Image: 'DangerPup', Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Image: ‘DangerPup’, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the inaugural Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award is Onyx B. Carmine (S.J. Norman) for their manuscript, Permafrost. They win $5000 in prize money and a mentorship with Hannah Kent.

Permafrost, a collection of contemporary stories, impressed the judges with the calibre of its writing, and moody, compelling storytelling. KYD Publishing Director, Rebecca Starford says:

These are dark, sophisticated stories in which characters, dotted all around the world, are haunted by aspects of their pasts as well as the environment they find themselves in. Onyx B. Carmine (S.J. Norman) has a masterful command of language. This is a powerful, exciting work.

Penguin Random House Commissioning Editor, Cate Blake, says of Permafrost:

These original, atmospheric stories slip together like a string of dark gems. Every story feels visceral and unsettling and deeply compelling, and they all work together in a vivid and striking way – I felt almost physically affected by the strength and beauty of this manuscript. Character and setting and detail are fully realised and immediately captivating in each story, and as a collection they form a memorable whole. Permafrost travels the world and a wide spectrum of human emotion and experience. As I read I felt I was in the hands of an extremely talented and exciting writer.

Of winning the 2017 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award, Onyx B. Carmine (S.J. Norman) says:

Deep and sincere thanks to the judges for choosing Permafrost. Receiving this award for my work provides me with an invaluable push of forward momentum on a project which has so far taken the better part of a decade to write. The financial and moral boost provided by the Award, as well as the focused creative support afforded by the mentorship, will allow me to finally bring my first book into the world.

The judges would also like to congratulate the shortlisted writers, and to commend them for their excellent submissions.

Ashley Kalagian Blunt, Full of Donkey: Travels in Armenia 

Judges’ comments:

In Full of Donkey, Ashley Kalagian Blunt relates her experience of and complex relationship with Armenia to create a multi-faceted and charming travel memoir filled with personal, cultural and familial discoveries. It’s a thoroughly engaging read, and the author’s light and humorous approach makes it easy to feel immersed in the complexities of Armenian culture. The wry observations were balanced with a careful and sympathetic eye for detail and character, and the light and shade in the writing means that the darker, more intense scenes have strong emotional impact.

Amy Lovat, Halfway to Nowhere

Judges’ comments:

Amy Lovat has authentically captured that ungrounded space of early-adulthood in Halfway to Nowhere. The narrator’s voice is authentic and compelling, and immediately builds a world for the reader to step into and connect with. Lovat so clearly depicts the floating, in-between feeling that can hit people after high school or university, and in describing the charms and faults of her characters, is both brutally honest and compassionate. Her characters seem immediately familiar, and the reader cannot help but become deeply invested in them as they stumble through the transition from adolescence to adult life.

Sevana Ohandjanian, Black Grass

Judges’ comments:

Black Grass is a compelling and evocative memoir about belonging, migrant guilt, grief and friendship, set in Berlin and Australia. Sevana Ohandjanian’s writing is sharp and lyrical, with a strong emotional undertow that immediately pulls the reader in. One of its great strengths is vivid and compellingly-realised atmosphere, and the voice and style are very powerful. Using a sharp and disjointed structure to convey the emotional turmoil of the characters, this is a strong and multi-layered work from an original and ambitious writer.

Susan White, Cut

Judges’ comments:

A contemporary novel about a young doctor who yearns to become the first female surgeon in the male-dominated Prince Charles Hospital, Cut deals with an important and difficult issue with strength and heart. Susan White allows the reader to stand in her characters’ shoes as they navigate moments that completely alter the paths of their lives, and handles the challenging subject matter with nuance and complexity. The writing in Cut creates a page-turning intensity that drives the story forward, and the novel provides engaging insights into sexist workplace culture. This is a work that will stay in the reader’s mind long after the final page is turned.

The KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award is open to manuscripts of fiction and non-fiction, and is designed to support the development of an early-career author, providing them with the opportunity to work with industry professionals, and assisting them in creating publishing pathways in future.

The inaugural KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award received over 235 entries from writers all over Australia. The judges were Penguin Random House Commissioning Editor Cate BlakeKYD Publishing Directors Rebecca Starford and Hannah Kent, and KYD Fiction Editor, Ashleigh Hanson.

Entries for the 2018 Award will open next year.