Entries open for the $30,000 ARA Historical Novel Prize

The starting gun has sounded for the ARA Historical Novel Prize contest to begin! The submission period opens today and will close on 30 June 2020. Authors, agents and publishers can download the rules and nomination form from our ARA Historical Novel Prize page.

Why enter?

Major sponsor, ARA Group, is joining with HNSA, in association with the New England Writers Centre, to reward and recognise excellence in writing, depth of research, and reader appeal in this increasingly popular genre. Australian and New Zealand historical novelists now have a chance to be recognised in a class of their own, with the most significant prize money for any genre-based prize in Australasia in the sum of $30,000.

About the Prize

The prize is open to all authors, whether traditionally or self published, who are citizens or residents of Australia or New Zealand. Books published between 1 January 2019 and 30 June 2020 are eligible. Books may be submitted by authors, publishers or agents. The definition of the genre set by HNSA will ensure a breadth of talented writers can enter with historical fiction defined as a novel written at least 50 years after the events described, or by someone not alive at the time of those events who therefore must approach them only by research. Sub-genres included in the definition are historical mystery, historical romance, alternate history, historical fantasy, pseudo histories, time-slip, multiple-time, and parallel narrative novels. For the purposes of the Prize, historical novels written for children and young adults are also deemed to be a historical sub-genre.

About The Judges

Our panel consists of our Chair, Linda Funnell, co-editor of the Newtown Review of Books, freelance editor and publishing consultant; Paula Morris historical novelist, academic and founder of the Academy of New Zealand Literature; Kirsty Murray historical novelist, Creative Fellow of the State Library of Victoria and Asialink Literature Resident in India; and Colin Falconer, author of over two dozen novels of historical fiction translated across 23 languages.

Key dates

  • Opening date: 1 May 2020 at 9 am AEST
  • Closing date for entries: 30 June 2020 at 5 pm AEST
  • Longlist of 6 books announced: Mid-September
  • Shortlist of 3 books announced: Mid-October
  • Prize Winner announced at event at the ARA Darling Quarter Theatre: 18 November

HNSA is thrilled this inaugural prize will help us truly make a noise about historical fiction! Good luck to all the entrants.


The ARA Historical Novel Prize, for published historical novels by Australian and New Zealand authors, will be worth $30,000 to the winning author. With entries opening on May 1, it is a partnership between generous sponsor, the ARA Group, and the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA), in association with the New England Writers’ Centre. HNSA is delighted and proud to introduce this initiative, which celebrates the diversity and strength of an increasingly popular and acclaimed genre.

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