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Historically, the section was divided into two awards: Best Novel and Best Short Story. In 2016, convenors announced a splitting of the short-fiction award, making three individual awards: Best Short Story, Best Novella, and Best Novel.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

winner (Short Story) So-called Bin Chicken E. J. Delaney , 2021 single work short story
— Appears in: Curioser Magazine , no. 2 2021; (p. 75-78)
winner (Novella) y separately published work icon Bones of the Sea Amy L. Laurens , Newcastle : Inkprint Press , 2021 24313188 2021 single work novella horror

'Due to a fortuitous combination of luck, caution and common sense, Lucy makes it to fourteen without seeing the Mist—carnivorous, ravenous, rolling in through the forest from the sea every few years.

'Then her mother sends her to the forest for potion ingredients. Determined to prove her maturity, Lucy goes eagerly.

'The Mist rolls in, and Lucy must choose: carnivorous Mist, or cursed bones?

'A rich, dark fantasy for everyone who believes in doing whatever it takes to keep your loved ones safe.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Dark Rise C. S. Pacat , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 21360265 2021 single work novel fantasy young adult


'The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns.

'Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight beside the Stewards, Will is ushered into a world of magic, where he must train to play a vital role in the oncoming battle against the Dark.

'As London is threatened by the Dark King's return, the reborn heroes and villains of a long-forgotten war begin to draw battle lines. But as the young descendants of Light and Dark step into their destined roles, old allegiances, old enmities and old flames are awakened. Will must stand with the last heroes of the Light to prevent the dark fate that destroyed their world from returning to destroy his own.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2020

winner (Short Story) Truth Be Told Louise Pieper , 2020 single work short story
— Appears in: Unnatural Order 2020;
winner (Novella) Dingo & Sister Nikky Lee , 2020 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Andromeda Spaceways Magazine , March no. 78 2020; (p. 5-27)
In a future Australia devastated by climate change, a young woman relies on her dingo companion as she tries to make it safely across the desert to Alice Springs.
winner (Novel) y separately published work icon The Left-Handed Booksellers of London Garth Nix , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2020 19649862 2020 single work novel fantasy young adult

'Eighteen-year-old art student Susan Arkshaw arrives in London in search of her father. But before she can question crime boss Frank Thringley he's turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin. Merlin is one of the youngest members of a secret society of booksellers with magical powers who police the mythic Old World wherever it impinges on the New World - in addition to running several bookshops, of course! Merlin also has a quest of his own: to find the Old World entity who arranged the murder of his mother. Their investigations attract attention from enemies of the Old and New Worlds. Soon they become involved in an even more urgent task to recover the grail that is the source of the left-handed booksellers' power, before it is used to destroy the booksellers and rouse the hordes of the mythic past. As the search for the grail becomes strangely intertwined with both their quests, they start to wonder… Is Susan's long-lost father a bookseller, or something altogether more mysterious?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Angel Mage Garth Nix , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 15477384 2019 single work novel fantasy

'From fantasy master Garth Nix comes a new world of angels, heroes, gunpowder and high magic.

'The icon-maker and angel-summoner Liliath, long-believed dead, has woken from her century-long sleep to pick up the threads of a plan that has already destroyed one kingdom and may yet destroy another. To succeed, Liliath must bring together Agnez the musketeer; Simeon the doctor; Dorotea the mage; and Henri, one of the Cardinal's clerks, and take them into utmost danger ...

'Set in an alternate 17th century where angels can be summoned (and controlled) by those with a talent for magic, Angel Mage is an action-packed story of angels, heroes, gunpowder and high magic.'  (Publication summary)

winner (Short Story) Tansy Rayner Roberts for 'Dragon by Subscription', published exclusively on the micro-patronage website Patreon.
winner (Novella) 'Scapes Made Diamond Shauna O'Meara , 2019 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Interzone , no. 280 2019; (p. 56-75)

'Twenty-seven years after his failure to save the telepathic Tulina, Graeyan returns to witness the death of the herd leader and try to reconcile with the man he once loved.'

Source: Rocket Stack Rank ( (Sighted: 2/4/2020)

Year: 2018

winner (Short Story) The Further Shore J. Ashley Smith , 2018 single work short story horror
— Appears in: Bourbon Penn , March no. 15 2018;
winner (Novella) The Staff in the Stone Garth Nix , 2018 single work novella fantasy
— Appears in: The Book of Magic 2018; The Best Science Fiction 2019; The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year : Volume Thirteen 2019;

'The villagers find a wizard’s staff sticking out of an ancient stone obelisk, but only Colrean knows just how dangerous it is and what sort of dangers it may attract.'

Source: Rocket Stack Rank ( (Sighted: 22/02/2019)

joint winner (Novel) y separately published work icon City of Lies Sam Hawke , Sydney : Bantam Press , 2018 14050679 2018 single work novel fantasy

'I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...

'Jovan wears two faces. Outwardly, he is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible heir. He’s quiet. Forgettable even. But in truth he is a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family. Then there is his sister, Kalina. She hides her frustrations behind a mask of serenity. While other women of the city holds positions of power and responsibility, her path is full of secrets and lies - some hidden even from her own brother.

'It's when the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city that the siblings' world begins to truly unravel. Trapped and desperate, they soon discover that the society into which they were born and grew up also possesses two faces - for behind the sophistication and the beauty lies an ugly truth - this is a world built on oppression and treachery ...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

joint winner (Novel) y separately published work icon The Witch Who Courted Death Maria Lewis , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2018 14508401 2018 single work novel fantasy

"Considering her status as the world’s most powerful medium, Corvossier ‘Casper’ von Klitzing had a pretty normal life. Her unrivalled ability to speak with and control the dead had made her a living, and made her a target.

"After a horrific incident in her home city of Berlin, Casper’s life is forever changed. The sole survivor, she is consumed with vengeance towards an enemy she doesn’t understand.

"Diving headfirst into the supernaturally secretive world of spells, charms and covens, it’s not long before Casper is crossing much more than just the line between the living and the dead..."

Source: Publisher's blurb. 

Year: 2017

winner (Short Story) The Curse Is Come Upon Me, Cried Tansy Rayner Roberts , 2017 single work short story fantasy
— Appears in: Please Look after This Angel and Other Winged Stories 2017;
winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Godsgrave Jay Kristoff , New York (City) : Thomas Dunne Books , 2017 10702284 2017 single work novel fantasy

'Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia's suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

'When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end the man who ended her world. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Works About this Award

Aurealis Awards Keith Stevenson , 2002 single work column
— Appears in: Aurealis : Australian Fantasy & Science Fiction , no. 29 2002; (p. 104, 105-106)
A Chaplet i "I treasure the faery phrases that unchain", Kenneth Slessor , 1920 single work poetry
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 22 January vol. 41 no. 2084 1920; (p. 3) Kenneth Slessor : Collected Poems 1994; (p. 265-266)