The 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize

The ARA Historical Novel Prize is the richest genre-based literary award in Australasia, incorporating both an Adult category and a category for Children and Young Adult (CYA).

The Prize is worth a total of $100,000 in prize monies; $50,000 will be awarded to the Adult category winner, with an additional $5,000 to be awarded to each of the remaining two shortlisted authors. In the CYA category, the winner will receive $30,000, while the two short listers will receive $5,000 each.

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 Chief Executive Officer, Edward Federman, are committed to supporting the arts and literature. They do this in a number of ways – as a Principal Partner of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, the National Institute of Dramatic Art,  the Monkey Baa Theatre,  Significant Partner of the Story Factory and as a sponsor of the Historical Novel Society Australia’s biennial conferences – and now as the sponsor of this very significant literary prize.


Submissions for the 2024 prize will open in April 2024. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our news.


The definition of the genre set for the prize will ensure a breadth of talented writers is eligible to enter. Historical fiction will be defined as a novel in which the majority of the narrative must have taken place at least 50 years before publication.

A range of sub-genres are eligible, including historical mystery, historical romance, alternate history, historical fantasy, multi-time, time-slip, and parallel narrative novels.

The judging criteria include depth of research, widespread reader appeal, with excellence in writing as the deciding factor. 

The ARA Historical Novel Prize is open to all authors who are citizens or residents of Australia or New Zealand. Authors, publishers, or agents may submit books in print or digital editions. Works must be published between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 to be eligible. The history explored can be from any era or society across the world.

For further information, email


The judging panels consist of:

  • Adult Novels: Dr Robert Gott, Dr Renée Otmar and Lucy Treloar
  • CYA Novels: Christopher Cheng (Chair), Dr Craig Cormick and Lauren Keenan

For further information about each of the judges, visit: Judging Panels for the 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize


  • Early Bird Entries Open: 12 April 
  • Early Bird Entries Close: 9 May
  • General Entries Open: 10 May
  • Entries Close: 14 June at 5pm
  • Longlists Announced: 13 September
  • Shortlists Announced: 27 September
  • Winners Announced: 19 October



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, Melbourne Writers Festival, the Monkey Baa Theatre, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Crown Sponsor of the Taronga Zoo, and Signficant Partner of the Story Factory.


The Historical Novel Society Australasia is the third arm of the international Historical Novel Society, and is recognised as the home of the historical fiction genre in Australasia. The Society promotes the writing, reading and publication of historical fiction, especially in Australia and New Zealand, through its biennial conferences held since 2015. Our events showcase the best literary talent and enable readers, writers and publishing professionals to celebrate the genre. Our next conference will be held on 21 -22 October 2023.

The inauguration of the ARA Historical Novel Prize is the crown jewel in HNSA’s suite of literary contests.  HNSA also runs the TCW First Pages Pitch Contest, the Colleen McCullough Residency held on Norfolk Island and the Elizabeth Jane Corbett Mentorship for Young Adult historical novelists.  

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