2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize Rules – Adult Category


Opening date for Early Bird entries: 13 April 2022 at 9 am AEST

Closing date for Early Bird entries: 10 May 2022 at midnight AEST

Opening date for General entries: 11 May 2022 AEST

Closing date for General entries: 15 June at 5pm AEST

Longlist of 9 books announced: 14 September 2022

Shortlist of 3 books announced: 28 September 2022

Prize Winner announced: 20 October 2022

Definition of Historical Fiction

The ARA Historical Novel Prize (the Prize) is only for published historical novels, that is, novels written in the Historical Fiction genre based on the following definition:

  1. The definition of the genre set by the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) is a novel in which the majority of the narrative, ie more than 50% of the events described, must have taken place at least 50 years before publication.
  2. Historical sub-genres considered to be historical fiction include historical mystery, historical romance, and historical fantasy and alternate history. Time-slip novels, multiple-time period novels, and parallel narrative novels are also considered historical fiction with flexibility to crossover between eras stretching from 50 years or more in the past until contemporary times provided more than 50% of the events described take place at least 50 years before publication.

Entry guidelines

Important: Please first refer to eligibility criteria to determine if a book is eligible

  1. Publishers, agents or authors may enter books. If the book is being entered by a publisher or agent, the author’s consent to enter the work must be obtained and confirmed when completing the nomination form.
  2. A non-refundable entry fee per entry is payable. Payment must be cleared by 30 June 2022. The fees are:
      • Early Bird 13 April to 10 May 2022 (Midnight)- $35
      • General entry 11 May to 15 June 2022 (5pm)- $65
  3. A publisher, agent or author may submit more than one entry provided a separate entry fee is paid for each novel.
  4. Books must be submitted in valid EPUB format via the online form. No other digital format will be accepted eg PDF or MOBI files. If you do not have access to a valid ePub file, please contact us via ARAHistNovelPrize@gmail.com
  5. It is the nominator’s responsibility to ensure the EPUB file is properly formatted and rendered correctly across platforms. Please do not use a proprietary DRM solution or watermark across text as it may adversely affect the judges’ reading experience. Upon entry, the ePub file will be moved to a restricted folder accessible only to the Judging Panel and HNSA staff via secure eReaders. The ebook file will not be shared with any party outside of the Judging Panel or HNSA. The Judges’ eReaders will be returned to HNSA at the end of the contest.
  6. Advanced Review Copies (electronic only) are acceptable for books due to be released between 16 -30 June 2022. This file must be the final, published version, not a proof copy or manuscript
  7. It is the nominator’s responsibility to ensure hardcopies are not dispatched. HNSA is not responsible for the return of any books shipped. Digital files of books will not be returned.
  8. A longlist of 9 books will be announced on 14 September 2022. Nominators of the longlisted books will be notified after the judges’ decision and will be required to keep this confidential until such date the HNSA advises it is acceptable to promote the book’s longlisting. We regret we are not able to notify entrants who have not been successful.
  9. A short list of 3 books will be announced on 28 September 2022. Nominators of the shortlisted books will be notified after the judges’ decision and will be required to keep this confidential until such date the HNSA advises it is acceptable to promote the book’s shortlisting. Unsuccessful nominators will be notified.
  10. If books are longlisted or shortlisted, nominators will be required to provide HNSA with one print copy for publicity purposes. Nominators will be notified of the necessary shipping arrangements.
  11. The Prize winner will be announced at the ARA Historical Novel Prize award ceremony on 20 October 2022.
  12. Entry into the prize confirms the shortlisted and winning authors’ willingness to make themselves available, where possible, to a number of media commitments which will take place as a result of the various prize announcements. All shortlisted authors are encouraged to attend the award ceremony, and publishers will be expected to contribute towards reasonable travel, media, and promotional expenses.
  13. Publishing houses of books shortlisted for the 2022 Prize will be expected to contribute between $200 and $1,000 per title, or an equivalent value in kind, towards the costs of marketing the 2022 Prize shortlist. This sliding scale is dependent on the size of the house. No author will be asked to personally contribute money. Please contact us at ARAHistNovelPrize@gmail.com if this contribution is likely to prohibit you from entering the prize.
  14. HNSA welcomes all entries submitted in good faith and reserves the right to refuse entries submitted with malice or with the intent to mislead or deceive others, or which otherwise may harm the reputation of the ARA Historical Novel Prize, ARA Group, and/or HNSA.
  15. In submitting their book, all shortlisted and prize-winning authors commit to accept the source of the funds awarded to them. Co-authors will receive 50% each of any prize monies awarded for a shortlisted or winning book.
  16. The judging criteria include depth of research, widespread reader appeal, with excellence in writing as the deciding factor.
  17. The judging panel’s decisions are final and no debate or correspondence will be entered into.
  18. Requests for confirmation of receipt of entries will not be answered.

Eligibility criteria

  1. Books must be historical novels as per the definition set out in the rules.
  2. All forms of non-fiction including narrative non-fiction and memoir are ineligible.
  3. Verse novels are eligible provided they meet the minimum word count.
  4. Books must have first been published or released in Australia or New Zealand in English between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.
  5. The books do not have to be set in either Australia and/or New Zealand, or feature the history of those countries.
  6. Reprints of earlier books are not eligible.
  7. Self-published books are eligible.
  8. Co-authored books are eligible.
  9. Authors must be citizens or residents of Australia or New Zealand at the time of entry.
  10. Books must have an ISBN (print) and EPUB ISBN (digital).
  11. Books must be produced and published in English.
  12. Books must have good production values and be professionally edited.
  13. Minimum word count is 70,000 words.
  14. Copyright will remain with the author or publisher.
  15. Posthumous entries will not be accepted. For legal reasons, a book will be disqualified if an author dies after their book is entered.
  16. Books which do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from contention and not sent to the judging panel.

Note: Books by authors who are current members of the HNSA Management Committee and/or HNSA Prize sub-committee, or are contractors retained by HNSA for its biennial conferences or the Prize, or are principals, board members and employees of ARA are not eligible to be entered. Equally, books by members of the current judging panel are not eligible to be entered.


The winner will be awarded $50,000 AUD and a trophy.

The two shortlisted authors will each be awarded $5,000 AUD.


Entries for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize are now closed.

Please direct any enquiries to arahistnovelprize@gmail.com.

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