Award Entry Rules
The following outlines the rules and regulations for entering work into the Australian Shadows Awards. Please read this page carefully.

  • All entries must be works of fiction first published within the calendar year of consideration (e.g. 2016 for the 2016 awards).
  • In the case of work translated from another language, eligibility will be determined by the year of first publication in English.
  • The work may be published in any text format: print, electronic, or audio.
  • The work may be traditionally published or self-published.
  • The author/editor must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, New Zealand, or Oceania (hereafter referred to as ‘Australia’ for convenience).
  • In the case of collaborations, works co-written with or co-edited by a non-Australian are eligible (although only the Australian collaborator may claim prizes if that work wins).
  • The work must have horror/dark fictioncontent either as a focal point or an integral element of the work (i.e. the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader). Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.
  • In the case of anthologies and collections, some mixed genre stories may be allowed, but the predominant genre/theme of the anthology/collection must be horror. The Awards Director has the discretion to rule ineligible any work based on genre (i.e. if the work is not dark/horrific enough).

Annual Reading Period (Currently closed)

October 1 to February 28 .


  • A trophy for the winners of each category.
  • In the case of collaborations:
    Separate trophies may be commissioned at the Awards Director’s discretion, but additional awards must be paid for if more than one is required.
  • If co-written with or co-edited by a non-Australian, the non-Australian co-writer/co-editor will not receive a trophy

Electronic Work

Electronic books and individual short stories may be entered into the Awards in electronic form. Individual short stories (in the Short Fiction category) or works that are available in electronic format (i.e. e-books) may be emailed to the Awards Director. See ENTERING WORKS for more details.

Hardcopy books are preferred if this is the work’s native format. In the case of a work that is available in print and e-book form, the entrant may decide on which format to submit.

If multiple short stories from the same anthology or collection are to be entered, submitting a copy of the print or ebook is preferred over emailing several short stories.

If submitting a collecion or anthology (collected works or edited works,) and you wish to submit individual stories as well (e.g. for short fiction or long fiction,) you must indicate which of the stories should be submitted.

Some or all stories in a collection or anthology may not be eligible, for example if they’ve been reprinted from a previous year, or are not within the theme (horror, dark fantasy, etc.)

Judges and Shortlisted Finalists

A panel of not less than three (3) judges (referred to as the judging panel) will read all entered material to determine a shortlist of five (5) works in each category as finalists.

Judges are encouraged to serve a two-year consecutive tenure. After two years, it is recommended that the judge step aside to allow new judges to serve. This ensures no one individual’s opinion will dominate finalist selections.

If an award category receives less than ten (10) entries, the judging panel has the discretion to reduce the number of shortlisted finalists to three (3) or to announce a ‘No Award’ for that category.

If the judging panel concludes that entered works in any category are of insufficient quality to be considered award-worthy, they may announce a ‘No Award’ for that category, regardless of how many works were entered in that category.

It is up to the Awards Director’s and AHWA Committee’s discretion whether guest judges are appointed to determine winners from the judging panel’s shortlists.

If no guest judge is appointed, the judging panel will determine the winners from their shortlisted finalists.

In the event no guest judges are appointed, the Awards Director and AHWA Committee may appoint more than one judging panel (e.g. a judging panel per category) if the workload is deemed too great for one judging panel to determine shortlisted finalists and winners for all categories.


Novel -At least 40,000 words.

Long Fiction -Between 7,501 to 39,999 words.

Short Fiction -Up to 7,500 words.


  • Three (3) or more short stories by a single author.
  • No minimum or maximum word count.
  • May contain reprints (i.e. previously published short stories) or originals.
  • Reprint-only collections are eligible in the year the collection as a whole is first published. Second or subsequent editions (in any format) or the publication of a new edition by a different publisher are ineligible unless different stories are included.

Edited Publication:

  • Three (3) or more short stories by two (2) or more authors; edited by one or more editors.
  • No minimum or maximum word count.
  • Includes anthologies and individual magazine issues.
  • Horror/dark-themed special issues of mixed-genre magazines are eligible.
  • May contain reprints (i.e. previously published short stories) or originals.
  • Reprint-only anthologies are eligible in the year the anthology as a whole is first published. Second or subsequent editions (in any format) or the publication of a new edition by a different publisher are ineligible unless different stories are included.

Non fiction:

A piece of non-fiction or work of criticism, including (but not limited to) a book, essay, article or review

The topic should relate to either some form of horror themed topic, ie. hauntings, true crime killings, someone recognised for work in the horror genre (ie. author biography) or be a criticism of a piece of horror work
Must have been first published in 2015

Graphic Novels or comics:

Can include a single issue, run of issues, single comic or complete graphic novel.
Work must be written by an Australian
Work will be judged as an overall medium, with an emphasis on the script or story elements
Historical categories no longer in use, nbut recorded for historical reference:

2005 to 2008: All works considered together, regardless of length or format.
2009 to 2010: Long Fiction (novels/novellas/collections); Short Fiction; Edited Publication.

Submitting Works (Currently Closed)

It is recommended works should be posted to the judging panel within 14 days of entry to avoid judging delays.

In the case of works eligible for electronic entry (works available in electronic form), these may be emailed to the Awards Director ( as a PDF attachment or other ebook format.
Authors, editors, and publishers should email the Awards Director ( advising of the submission, with the electronic version attached and/or a link to a free donwload if digitally available.

The Awards Director will advise the author/publisher of the judging panel’s postal addresses if required.
Nominated authors are known as NOMINEES. Those selected on the short list are known as FINALISTS. The winning authors are known as WINNERS.

Entry is free for 2016.
Submissions should be made by the author, publisher or their agent or representative, with the appropriate category based on word count (do not include foreword, introduction, copyright or background information, table of contents or biographies for short or long fiction)