2024 ARA Historical novel prize – rules cya category

2024 ARA Historical Novel Prize


ARA Historical Novel Prize Rules – CYA Historical Fiction Category


  • Opening date for Early Bird entries: 10 April 2024 at 9 am AEST
  • Closing date for Early Bird entries: 7 May 2024 at midnight AEST
  • Opening date for General entries: 8 May 2024 AEST
  • Closing date for General entries: 12 June 2024 at 5pm AEST
  • Longlist of 9 books announced: 4 September 2024
  • Shortlist of 3 books announced: 25 September 2024
  • Prize Winner announced: 17 October 2024


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, has 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 20,000 words. Picture books, graphic novels, narrative non-fiction, and non-fiction are excluded. Novels may include illustrations.

Entry rules:

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 ticking a box.
  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 2024. The fees are:
  • Early Bird 10 April (9 am) to 7 May 2024 (Midnight)- $50
  • General entry 8 May to 12 June 2024 (5pm)- $80
  1. 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.
  2. Advanced Review Copies (electronic) are acceptable for books due to be released between 12 -30 June 2024. This file must be the final, published version, not a proof copy or manuscript.
  3. 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 e-Readers. The e-Book file will not be shared with any party outside of the Judging Panel or HNSA. The Judges’ e-Readers will be returned to HNSA at the end of the contest.
  4. It is the nominator’s responsibility to ensure hardcopies are not dispatched. HNSA is not responsible for the return of any books shipped. However, if books are longlisted or shortlisted, print copies will be required and nominators notified of the necessary shipping arrangements.
  5. A longlist of 9 books will be announced on 4 September 2024. Nominators of the longlisted books will be notified after the judges’ decision and are required to keep the longlist 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.
  6. 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 highly recommended status 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.
  7. A shortlist of 3 books will be announced on 25 September 2024. Nominators of the shortlisted books will be notified after the judges’ decision and will be required to keep the shortlist confidential until such date the HNSA advises it is acceptable to promote the book’s shortlisting. Unsuccessful nominators will be notified.
  8. The winner of the prize will be announced at the ARA Historical Novel Prize award ceremony on 17 October 2024. It is a condition of entry that the winner and shortlisted authors are available to attend the award ceremony, and publishers will be expected to contribute towards reasonable travel, media, and promotional expenses.
  9. It is a condition of entry that publishing houses of books shortlisted for the 2024 Prize contribute between $200 and $1,000 per title, or an equivalent value in kind, towards the costs of marketing the 2024 Prize shortlist. This sliding scale is dependent on the size of the house. An invoice will be issued payable within 14 days of receipt. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. In submitting their book, all shortlisted and prize-winning authors commit to accept the source of the funds awarded to them.
  12. The judging criteria include depth of research, widespread commercial reader appeal, with excellence in writing as the deciding factor.
  13. The judging panel’s decisions are final and no debate or correspondence will be entered into.
  14. Requests for confirmation of receipt of entries will not be answered.
  15. The author and/or publisher warrants:
  • their book is their original creation;
  • their manuscript has not been wholly or substantially created by the use of generative AI technologies (AI grammatical and spelling tools are acceptable);
  • their manuscript is not defamatory; and
  • their manuscript does not infringe any existing copyright or licence or any other third-party rights.
  1. Each author agrees to indemnify HNSA for any loss or damage resulting from any breach of the warranties above and acknowledges that HNSA may, in its absolute discretion, not award any prize in the event of a breach of the warranties above.
  2. Nominators will be asked to provide a headshot, short biography, social media links, book cover and book blurb when completing the nomination form.
  3. By entering the Prize, the author and/or nominator consents to HNSA collecting the author’s personal information for the purposes of administering the prize and as reasonably necessary for the HNSA’s functions or activities. The HNSA may disclose an author’s personal information for these purposes or for a related purpose including to organisations that provide services in relation to the Prize. The author may access their personal information by contacting arahistnovelprize@gmail.com
  4. Entry into the prize confirms the shortlisted and winning authors’ willingness to make themselves available, as reasonably required, for all media commitments that take place as a result of the various prize announcements. This may include being recorded for a video featured in the award ceremony and on HNSA’s social media platforms.
  5. In respect of Clauses 20-22 above, the author grants:
  • HNSA permission to use, copyright and publish all photographs, and/or audio, and/or footage taken of the author for the purpose of promoting, marketing or publicising HNSA and/or the Prize. Copyright in any personal intellectual property assets is excluded eg bio pics;
  • HNSA to use the author’s name, book title and assets listed in Clause 20 above for the purpose of announcing highly commended titles, longlist, shortlist, and winner of the Prize and for associated publicity purposes; 
  • a waiver of the right to inspect or approve photographs, and /or audio, and/ or footage, and/or quotes which are used for the publication by HNSA both during and after the contest;
  • a release to HNSA (and its officers, employees, agents, sponsors and contractors) from any liability (to the extent permitted by law) for any loss, injury or damage suffered in relation to the use of the photographs, footage, name and/or quotes, including but not limited to any claims of defamation, invasion of privacy or infringement of copyright.
  1. Each nominator warrants that the author meets the entry requirements, all details included in their entry are true and accurate, and the author accepts these terms and conditions.

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 2023 and 30 June 2024.
  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) 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 20,000 words. The word count must be specified on the nomination form.
  14. Verse novels are eligible.
  15. Copyright will remain with the author or publisher.
  16. Co-authored books are ineligible.
  17. Posthumous entries will not be accepted. 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 be considered by the judging panel.
  19. 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 judging panels are not eligible to be entered in either category of the Prize.


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.

Enter the contest by completing the online form. 2024 ARA Hist Novel Prize Nomination Form—CYA

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