Award Entry Rules


Rules and regulations for entering work into the Australian Shadows Awards are listed below. Please read this page carefully before submitting.

Don’t hesitate to contact if you have any questions.

Award Categories

Works of horror or dark fiction may be entered into the following categories:

  • Short Fiction: works up to 7,500 words.
  • Long Fiction: works between 7,501 to 39,999 words (novelette or novella).
  • Novel: works of at least 40,000 words.
  • Collection: Three (3) or more short stories by a single author. No minimum or maximum word count. May contain reprints and/or originals*.
  • 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 also eligible. May contain reprints and/or originals*.
  • Graphic Novels and Comics: Can include a single issue, run of issues, single comic or complete graphic novel. Work must be written by an Australasian. Work will be judged as an overall medium, with an emphasis on the script or story elements. (*Note: The Award for Graphic Novel category will only be awarded to the author)
  • Non-fiction: A piece of non-fiction or work of criticism, including (but not limited to) a book, essay, article or review. The work should be an author biography recognising work in the horror genre, criticism of one or more horror works, or be based on a topic that is in some way horror-themed, ie. hauntings, true crime killings.
  • Poetry: Up to three (3) pieces per author. No line limit.

* Reprint-only collections/edited publications are eligible in the year the work as a whole is first published. Subsequent editions (in any format) or the publication of a new edition by a different publisher are ineligible unless different stories are included.

Eligibility of works

  • As of December 2018, authors can only submit up to three (3) submissions per category, across all categories of the Australian Awards. They can enter as many categories as they have work for.
  • As of 2017, there is no fee to submit works to the Australian Shadows Awards.
  • All entries must be first published within the calendar year of consideration (i.e. 2021 for the 2021 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 Australasia, New Zealand, or Oceania (hereafter referred to as ‘Australasia’ for convenience).
  • In the case of collaborations, works co-written with or co-edited by a non-Australasian are eligible (although only the Australasian collaborator may claim a trophy if that work wins).
  • The work must have horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, that is 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 Coordinator has the discretion to rule ineligible any work if the work is not considered dark/horrific enough.

Submission and Reading Period

  • Eligible works may be entered from 12.01am Friday 14th October 2022 through to midnight Tuesday 31st January, 2023.
  • Shortlists and Winners will be announced at a date to be advised.

Submitting Works

  • All submissions should be made to the Shadows Awards Coordinator at
  • Maximum of three submissions allowed per author per category.
  • Submissions should be made by the author, publisher or their agent or representative, with the appropriate category determined based on word count or content. Do not assume your publisher will enter your work – check with them.
  • Required information for each submission: In the Subject line put: [TITLE]-[AUTHOR]-[CATEGORY]

In the body of the email we need:

Title of the work

Author of the work

Publisher of the work and where it was published

Word count of the work

Date of publication

  • For Poetry, Short Fiction and Long Fiction, and for Non-Fiction that appears as an article in a larger book or journal, please DO NOT send the entire publication the work appears in. The judges require just the entry itself in ePub format for Short and Long fiction and Non-Fiction, or PDF for Poetry
  • Submissions must be in ePub format (except Poetry, which should be a PDF), attached or linked to from the submission email. Calibre is free software which you can use to turn a Docx into ePub format.
  • Please send a separate email for each category to ease in processing your entries.
  • If electronic versions of works are not available, works should be posted to the judging panel within 14 days of submission, AFTER confirming with the Awards Coordinator at the above email address.

Judging Process

  • 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 between three (3) and six (6) works in each category as finalists.
  • Judges are empanelled each year prior to the awards opening. Judges can serve consecutive terms, but new judges will always be given priority. 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 announce a ‘No Award’ for that category, or to select a winner but no shortlist.
  • 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.


The winners in each category will win an Australian Shadows Awards trophy. In the Graphic Novel category the trophy will only be awarded to the author.

In the case of collaborations: Separate trophies may be commissioned at the Awards Coordinator’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-Australasian, the non-Australasian co-writer/co-editor will not receive a trophy.