We are delighted to announce the four shortlisted titles in this year’s KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award.

Now in its third year, this award was established 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.

This year, all shortlisted writers receive the inaugural KYD/Varuna Copyright Agency Fellowship, which involves a week-long residency at Varuna, the Writers House in the Blue Mountains, from Monday 30 September to Sunday, 6 October. The winner of the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award will be announced at the end of the fellowship, and will receive a cash prize of $4000.

This year, the award attracted 143 entries from across Australia. Catch up on our longlist here.

Congratulations to the following shortlisted entrants:

Wake, by Shelley Burr (Fiction)
Mina McCreery has grown up in the shadow of her twin sister Evelyn’s disappearance twenty years ago. The impossible case of a rural girl who vanished from her bed has long fascinated the press – internet forums and conspiracy theorists pick over the case, many believing Mina herself to be the killer. When private investigator Lane Holland takes it on himself to reopen the case, Mina is sceptical – Lane, though, is persistent, and his unusual methods show promise. But what Lane uncovers will threaten not only the investigation but his and Mina’s lives.

The Covered Wife, by Lisa Emanuel (Fiction)
Sarah is a smart young lawyer living in Bondi. She meets Daniel, and falls for him quickly and deeply. He introduces her to a charismatic young rabbi and his wife, whose teachings reach into her soul. Months later, Daniel and Sarah exchange their modern Sydney lives for a community of true believers in the Blue Mountains, where every aspect of their being is structured around the ancient laws and traditions of Torah. But four years on, youthful enthusiasm has given way to fanaticism and repression. As the community prepares for an auspicious occasion, shocking events rock Sarah’s world and cause her to question everything – her faith, her marriage, and her future.

This American Carnage, by Matt Millikan (Fiction)
How do you save your soul in a world that can’t be saved? That’s the question facing washed-up knife salesman Conrad Black. When he wakes up in the basement of a bar, all he has is a list of names on a cocktail napkin. He is (or was) on step nine of AA – the one where you apologise. But it won’t be easy after a nuke has decimated the city above him and everyone on his list is either dead, missing or unwilling to accept his apology. Through the shattered remnants of a California that’s seceded from the Union, where security has been privatised and the revolution is live-streamed, Conrad must relive his downfall, discover his salvation and learn to forgive himself.

Eating with My Mouth Open, by Sam van Zweden (Non-fiction)
Eating with my Mouth Open is a giant braided essay looking at cultural and personal stories around food, memory and mental health, and their effects upon the body. van Zweden’s personal experiences of difficult embodiment and intergenerational trauma provide a lens to consider the intersectionality of people’s relationships with food and their bodies, and the deep importance of food as a marker of gender, class, culture and identity. Eating with my Mouth Open takes a body politics lens to body positivity, asking what social factors contribute to the difficulty of food, how people have become disconnected from their bodies, and how we might reconnect.

The judges for the 2019 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award are KYD Publishing Director Rebecca Starford, 2018 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award winner Nicole McAlinden and Allen & Unwin publisher Jane Palfreyman.

This project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.