KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

KYDYAC

KYD YA Championship People’s Choice

by Kill Your Darlings , August 10, 20125 Comments


As the penultimate week of the KYD YA Championship draws to a close, the team here at Kill Your Darlings thought we’d encourage you to nominate your favourite non KYDYAC-shortlisted book for the KYD YA People’s Choice category, by sharing our picks from the last 30 years.

Bec Starford – Editor
I’d nominate the underrated Victor Kelleher and his disturbing psychological thriller, Del-Del, which terrified me as a teenager. His Parkland trilogy was also a favourite.

Hannah Kent Deputy Editor
I was a big fan of Gillian Rubinstein’s Galax-Arena, which led me to create my own language (I still have the notebooks to prove it).

Estelle Tang – Online Editor
I am a staunch supporter of about 75% of the books listed here (the others simply because I haven’t read them), but there is one notable book missing from the list, in my opinion: Maureen McCarthy’s Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life. You want coming of age? You got it. The book follows three country girls as they enter their university years and the big smoke – Carmel is an incredibly shy girl who doesn’t know where she fits in, Jude is struggling with the legacy of her father’s death in South America, and Kat … well, she’s used to getting her own way. This book held my hand gently and firmly into adulthood. I read it again and again for its strongly Melbourne-based transitional tale (what up Canning St, Carlton!). This is a book that tells you: Follow your dreams! Become who you are! Love your friends! – but doesn’t say that it’s easy.

Stephanie Van Schilt – Online Intern

I’m going to admit it: I definitely have some kind of ‘high school hangover’. I think most people do. When a twitter of teenagers board my tram in a morning, I instantly feel self-conscious and nervous – the school anxiety that plagued me during those frightful years has not yet been overthrown by my adult sensibilities (rather, perhaps exacerbated by my maturing misanthropy). For this reason, among many others, I fell for Helen Barnes’ Killing Aurora while studying YA lit at uni. Reading this book as a 19-year-old did nothing to detract from its power to encapsulate that confusing, dramatic and occasionally traumatic time in a young girl’s life. The story follows two teen girls, Aurora and Web, and their battles with life, school and self. Barnes deftly tackles major themes like body image, female identity and middle-class Australian life, all the while writing with heart, humility and a brilliantly dark sense of humour. It is definitely my personal choice.

Emily Laidlaw – Online Marketing Intern
I read a lot of Margaret Clark in the years overlapping primary school and high school, and I can now see why. Upon rereading the first few pages of Fat Chance, one of her most popular series and my personal favourite, my cheeks burned at the sheer melodrama of it all: it was basically an uncomfortable reminder of teenage-me. Fat Chance is narrated by fourteen-year-old Lisa, an overweight and painfully shy schoolgirl, who’s convinced happiness and the boy of her dreams will come, if only she could shed a few kilos and look like the cover girls in Molly magazine. This speedy plot synopsis might suggest a superficiality in the novel’s tone and theme, though Clark’s writing is anything but. Rather, this book tackles heavy issues such as body image and self-esteem in a funny and, thankfully, non-cheesy way. Fat Chance reminds readers that humour is the best defence against the crippling self-doubt of early adolescence – a message which, in today’s increasingly image-focused society, is especially important.

***

People, it’s time to choose! We know there are endless Australian YA classics beyond our nominated shortlist, so if your favourite was left on the shelf, vote for it to be the KYD YA Championship People’s Choice by clicking this link and following the prompts.

You still have one more week to vote for the KYDYAC title you think should win the KYD YA Championship crown. Click here to make your vote count.

Heading into our final week, the polls will close at 5pm next Friday, 17 August. Cue the fanfare, as we’ll be announcing our winners on Tuesday 21 August, so be sure to champion your favourite and go into the draw to win some amazing prizes!




  • Agnes Nieuwenhuizen

    Excellent to see Maureen McCarthy’s QUEEN KAT, CARMEL & ST JUDE GET A LIFE in the mix. It was on my shortlist.Also loved CROSS MY HEART and looking forward to her forthcoming blockbuster, THE CONVENT.

  • http://misrule.com.au/wordpress Judith Ridge

    Is Victor Kelleher really under-rated? He won many awards and shortlisting in the 80s and 90s, and his books are frequently taught in schools. He’s perhaps not so well read these days, as he’s not publishing much, but he certainly was one of the most acclaimed writers of the 90s.

    Stephanie, I’m with you on Killing Aurora. It’s another horribly forgotten book (Like Loving Athena, my contribution to the Debate). And let’s not forget Anna Fienberg’s ground-breaking Borrowed Light, or Margo Lanagan’s powerful and troubling Touching Earth Lightly. (Long before she turned to spec fiction, Margo was getting under our skins with her unflinching novels about teen sexuality.)

  • http://www.beantherereadthat.com Kate O’D

    Yes! Queen Kat is such a favourite of mine, has a special place in my bookshelf, and heart.

    Killing Aurora was another one I was trying to remember when thinking about Dark Books – over on the Sonya Hartnett KYDYAC post. Is SPECTACULAR.

  • caroline

    like you Stephanie, Killing Aurora really spoke to me, which suprised me as i read it as an adult, too. i wish i had it to guide me through those teenage years. instead it gave an insight of a city school life and made me glad i never experienced the public transport nightmare that i now witness every weekday morning. as an actual teenager Queen Kat…, Looking for Alibrandi & The Tomorrow series were big hitters along with The Juniper Game by New Zealander Sherryl Jordan. loving this championship. thanks for bringing YA memories to the surface.

  • Fee Hulton

    Maybe it’s a bit young for the young adults tag, but I remember really loving Playing Beatie Bow. It stuck with me for so long that in my later years of high school when I visited Sydney for the first time, I ran around the Rocks trying to relive some of my favourite scenes… Other books that left a huge mark on me as a young adult (although I struggle to know if they fit in the category properly) are My Place by Sally Morgan – completely changed my life at 14. And finally – my mum’s an English teacher and she forced me to read Midnite when I was about 12. I really resented her at the time, but that book has stayed so vividly in my memory all these years that I’m quite fond of it in retrospect!

lead_960

James Tierney

I Call The Shots: The provocation of violent women

In a Western culture increasingly stripped of its old taboos, violent acts by women – real and imagined – still possess the genuine power to shock. Cultural representations of violent women can both affirm and react against the kind of pernicious questioning that posits women as fundamentally, and fatally, reactive. Read more »

9781925106510

Oliver Mol

July First Book Club: Read an excerpt from Oliver Mol’s Lion Attack!

At the Kill Your Darlings First Book Club event in July, Oliver Mol will discuss his debut memoir, Lion Attack!. Read an extract from this funny, energetic and original coming-of-age story, which interweaves stories from Oliver’s childhood in Texas and his young adulthood in Melbourne in a narrative that is part romance, part … Read more »

9781743318539

Danielle Binks

#LoveOzYA

Lest we forget that before John Green, Australia had John Marsden, prior to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter we had Isobelle Carmody’s Elspeth Gordie, and we embraced Melina Marchetta as the voice of a generation long before Sarah Dessen. Read more »

17177200132_2383e88c36_k

Rebecca Shaw

Rage Against the Marriage: The inanity of same sex marriage debate in Australia

I am someone who is completely comfortable in my sexuality, and who classifies myself as the genus Lesbionisos. I am 100% certain that I am not abnormal, an abomination, or in any way inferior to heterosexual people. Sometimes I even secretly think non-heterosexuals might be superior. But I haven’t always been this assured. Read more »

clouds-of-sila-maria-1

Rebecca Shaw

The curse of the ‘gal pals’

As a well-known humourless, angry, hairy arm-pitted, feminist lesbian, I encounter daily issues that I can place on a scale from things that mildly irritate me all the way to things that completely offend me. Read more »

2691149967_01b38304f3_b

Rebecca Shaw

Fuck Yeah: Swearing like a lady

I had been trying to pinpoint exactly why the HBO television show Veep brings me such joy. Yes, it is a very funny, very well-written show with a great cast, but that didn’t quite go far enough in explaining the immense enjoyment it gives me. The eureuka moment finally struck when I stumbled over a compilation video of the best insults from the show. Read more »

Zombies

Michelle Roger

It’s All Just Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

‘She’s just another Walking Dead hanger-on,’ I hear you say. Well, yes, I am partial to a bit of walker action. And yes, I may have entertained the odd erotic daydream about a crossbow carrying, scraggy-bearded redneck – but this is not where my zombie obsession began. Come gather around people. Hear my obsessive zombie-loving origin story. Read more »

tom-cruise-jack-reacher-premiere-postponed

Chris Somerville

A lit match in a box of wet dynamite: Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher

I first watched Jack Reacher a few years ago, in a spate of insomnia. The plot is a confused mess, both needlessly intricate and incredibly simple. I’m not going to go into it, mainly because I don’t actually know why the people in this movie do anything. Read more »

Partisan

Joanna Di Mattia

To experience the world with blinkers on: Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan

Partisan beautifully evokes that complex space between childhood and adulthood, when we start to question the worldview we have inherited – when we begin to see the world through our own eyes. It is both a coming-of-age story, and an innocence-coming-undone story. Read more »

3ab01d05-2590-4aa4-80f4-45fab0eccec4-2060x1236

Anwen Crawford

Heart of Darkness: UnREAL‘s ruthless reality

Everlasting, the show-within-a-show at the dark centre of new American television series UnREAL, is a fantasy blend of champagne cocktails, pool parties and true love. Everlasting is a Bachelor-style game show in which a dozen immaculately groomed women compete for a handsome millionaire husband, and its relationship to real life is, like any ‘reality’ show, non-existent. Nothing goes to air on Everlasting that has not been scripted, staged, and edited for maximum controversy. Read more »

Zombies

Michelle Roger

It’s All Just Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

‘She’s just another Walking Dead hanger-on,’ I hear you say. Well, yes, I am partial to a bit of walker action. And yes, I may have entertained the odd erotic daydream about a crossbow carrying, scraggy-bearded redneck – but this is not where my zombie obsession began. Come gather around people. Hear my obsessive zombie-loving origin story. Read more »

OITNB2

Anwen Crawford

Still in Prison: The limitations of Orange is the New Black

No, I haven’t binge-watched the entire new season of Orange Is The New Black in one sleepless, bleary-eyed frenzy. This season, the show’s third, doesn’t lend itself to that kind of viewing. The pace is slower, the cliff-hangers missing. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

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 »

2015GISELLE_Artists of The Australian Ballet. PhotoJeffBusby

Jane Howard

The Beautiful and the Dated: Australian Ballet’s Giselle

The weight of history sits heavily on the Australian Ballet’s Giselle. One of the most enduringly popular ballets from the romantic period, there is much to delight in its presence on stage and its lasting lineage. But 175 years after its debut, in a production that premiered 30 years ago, the sheen of Giselle has been dulled. Read more »

CrawlMeBlood_20150607_261_LoRes copy

Jane Howard

Adhocracy: Lifting the curtain on the creative process

Every June long weekend I wrap myself up in several extra layers and make my way to the Waterside Worker’s Hall in Port Adelaide for Adhocracy, Vitalstatistix’s annual hothouse that brings together artists from around the country for a weekend of creative development. Read more »

Orlando #2 - THE RABBLE

Jane Howard

This Is a Story of Artistic Excellence

This is a story of the first four plays I saw at Malthouse Theatre. It’s a story that can only continue as long as support for independent artists continues; it’s a story that can only keep growing as long as support for independent artists grows. It’s a story of where artistic excellence comes from, and how we get to see it on our main stages. Read more »