We are delighted to announce the four shortlisted titles in this year’s KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award.

Now in its fourth year, this award was established to support the development of early-career authors, provide them with the opportunity to work with industry professionals, and assist them in creating publishing pathways in the future.

All four shortlisted writers receive the KYD/Varuna Copyright Agency Fellowship, which involves a week-long residency in partnership with Varuna, the Writers House in the Blue Mountains. The winner of the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award will be announced at the end of the fellowship, and will receive a cash prize of $4000.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 a record 229 entries from across Australia. Catch up on our longlist here.

Congratulations to the following shortlisted entrants:

Abomination by Ashley Goldberg (Fiction)
Ezra and Yonatan were both students at Yahel Academy, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school, when allegations of sexual abuse arose against a teacher, Rabbi Hirsh. After Hirsch fled to Israel, Ezra’s parents pulled him out of the school, while Yonatan remained. Now in their thirties, the lives of the two men have taken very different paths: Ezra identifies as secular and atheist, while Yonatan has been ordained as a rabbi and even teaches at the Yahel Academy. At a rally in support of the extradition of Rabbi Hirsch from Israel the men are reunited, and the events of their past and present collide with devastating consequences.

The Dead Falls by Joshua Kemp (Fiction)
Thirteen years after the disappearance of Shelby Dallow, Corey Hallowell is still treated like a pariah by his local community in a small town in the bushlands of the Flinders Ranges. Accused of the abduction, he’s become the local bogeyman. The Rayson family are the worst, calling him a pervert and a murderer. So when a little boy goes missing out in the national park, no-one’s more surprised than Hallowell when the Raysons arrive on his doorstep to ask for his help. The events that follow will force Hallowell and the townsfolk to confront the frightening ghosts of the past.

The Lies in Silence by Picorelli Pal (Fiction)
In the early hours of one morning, a teenage boy named Nish is found dead on the rocks at Crest Cove in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and the police suspect foul play. Indira is a university drop-out with a drinking problem, who has alienated her friends and family after the death of another teenage boy, five years prior—her own brother. Once, Indira played a piano accordion with rainbow keys that could raise the dead. Now, her childhood friend Mo needs Indira’s accordion to find out how her brother drowned at Bronte. But Indira gave the accordion away long ago. Can she, along with her ex-boyfriend Will, track down the instrument and solve the mystery of what happened to Nish?

The Push Back by Hayley Scrivenor (Fiction)
When twelve-year-old Agnes disappears  on the way home from school in a small town in rural Australia, the community is thrown into a maelstrom of suspicion and grief. As the police begin their investigation, Agnes’s tenacious best friend, Ronnie, is determined to find her and bring her home. When schoolfriend Lewis tells Ronnie that he saw Agnes with a strange man at the creek the afternoon she went missing, Ronnie feels she is one step closer to finding her. But why is Lewis refusing to speak to the police? And who else is lying about how much they know about what has happened to Agnes?

The judges for the 2020 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award are Picador publisher Mathilda Imlah, KYD publishing director Rebecca Starford and 2019 Award winner Sam van Zweden.

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