Kill Your Darlings is delighted to announce Cher Tan (VIC) as the winner of the 2019 KYD New Critic Award. The award includes $3000 total prize money and publication of a series of long-form articles throughout the year, working closely with senior KYD editorial staff.

Cher Tan is a critic and narrative non-fiction writer based in Naarm/Melbourne, via Kaurna Yerta/Adelaide and Singapore. Her writing focuses on technology, politics, identity and culture, with previous work in KYD, Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, Runway, Westerly, Overland, and Swampland, among others. 

As 2019 New Critic, Cher’s criticism will focus on technology and new media, exploring the intersections between technology, culture, identity and ethics in our rapidly-advancing yet heterogeneous societies. The first of these essays will appear in March.

On her win, Cher says:

It’s a huge honour to be selected as Kill Your Darlings‘ New Critic for 2019. Since the beginning, the publication has been incredibly supportive to emerging writers such as myself and I look forward to be able to take my craft to greater heights. As a self-taught writer with no prior institutional training or qualifications, working with an editorial schedule while under the guidance of established editors will be a crucial next step for the advancement of my writing career. Through this role, I hope to not only further deepen my understanding of criticism as a genre of writing – or, as fellow cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib says, ‘as an act of care’ – but to also encourage readers to think laterally with me.

This year we’re also pleased to announce two runners up in the New Critic Award. Both of these writers will work with KYD editors to publish longform works of criticism in KYD in the coming months.

Kaya Wilson is a writer and scientist based in Sydney. He writes lyrical non-fiction with a focus on queer identity and has been published widely, including by the Guardian, Overland, Archer and in Brow Books’ Going Postal anthology. Kaya is currently working on a book length series of essays blending research and memoir. He also coordinates the list of transgender writers and/or writers with intersex variations. Kaya’s New Critic entry focused on cross-platform queer art and transgender characterisation.

Viv Cutbush reads, writes, mends, makes and bakes in nipaluna/Hobart, where the sky – its gusts, glares and billows – grip the heart. Viv’s New Critic entry focused on poetic enquiries into books and visual arts, and how they bump and scrape against one another.


KYD Editor Alan Vaarwerk says of this year’s winners:

Out of an extremely competitive field, I’m so pleased to present the KYD New Critic award to Cher Tan in 2019. At a moment when we are only beginning to grasp some of the more insidious effects of algorithms, always-online culture and perpetual surveillance on our relationships, politics and identities, I’m excited about the opportunities for thoughtful, accessible cultural criticism to help us make sense of our world. Cher is an insightful and engaging writer, and I can’t wait to work with her on these ideas over the course of 2019.

At KYD we are proud to support of high quality cultural criticism through the New Critic Award, which not only gives emerging writers financial support, but the time and space to build a strong body of work and to reflect and grow as a cultural critic. Cher, Kaya and Viv have all shown tremendous critical insight with their applications, and I’m very glad to be able to provide this platform for their work.

The 2019 New Critic Award saw over 35 entries from emerging writers all over Australia. The judges were KYD Editor Alan Vaarwerk, 2018 New Critic Kylie Maslen and KYD Publication Manager Alice Cottrell. 

Entries for the 2020 KYD New Critic Award will open later this year.