KYD YA Championship – contributors, titles and how to win

by Stephanie Van Schilt , July 27, 201216 Comments
Image credit: Wonderlane

Happy almost weekend everyone! Our usual Friday Amusement and distractions posts are on hiatus for the next few weeks because something special is going on here at Killings

Are you getting ready? Are you getting excited? Get your books out and your voting caps on because the KYD YA Championship starts next week!

From Monday 30 July until 17 August, contributors will be championing their favourite Australian YA classic from the last 30 years. At the end of each post, you will have the chance to vote to determine the winner – just follow the links.

And don’t forget that when you vote, you go into the draw to be a winner yourself – we have three amazing YA prize packs from our friends at Allen & Unwin, Penguin and Hardie Grant Egmont to give away.

Can’t wait until Monday to find out who is involved and what books will be discussed? Good, because the wait is over! Our eleven contributors and contenders for the KYDYAC crown are *drum roll* …

  • Kate O’Donnell on Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden (1993)
  • Andrew McDonald on Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein (1985)
  • Agnes Nieuwenhuizen on Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta (1992)
  • Judith Ridge on Loving Athena by Joanne Horniman (1997)
  • Lili Wilkinson on Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (1987)
  • Holly Harper on Sabriel by Garth Nix (1995)
  • Ruth Starke on Deadly, Unna? By Phillip Gwynne (1999)
  • Alyssa Brugman on Fortress by Gabrielle Lord (1980)
  • Adele Walsh on Mandragora by David McRobbie (1994)
  • Bec Kavanagh on Came Back to Show You I Could Fly by Robin Klein (1991)
  • Jordi Kerr on The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett (2007)

If your favourite Australian YA book from the last thirty years isn’t featured in our shortlist, never fear – from Monday you can vote for it to be the KYDYAC People’s Choice winner.

We’d also love to hear from you about KYDYAC or YA in general, so jump in on the comments, follow us on Twitter (@kyd_journal, #KYDYAC) and Facebook. Also, for all updates, sign up to our e-News or subscribe to the Killings RSS feed.

  • Liza

    When you see it laid out like this, you can see what a golden age the 80s and 90s were for Oz YA – it’s a fabulous list.

  • kate o’d

    Hoo boy, get ready. This is exciting. What a brilliant list. Though, I shall not be distracted from my book, not my my champion book, oh my sure winner…ooh, Jo Horniman, Sonya Hartnett,SPACE DEMONS!…no no. Keep on track, Kate…

  • Jordi

    Am I the youngest contributor?? Representing the ’00s!

  • Judith

    Is it any coincidence that the KYDYAC is running at the same time at that other minor competition… the Olympics? I think not. Let the Games Begin! (And you all have to vote for Loving Athena because it is one of THE great under-recognised Australian YA books of all time.) (Plus I will send you dark chocolate licorice bullets if you do.)

  • Judith

    Also, small technical correction: There is no “I” at the beginning of Came Back to Show you I Could Fly. Bonus points (and dark chocolate licorice bullets) to those of us old enough to remember the song (and singer) it is a quote from.

    • Stephanie Van Schilt

      Hi Judith! Thanks ever so much for picking that up – all fixed now. The KYD team are so excited!! Let the championship begin!
      Jordi – Your book IS the youngest…but perhaps one of the many amazing titles released in the ’00s will take out the KYDYAC People’s Choice?

  • JessB

    Oh no, I love most of those books! How will I ever vote for just one?!

    Can’t wait to read the posts, I came here from Bec’s Facebook page, and I’m so excited to have discovered your site!

  • Julia T

    Hehe I remember listening to the Came back To Show You I Could Fly song, when I studied the novel in Year 9 English! Can’t remember the artist or name of the track, but now I have the words stuck in my head…and I want to go home and read the book!

    • Judith Ridge

      No dark chocolate bullets for you, Julia!

      • Jon

        Marcia Hines, ‘From the Inside’, 1974.

  • Bec

    Ooh, such a great list! Space Demons is definitely up there for me (although coming a close second of course to ‘Came Back To Show You I Could Fly). I feel like rushing down to the library and revisiting my whole YA reading list right now!

  • lisa dempster

    Haha – literary Olympics. Classic. I am pained about what to vote for in the gold category though!


Kill Your Darlings

What We’re Reading: Readings staff share their September picks

Looking for a book recommendation? Staff from Readings bookshop share what they’ve been reading this month. Read more »


Chris Somerville

The Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown: Chris Somerville defends Heat and Light

At our recent Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown event, six writers gave a speech in defence of the book they believe most deserves to win the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Author Chris Somerville spoke in praise of Ellen van Neerven’s debut work of fiction, Heat and Light. Read more »


Elizabeth Flux

The Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown: Elizabeth Flux defends In the Quiet

At our recent Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown event, six writers gave a speech in defence of the book they believe most deserves to win the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Writer and Voiceworks editor Elizabeth Flux spoke in praise of Eliza Henry-Jones’ debut novel, In the Quiet. Read more »


Rebecca Shaw

Girl Gang: The value of female friendship

For two years I was the only girl in my class, along with four boys. Perhaps this would have been some kind of fantastic Lynx-filled utopia for a boy-crazy pre-teen girl, but for someone who was just beginning to figure out that she didn’t like boys in the same way other girls seemed to, it wasn’t what you could call ideal. Read more »


Rebecca Shaw

Written On the Body: Fat women and public shaming

The policing and subsequent shaming of women’s bodies is not unique to famous women. It happens to all women. Feeling entitled to denigrate fat bodies, and fat women’s bodies in particular, is one of the last bastions of socially acceptable discrimination. Read more »


Rebecca Shaw

Right Direction: The value of fandom

I have a pop-culture confession to make to you, Internet. It isn’t something I’ve been trying to keep hidden for fear of seeming uncool, because that ship sailed long ago. But it is something I haven’t opened up about until this point. I, Rebecca Shaw, have become a One Direction fan. Read more »


Anwen Crawford

Throne Of Blood: Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth

For more than four centuries, we have found versions of ourselves in Shakespeare’s plays precisely because his characters are so human in their flaws and follies. At the same time, the arc of these characters’ stories unfolds somewhere above and beyond us, in the realm of grand tragedy or grand comedy, or both. Read more »


Anwen Crawford

Memorable Chills: Edgerton’s Gift

The Gift is Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut — he also wrote, produced, and stars in it — and it bodes well for Edgerton’s directing career. A psychological thriller, The Gift is efficiently and quite memorably chilling, at least for the first half. Read more »


Joanna Di Mattia

Escaping The Wolfpack: Inside and outside the screen

The Wolfpack introduces us to the six Angulo brothers, who were kept virtual prisoners for 14 years in their Lower East Side apartment. More than a captivity narrative, this is a film about the influence of cameras and screens, and the transfixing, liberating power of cinema. Read more »


Alexis Drevikovsky

Have You Ever Felt Like This: Going Round the Twist again

Working from home one day, I took my lunchbreak away from my laptop and flicked idly through the TV channels, hoping for a midday movie with Reese Witherspoon or, even better, an old episode of Cheers. What I found was beyond my wildest dreams. I excitedly texted my mate Alison: Round the Twist is on ABC3! Read more »


Jane Hone

How the Golden Age of Television Brought Us Back Together

I recently heard someone say that it used to be that at 6pm, everyone would sit down to watch The Cosby Show. It seemed at once a quaint and almost sci-fi notion ­– millions of people watching the same show at the same time. How things have changed. Read more »

glitch abc tv

Stephanie Van Schilt

A Glitch in the System: The ABC’s undead gamble

In one gasping breath, Glitch shows that the ABC is stumbling towards something beloved by TV audiences the world over, but that regularly eludes the Australian and film and TV industry: genre. And not just any genre, but the ‘return-from-the-dead’ zombie-style genre. Read more »


Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Straight White Men - Public Theatre - Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Jane Howard

Unbearable Whiteness: Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men

Though I am delighted to see Young Jean Lee gain traction in Australia, a work by playwright who is a woman of colour should not be such a rare occurrence; nor should this only come in the form of a play that blends effortlessly into the fabric of the work that is programmed around it. Read more »


Jane Howard

Putting Words In People’s Mouths: Performing the unseen, speaking the unknown

‘Do you ever get the feeling someone is putting words in your mouth?’ A performer asks an audience member in the front row. ‘Say yes.’
‘Yes,’ comes the reply.
This theme ran through multiple shows at Edinburgh Fringe this year, where occasionally audience members, but more often performers, were asked to perform scripts sight unseen. Read more »


Jane Howard

The Impenetrable City: Getting lost at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

I just saw a one-on-one performance piece that ended in my bursting into tears and the artist sitting with me and holding my hands in hers for maybe ten, maybe fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. We had a shared piece of history, and her work was delicate and took me by surprise, and I have a cold, and I am homesick, and I don’t know why I’m in Edinburgh, and I’ve cried a lot, and now I’m in a gallery because I couldn’t face another show. Read more »