Kill Your Darlings is delighted to announce Nicole McAlinden (WA) as the winner of the 2018 Unpublished Manuscript Award, for her manuscript ‘Little Did I Know.’

‘Little Did I Know’ is a speculative fiction adventure set in rural Western Australia. Fliss’s 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 darkest 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, Fliss flees Green Brook, seeking to expose the grim truth, and risking her own freedom in the process.

Nicole McAlinden receives $5000 in prize money, donated by Kill Your Darlings, and a mentorship with KYD’s publishing director and bestselling author of Burial Rites, Hannah Kent.

‘This is completely unexpected and so welcomed,’ says McAlinden of the win. ‘The award validates the countless hours I spend at the desk and affirms that this story is relevant.’

KYD’s Rebecca Starford, Hannah Kent and Curtis Brown senior literary agent Pippa Masson judged this year’s award.

Nicole McAlinden. Image: Supplied.

‘It was a real pleasure to read the five shortlisted manuscripts, which were all of exceptional quality and variety, and I’m especially glad that Nicole McAlinden’s “Little Did I Know” has been awarded the prize,’ says Masson. ‘It’s rare to read something bursting with such potential and vitality. I can’t wait to see what she does with her unique outback thriller/speculative fiction hybrid under the expert guidance of Hannah Kent; I’m sure the stage is being set for an exciting new Australian voice.’

‘We are thrilled to award this year’s prize to “Little Did I Know”,’ says Kent. ‘All those of the judging panel agreed that this manuscript is exceptional in its originality and promise, and I am very excited to be working with her as mentor. I can’t wait to see what Nicole goes on to achieve in her writing career.’

Read an extract of ‘Little Did I Know’ here.

For more details on this year’s shortlist, please click here.

KYD will announce details of the 2019 Unpublished Manuscript Award later in the year.