Introducing the ARA Historical Novel Prize

A new $30,000 literary prize celebrating historical fiction

Historical Novel Society Australasia is delighted to announce the inauguration of the ARA Historical Novel Prize which will celebrate the historical fiction genre with prize money of $30,000. 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. Now Australian and New Zealand historical novelists 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.

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 an historical sub-genre.

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

For more information please visit ARA Historical Novel Prize to download the rules, or email

Authors, publishers and agents – time to get those books ready!

About ARA Group

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.

About New England Writers’ Centre

NEWC is a dynamic regional literary organisation which has been operating for 25 years in the beautiful, vast New England region of northern New South Wales. We run workshops in all aspects of writing and publishing, host visiting authors, offer professional development and pitching opportunities for aspiring regional writers and illustrators, and showcase local book industry professionals, including writers, illustrators, editors and publishers. We also run two prestigious national awards, the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, and the New England Illustration Prize, as well as the Varuna/New England Writers’ Centre Fellowship, run in partnership with Varuna the National Writers’ House. You can find out more about us at our website.

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