We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2018 Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award.

This award is designed to support the development of an early-career author, provide them with the opportunity to work with industry professionals, and assist them in creating publishing pathways in the future.

The winner will receive $5000 in prize money, donated by Kill Your Darlings, and a mentorship with KYD’s Rebecca Starford (non-fiction) or Hannah Kent (fiction).

This year, the award attracted 166 entries from across Australia. Catch up on our longlist here.

Congratulations to the following shortlisted entrants:

Blindside by Beth Amos
A psychological literary suspense novel following the aftermath of a deadly one-punch attack on a Sydney beach. Grief-stricken, the victim’s single mother, Laura, places her faith in the courts to deliver justice – but instead, seventeen-year-old Jaydon avoids prison and is placed in an anger management program working with Ben, a famous horse whisperer, rehabilitating wild brumbies. Deep in the Snowy Mountains, Jaydon learns to let go of his anger, while an increasingly disillusioned Laura embraces hers.

The Eulogy by Jacqueliene Bailey
Set across regional Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, ‘The Eulogy’ is a contemporary adult fiction novel that follows 33-year old Kathy Bradley, who is on a quest to uncover three generations of family secrets in the wake of her sister’s death.

What In Me Is Dark by Allan Drew
A historical novel following the ageing, blind poet John Milton as he struggles to complete his epic poem Paradise Lost in the village of Chalfont-St Giles. Dependent on but contemptuous of his all-female family, particularly daughter Deborah, Milton must decide between domestic fulfilment and literary greatness as his family threatens to fall apart.

Little Did I Know by Nicole McAlinden
A speculative fiction adventure set in rural WA in the not too distant future. Fliss’ life in Green Brook is quiet and safe from the draconian government – that is, until the shock arrival of a young man on the run, who knows her secret. Albey is the child Fliss illegally terminated two decades before, implanted into female prisoners in a remote mining town. Not knowing who to trust and with Albey’s captors on their tail, she flees Green Brook, seeking to expose the grim truth, and risking her own freedom in the process.

Pretty Roadkill by M. L. Siemienowicz
A literary fiction novel of sex and taxidermy. Set in rural Australia, Judy begins a secret life as a sex worker to support her 15-year-old son, Lachlan, since a road accident left her husband Dale comatose. Judy manages abusive bookings and confronting work, but finds solace in a sullen client with a terrible secret. Meanwhile Lachlan, mortified by his participation in a grim bonding activity with local misfit Hayden, falls in love with the artistic Morgan – but his overwhelming desire for a bond has devastating consequences.

Stay tuned to the KYD website all next week as we showcase extracts from all our shortlisted entrants.

The judges for the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award are Hannah Kent (author and KYD publishing director), Rebecca Starford (author and KYD publishing director), Pippa Masson (literary agent at Curtis Brown) and senior KYD editorial staff.

The overall winner of the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award will be announced on 6 July.