby is the author of over 200 books for children and young adults, as well as children’s TV scripts, documentaries, short stories and freelance journalism. Pam has been an advertising copywriter, pre-school teacher, and producer of educational television, audio and multimedia. She has won several awards, including the NSW Premier’s Ethel Turner Prize, five CBCA Notable Books – and a bag of gold coins at a film festival in Iran! She was also shortlisted for the ARA Historical Novel Prize in 2021. Pam believes the strangest, most riveting, heart-breaking, laugh-out-loud stories aren’t fiction. They’re real. They come from history. And she loves tripping over unusual incidents from history – and then writing about them. For further information, visit Pamela’s website.
About The Secret Battle
Nine-year-old city newspaper seller Roddy becomes involved in the infamous Battle of Brisbane in 1942: when American and Australian servicemen fought against each other, rioting in the streets of the city for two days. When Roddy helps an American serviceman who’s been involved in the fighting, he never expects that the battle will become covered up – a wartime secret. Never to be reported in the newspapers he sells. Or that his actions will result in a new life for him after the war – all the way to the USA. A fast-moving historical novel for middle-grade readers by multi-award-winning author Pamela Rushby.
A Quote from Pamela Rushby
“I am absolutely chuffed to have The Secret Battle long listed for the ARA Historical Novel Prize, and very grateful to the ARA Group and HNSA for giving such wonderful recognition to historical writing and writers.
Awards like this are important. Historical fiction presents history to young people in a compelling and memorable way. They open a book – and step through time. They walk beside people from the past. They learn about ordinary people in extraordinary times (or extraordinary people in ordinary times!) and discover how people from the past lived, what they believed, how they coped with conflict. How their reactions were probably very different from our own – and why. It’s important to learn about these things, and even more importantly, to learn about them through the pages of a ripping yarn.
When I visit schools, I’m nearly always asked ‘Where do you get your ideas from’, and I say I just trip over them. For The Secret Battle, I tripped right over my own doorstep. I found a little-known story of war-time Brisbane, of conflict and cover-ups and secrets – and spaghetti. I had a fascinating time researching and writing The Secret Battle, and am honoured it’s made the long list.
Many thanks to my publisher, Sophie Masson of Eagle Books, the ARA Group and HNSA.”
The Wearing of the Green by Claire Saxby
About Claire Saxby
Claire Saxby lives in Melbourne, Australia and loves her city. She is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books. There Was an Old Sailor (illustrated by Cassandra Allen) won the Society of Children’s Book Writes and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award. Big Red Kangaroo and Emu (both illustrated by Graham Byrne) and Koala (illustrated by Julie Vivas) have won numerous awards including the Whitley Award, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, and Children’s Book council of Australia (CBCA) Crichton Award. Koala was a CBCA Honour Book. Dingo (illustrated by Tannya Harricks was joint winner of the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature at the NSW Premier’s Literary Award (2019); won the Royal Zoological Society of NSW’s Whitley Award (2018); was shortlisted in 2019 for the CBCA New Illustrator Award, and Best Picture Book in the Educational Publishing awards. For further information, visit:
About The Wearing of the Green
A powerful historical novel exploring themes of racism, classism and gender expectations present in a growing nation. When Biddy arrives in Melbourne from Ireland in 1850, she knows exactly what she’s going to do – find her rebellious big brother, Ewen. Her plans are derailed when he’s not there to meet her and she’s forced into a situation that is nothing like she expected. Faced with challenges and chased by luck, bad and good, Biddy must find a strength within herself to build a new life – and to find her missing brother.
A Quote from Claire Saxby
“What a thrill to be longlisted for the HNSA’s ARA Historical Novel Award! The Wearing of the Green begins when Biddy arrives in 1850 as Melbourne is undergoing great and rapid change and not just because of the discovery of gold. So much is written about the gold fields but I wanted to explore life in Melbourne city, when a girl, newly arrived from famine-ridden Ireland, might have a chance of a bigger life. In this novel, I wanted to walk the streets with Biddy, and view this fledgling city through the eyes of a character given a second chance. It is a story of migration and opportunity. Thank you HNSA and ARA for championing historical writing. Your support increases the visibility of stories of our past and provides the opportunity for readers to understand where we’ve come from and perhaps guide our future.”
ABOUT ARA GROUP
ARA Group provides a comprehensive range of building services and products to major customers throughout Australia and New Zealand and – through its workplace giving program, The ARA Endowment Fund – plays a proud and positive role in the community.
The ARA Endowment Fund currently donates 100 per cent of the interest earned annually to The Go Foundation, The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and The David Lynch Foundation.
ARA Group has also sponsored the Historical Novel Society Australasia’s biennial conferences since 2017, is Principal Partner of Sydney Writers Festival, the Monkey Baa Theatre, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and Presidential Partner of Taronga Zoo.