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!

9781926428239

Abigail Ulman

Cold Feet and Hot Little Hands: Abigail Ulman on writing – and not writing – her first book

Post-book deal, every time I sat down to try to write something, I felt paralysed by some kind of literary stage fright. I had shown my work to other people before – for writing workshops, and submissions to literary journals and competitions – but I had never before written a story while thinking This story is going to be published in a book. Or, more accurately, This story idea is nowhere near good enough to be published in a book. Read more »

9781926428239

Sian Campbell

Girlhood and The Woman-Child in Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands

Each of the stories in Hot Little Hands navigates girlhood in some way, from the lives of high school-age teenagers to those of young twentysomething women. ‘Girl things’ such as horse camp, gymnastics, feminised bodies, clothing, periods, crushes, yoga and gossip weave through the fabric of the text. Though the subject matter is often adult – the girls of Hot Little Hands navigate abortion, sex trafficking, young motherhood, drugs, and deportation – the girls themselves are not… even when they technically are. Read more »

Dont-Try-This-at-Home-_-cover_-FINAL1-300x460

James Tierney

Subscriber Stories: Angela Readman’s Don’t Try This At Home

As a subscriber to publisher And Other Stories’ distribution model, I am in the unusual position of reviewing a book – Angela Readman’s short story collection Don’t Try This At Home – that thanks me by name for making its existence possible. Read more »

amy-schumer

Rebecca Shaw

Amy Schumer and the equal right to be funny

I don’t think men should be banned from making jokes about contentious subjects. I am of the belief that anything can and should be laughed about, and if done right, it can be beneficial. But more often, women are doing it right, and women are doing it better. Read more »

womens-home-companion

Kate Iselin

Trivial Pursuits: The media and ‘women’s interests’

Women, especially in public life, exist as a part of men’s worlds – a big part, sure – but still a part. Even as women become more vocal in demanding accurate and respectful representation, we are kept at arms length by a mainstream media which struggles to catch up. Read more »

SGbTsPQ

Rebecca Shaw

Command and Control: Trophy daughters and overprotective dads

There is no doubt that an overprotective parent is better than a parent who couldn’t care less what their child gets up to. And there is no doubt that most overprotective mums and dads are well-meaning. But paternal ‘protectiveness’ shticks often boil down to fathers not wanting their daughters to have sex, and by extension, get pregnant. 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 »

kstew

Joanna di Mattia

Kristen Stewart Through the Looking-Glass

Kristen Stewart is an actress who has been criticised, maligned even, for an acting style that transmits from set to screen as sullen, adolescent, wooden, blank, fidgety and inelegant. But perhaps she’s an actress concerned with authenticity, and the defining feature of her style is to show us herself by appearing like she’s not acting at all. Read more »

it-follows-4

Anwen Crawford

Behind You: The subtler horror of It Follows

I don’t watch many horror films. Lifelong victim of an overactive and slightly morbid imagination, I regularly envisage disasters, natural or otherwise, that might befall me, without requiring the added stimulus of cinema. Read more »

Struggle+Street+KEY+IMAGE

Anwen Crawford

Shame and Stigma on Struggle Street

Struggle Street framed poverty as a combination of genetic inheritance and natural disaster – a barrier to be overcome only through ceaseless positive effort. Those who sabotage themselves through bad choices are therefore fair targets for our scorn, while those who gain employment or remain sober deserve praise for overcoming the odds. The deserving and undeserving poor, in other words. What an old story. Read more »

TheSlap_Show

Genevieve Wood

The Slap: What’s lost when a cricket bat becomes a baseball bat?

‘A cricket bat wouldn’t make sense in an American context’, says Tony Ayres, executive producer of the US adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. He’s right, of course – it wouldn’t. But when, in US playwright Jon Robin Baitz’s version, the eponymous slap occurs as the result of a swinging baseball bat, something’s not quite right. Read more »

empire-tv-review-fox

Anwen Crawford

Rise of an Empire

Watching Empire, I wondered why there haven’t been more television shows about record labels, the music industry being the cesspit of venality that it is. Forget TV dramas about police departments and hospital wards – a show about a record label comes with all that conflict, plus outfits, plus songs. 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 »

DUKMRUTRHLU31425064919799

Katie Williams

The Currency of Games: The real world cost of in-game purchases

A new item introduced in World of Warcraft lets players purchase a month of playing time for the real-life price of $20, which they can then sell to other players in-game in exchange for virtual currency. It’s an exchange of real money for a virtual currency that has in-game value but none in the physical, ‘real’ world – and it makes me incredibly uneasy. Read more »

16741557134_5206bec0cd_k

Jane Howard

Dark Side of the Rainbow: Belvoir St Theatre’s The Wizard of Oz

This production of The Wizard of Oz is ‘after L Frank Baum’: after his book, after the 1939 film, and after our collective memories of both. Fragmented, non-narrative, and largely wordless, it relies on our existing knowledge of the text to build a work of images and emotion, and in doing so demands an extreme generosity from the audience. Read more »

Arts House_Image_10c_Oedipus Schmoedipus (post)_Credit – Ellis Parrinder copy

Jane Howard

A Case for Diversity in Theatre

Attracting different audiences to the theatre is about many things. It’s about accessibility for people without high disposable incomes, but it’s also about marketing and publicity; about creating venues which are physically accessible for people with disabilities; and about ensuring the performers on stage are as diverse as we want their audiences to be. Read more »

2909252617_1f456d0c81_b

Jane Howard

A Working-Class Mythology: Ironing boards at the theatre

In theatre, there is perhaps no prop piece more mythologised than the ironing board, which came to signify the birth of contemporary British theatre. Read more »