This week Kill Your Darlings, in partnership with Auckland Writers Festival, is proud to present our first showcase of new writing from Aotearoa New Zealand. Out of over 70 submissions from across New Zealand, Australia and the world, I am delighted to share three brilliant new works of memoir, fiction and culture writing from across the ditch. It has been a joy to work on these pieces, and I hope you enjoy reading them.

These pieces meditate on language and identity, on kinship and solitude, on shame and displacement. Kirsty Dunn unpacks what it means to grow up Māori without knowing the language of her ancestors, and how literature has helped her navigate shame; Serena Chen, in her debut literary publication, reflects on diaspora, moments of beauty in the urban landscape and the allure of the open road; Eamonn Marra’s ‘Debts’ is a tender and darkly comic short story of guilt, desperation and simple kindnesses.

The showcase is also a great opportunity to revisit J.P. Pomare’s ‘This Is Water’ – first published in KYD in 2017, Pomare’s essay is a nuanced reflection on luck and privilege, and one I have thought about often since its publication. (For readers based in Melbourne, there are still a few spots remaining in Pomare’s Writing A Thriller workshop this weekend!)

To celebrate our showcase and New Zealand writing more broadly, we’re also excited to offer KYD Members the chance to win an amazing holiday for two people at Auckland Writers Festival 2020, worth approx. $1500!

Happy reading!

– Alan Vaarwerk
Editor, Kill Your Darlings

Whakamā: Shame and Language
Kirsty Dunn

Shame is an ever-present part of my life, especially as a Māori language learner trying to regain the words of my ancestors. But in reconnecting with Māori literature, I am learning that shame is not something to be conquered, but to be navigated.

The Road Home
Serena Chen

On the road, I feel weightless and unbound – a citizen of everywhere and nowhere. But occasionally a bend in the highway will remind me where I’ve come from, and where I’m going.

Eamonn Marra

“‘I owe you everything,’ I said. ‘You owe me nothing,’ he said.”

From the archive: This Is Water
J.P. Pomare

What constitutes luck? First published in KYD Issue 29 in 2017, award-winning novelist J.P. Pomare reflects on a trip to India, privilege and the lottery of good fortune.