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The Christy Award® | Category Descriptions

Category Descriptions


General Fiction

Stand-alone, full-length novels whose characters, setting, and issues are primarily contemporary (within the context of the present time period (1960 - ) or “near historical”. Includes Women's Fiction and non-genre.


Contemporary Romance

Fiction whose characters and controlling theme focus on a romantic drama in a contemporary time period (1960 -), including novels where one of the obstacles the romantic drama faces is suspenseful in nature.



(up to 1960)

Fiction that weaves stories about characters in historical epochs or settings. Includes Biblical (fiction focusing on Biblical characters, settings, or time period) and biographical (fiction containing imaginative developments of incidents and qualities of an actual person).


Historical Romance

Fiction whose characters and controlling theme focus on a romantic drama in a historical setting (up to 1960). NOTE: the romance is the controlling element of the story. If that can be removed, or if there are themes or other elements that move the novel beyond the boundaries of romance, then the novel should be entered in the Historical category.



Fiction that often focuses on a strange, frightening, or thrilling set of events. Includes mystery (fiction where the element of mystery or terror plays a controlling part, often a tale of crime), adventure, suspense and thrillers. 



Imaginative fiction including allegory (fiction in the form of extended metaphor in which objects, person and actions are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself), fantasy (fiction that deliberately breaks free from reality, setting the story in a nonexistent and unreal world or concerning incredible or unreal characters), futuristic/speculative (fiction whose action, plot, and characters occur in a future period of time), magical realism, apocalyptic, and science fiction (fiction in which scientific facts or hypotheses form the basis of adventures, often in the future, on other planets, or in other dimensions of time).



All works under 60k words belong here, including sequels, novels in a series, and novellas. Any full-length novel should be submitted to the category it best fits, whether stand-alone or part of a series.


Young Adult

Novels written for young adults within the 12-17 age range. These may be stand-alone novels or novels written as part of a series and may encompass a range of sub-genres including but not limited to contemporary, historical, biographical, and suspense.


First Novel

This novel may represent any genre above written by a first-time novelist who has not previously published commercially (independently or traditionally) any book-length work of fiction. Author may have published fiction in magazines, journals, or other periodicals. NOTE: A book that qualifies for this category may also be entered in its representative genre category.


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