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Image: Guy Shield

Welcome to the 27th issue of Kill Your Darlings.

As many of our readers will now be aware, 2017 will see some exciting changes at Kill Your Darlings. From 1 January, KYD will become a digital-only publisher, and the April 2017 edition (our 29th) will be the last print magazine produced.

This is a huge transformation for our organisation, and while we have loved producing our beautiful books, we see it as the beginning of a bold new phase for our enterprise. We have already published the writing of more than 400 extraordinary writers since our first print edition back in March 2010, and we now look forward to publishing even more content to a wider, larger and more diverse audience both in Australia and abroad. Next year we plan to publish twice as many writers than previous years on our redesigned website, increasing the scope and range of content for our readers.

Alongside these changes to our publishing program, we are delighted to announce two inaugural writing awards for early-career writers.

The first award is the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award, which includes a cash prize of $5000 and a mentorship with KYD’s Rebecca Starford and Hannah Kent. The award will assist an early-career author in the development of their manuscript and is open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult non-fiction.

The second award offered is the KYD New Critic Award, which will assist the vocational development of an early-career critic. It comprises a cash prize of $4000, the commissioning of regular writing for KYD, and a mentorship with senior editorial staff.

We are so excited to offer these inaugural awards, and look forward to reading the bright new talent they uncover. For more details on both prizes, including entry requirements and submission dates, click here.

Next year will also see the expansion of the KYD Writers’ Workshop. These creative writing workshops, held by leading industry professionals, have been running in Melbourne for the past two years, and in 2017 we will also offer events interstate and in regional centres. KYD will continue to engage communities of readers and writers via the KYD Podcast, the monthly KYD First Book Club, and additional events in collaboration with Australia’s premier arts festivals.

While much has been going on at KYD HQ, much continues to tick over in Australian politics at large. In his lead feature, Royce Kurmelovs visits Whyalla, home of the Arrium steelworks whose future is precarious. ‘Australian Rust’ explores the stories of the locals affected by the fate of the steelworks and the political machinations that surround it, and asks what their prospects – as well as the prospects of so many workers in similar industries – might be in this post-manufacturing economy.

Elsewhere in Commentary, Sarah Coles travels to Western Australia, where she meets Steve Marsh, the organic farmer who has been battling his neighbour, and multinational agribusiness conglomerate Monsanto, for years. It has been a David and Goliath battle for Marsh, and Coles’ investigation reveals the troubling complicity of the state government and its institutions in denying organic farming suitable protection.

Kill Your Darlings’ contributing editor Rebecca Shaw appears in this issue with a compelling essay about the absence of ‘fatness’ in pop culture, and explores the ramifications of this lack of representation on a personal and societal level. With a similarly keen and questioning eye, Amy T. Matthews looks at the dominant societal attitudes towards romance novels and those who read them, and asks whether we might be dismissing a genre that is, in fact, feminist in creation and intent.

In First Person, Simon Webster ponders how a young person thrust into the post-boom suburbia of Western Australia can find a new language to tell stories of place and memory, while Angela Smith examines the consequences of a society obsessed with food, the body and self-image.

In Dispatches, Cam Hassard reflects on how travel has enabled him to recover from family tragedy, while Scott McCulloch visits Lebanon during a time of extreme unrest and contemplates the psychical effect the ongoing civil war in Syria is having on its closest neighbour.

In Conversations, Gerard Elson speaks to French novelist (and occasional controversialist) Marie Darrieussecq about her writing, as well as her involvement with Charlie Hebdo after the deadly terrorist attack on the magazine’s staff in January 2015. And in Culture Files, Tim Robertson examines the legacy of the late polemicist Christopher Hitchens, which is a timely retrospective as the threat of ISIS continues around the world.

If you haven’t already, please visit our website: There you can access a wealth of additional content, listen to our monthly podcast, learn more about our upcoming events and writers’ workshops, and stay in touch with all our other updates.

Happy reading!

Rebecca Starford and Hannah Kent,
Publishing Directors