Before going on holidays recently, my manuscript Little did I know was shortlisted for the 2018 Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award. I was elated and completely stunned. To make the top five out of 166 entries was incredible and the biggest achievement of my writing career.
School term finished and we set off to beautiful northern Queensland. It was our first big trip away in four years so anticipation was high. I packed my bathers, sunscreen, hat, a book or two, camera and laptop. I actually imagined setting up my laptop, somewhere quiet and eking out a few hours of writing time.
It might have been that we were too busy, or that the small kitchen table in our rented holiday apartment was much too high for my short stature or perhaps I was distracted by the looming announcement of the winner, but I couldn’t write. The most I managed were a few lines in honour of the reef, but otherwise, my new work in progress remained untouched.
And then at the end of a long day of driving, in the middle of a busy supermarket, I received the news. I won! I actually won. Little did I know was selected as the winner of the Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award.
I could barely speak. I couldn’t see through the tears and my kids didn’t know whether to hug me or laugh. The news was a huge shock. I’ve been working on this manuscript for a few years but had spent the majority of the past 12 months writing a new, unrelated manuscript. I had pushed Little did I know to the back of my mind and had moved on to a new project.
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl wrote about the need to have hope and to have a goal for the future. For me, my biggest goal is to one day share my stories with readers. So despite the rejections, I kept pushing on.
The award prize includes a mentorship with Hannah Kent, author of the international best selling and multiple award winning novel Burial Rites, which is soon to be a major film production, starring Jennifer Lawrence. Even as I type this, I can’t believe it.
This award validates the countless hours I spend at the desk and affirms that my story about a zero tolerance regime and the control of women’s bodies, is relevant. But this award is not the end. It is another beginning, for I will now rework my manuscript with Hannah’s guidance and hopefully, through this process, I will reach my goal.
My family holiday is over now, I’m back at my comfortable writing desk and I’m ready and excited to start the next phase. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
To read more about the Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award, visit the KYD website here: