2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize Shortlists Announced

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 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize.

This year’s Shortlists explore a diverse range of powerful themes, from reinvention, diversity and the meaning of truth, through to self-reliance, confidence and fulfilling one’s dreams. The Shortlists demonstrate the power of historical fiction to bring the past vividly to life, explore often unspoken truths, and illuminate the challenges faced by humankind throughout the centuries.

The Winners of the ARA Historical Novel Prize will be announced on Thursday 20 October 2021.

The Shortlist for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize – Adult Category includes:

Click here for further information about the shortlisted Adult books and their authors.

The Shortlist for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize – CYA Category includes:

Click here for further information about the shortlisted CYA books and their authors.

About the ARA Historical Novel Prize

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 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize Shortlist demonstrates the true depth of talent of historical fiction authors.”

“From tales set in 1950s New York and 1930s Norway, through to Australia during World War I, and even secret Nazi headquarters in an East Prussian forest during World War II, our 2022 Shortlists explore a breadth of realms in historical fiction.”

“Tackling racism, classism and gender expectations, this year’s shortlisted novels feature strong leading characters, a true depth of research, and bold prose. 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 CEO, Edward Federman, are committed to supporting the arts and literature.

ARA Group Founder, Executive Chair and CEO — and patron of the arts — Edward Federman said, “I congratulate all the talented authors shortlisted for the 2022 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.”

“Our hope is that the ARA Historical Novel Prize will not only make a considerable difference to the lives of this year’s winning authors, but also shine a light on the historical fiction genre and the work of all entrants across Australia and New Zealand.”

The Judging Panel

The 2022 judging panel for the Adult category included Angelo Loukakis (Chair), Madison Shakespeare and Meg Keneally. Due to actual or perceived conflicts of interest in relation to authors longlisted in the Prize, Meg Keneally withdrew from judging the shortlist and winner. This is in accordance with the HNSA’s Conflicts of Interest policy.

According to Angelo Loukakis, “The Judges’ shortlisted titles for 2022 well-illustrate that the finest historical novels are not mere retellings of things past, dead and buried, but works that speak of ‘what was once’ in ways that also provide attentive readers with creative insights of relevance to contemporary concerns.”

“The titles we have chosen travel a very wide world indeed. They include a novel which presents an unusually situated and very much proto-feminist account of independence and self-making in 1930s Norway, one that powerfully relates the profound impacts of 20th Century wars on the people of a small Australian coastal town and beyond, and another that provides an uncommon picture of 19th Century American racism with a 21st Century aftermath through the story of a great racehorse.”

“Each of these works is a carefully constructed, imaginatively rendered expression of their author’s unique vision. In their fictional explorations of historical events, and of patterns in culture and society across time, here are three impressive novels that also encourage us to think of life to come and how it might be better lived.”

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 CYA Prize were thoroughly impressed by the great writing and the detailed research demonstrated by the short-listed titles in this year’s awards. Historical fiction novels are powerful in their ability to transport the reader to the past, urging the reader to make connections between the past and present.  The three short-listed titles all demonstrate this power. The reader is transported to Melbourne in the 1850’s in The Wearing of the Green and immersed in landscapes of the Second World War in both Katipo Joe- Wolf’s Lair and Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief. Entries ultimately offered narratives that are moving, page-turning and full of heart.” 


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.

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