2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize Rules – CYA Category


Opening date for Early Bird entries: 12 April 2023 at 9 am AEST

Closing date for Early Bird entries: 9 May 2023 at midnight AEST

Opening date for General entries: 10 May 2023 AEST

Closing date for General entries: 14 June 2023 at 5pm AEST

Longlist of 9 books announced: 13 September 2023

Shortlist of 3 books announced: 27 September 2023

Prize Winner announced: 19 October 2023


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 subgenres 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.

Definition of Children and Young Adult historical fiction for the purpose of this prize

Children and Young Adult historical fiction acceptable for the purposes of the prize include novels written for age groups stretching from middle primary to the end of high school with a minimum word count of 25,000 words. Picture books, graphic novels, narrative non-fiction, and non-fiction are excluded. Novels may include illustrations.

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. This must be confirmed on the nomination form by providing the author’s personal email details.
  2. A publisher, agent or author may submit more than one entry provided a separate entry fee is paid for each novel. 
  3. A non-refundable entry fee per entry is payable. Payment must be cleared by 30 June 2023. The fees are:
    1. Early Bird 12 April (9 am) to 9 May 2023 (Midnight)- $35
    2. General entry 10 May to 14 June 2023 (5pm)- $65
  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  Digital files of the books will not be returned.
  5. Advanced Review Copies (electronic) are acceptable for books due to be released between 15 -30 June 2023. This file must be the final, published version, not a proof copy or manuscript.
  6. 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 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.
  7. A longlist of 9 books will be announced on 13 September 2023. 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. Nominators agree to provide a print copy of the book to HNSA for publicity purposes.
  8. It is in the judge’s discretion to award highly recommended status to books. Nominators of the highly recommended 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 placing. We regret we are not able to notify entrants who have not been successful.
  9. A shortlist of 3 books will be announced on 27 September 2023. 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. The winner of the prize will be announced at the ARA Historical Novel Prize award ceremony on 19 October 2023.
  11. 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 following 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.
  12. Publishing houses of books shortlisted for the 2023 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 2023 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.
  13. Nominators will be asked to provide a headshot, short biography, social media links, book cover and book blurb when completing the nomination form.
  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.
  16. The judging criteria include depth of research, widespread commercial 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. Please do not enter into correspondence on this point

Eligibility criteria

  1. Books must be historical novels as per the definition set out in the rules.
  2. Books must meet the definition of Children and Young Adult historical fiction as set out in the rules.
  3. All forms of non-fiction including narrative non-fiction and memoir are ineligible.
  4. Picture books and graphic novels are ineligible. Novels may include illustrations.
  5. Books must have first been published or released in Australia or New Zealand in English between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023.
  6. The books do not have to be set in either Australia and/or New Zealand, or feature the history of those countries.
  7. Reprints of earlier books are ineligible.
  8. Self-published 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) or 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 25,000 words. The word count must be specified on the nomination form
  14. Verse novels are eligible provided they meet the minimum word count.
  15. Co-authored books are ineligible.
  16. Copyright will remain with the author or publisher.
  17. Posthumous entries will not be accepted. For legal reasons, a book will be disqualified if an author dies after their book is entered.
  18. 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 commercial contractors retained by HNSA for its biennial conferences or the Prize, or are principals, board members and employees of ARA Group 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 $30,000 AUD and a trophy

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

Highly commended authors will receive a certificate.

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