PIP 2015 – The Shortlist

Varuna is thrilled to announce the shortlist for the Publisher Introduction Program (PIP 2015).

This year we selected thirty-four original new manuscripts written by emerging Australian writers to send to our six publishing partners. From these shortlisted manuscripts we have asked our publishing partners to select up to fourteen manuscripts (two each plus two wild cards) to which we will award the writer a PIP Fellowship.

We thank each of our Publishing partners for taking the time to consider the work of these writers. We also thank Varuna Consultants Helen Barnes-Bulley, Carol Major, Stephen Measday and Deb Westbury who assessed the 220 unpublished manuscripts that writers submitted to Varuna as part of PIP 2015. 

The thirty-four shortlisted manuscripts and the publishers we have sent them to are:


The Dalai Lama is coming to Mittnagoonga (Fiction) by Sally Colin-James

When outback resident Lily Handley, soon fifty, gives birth to a son she must abandon her dreams to travel. As her son’s first birthday draws near enigmatic Buddhist monk Tanzan Gheso arrives with the secret resolve to prove that Lily’s son is the next reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Competition (historical fiction) by Caroline Miley

A historical novel exploring the art and industrial worlds of Georgian England, The Competition is a novel of astounding verisimilitude. Yet Edward Armiger’sstruggles are of our own times too.

Everywhere then Gone (fiction) by Cameron Weston

A disillusioned risk manager suddenly becomes a central figure in the strange lives of strangers.

Mine (fiction) by Susi Fox

When Doctor Sasha Jamieson sees her baby in the nursery for the first time, she is adamant that Toby is not her son and becomes convinced that Jeremy, born on the same day, is hers.

Paper Scissors Rock (fiction) by Susan Shortridge

A young Canadian woman living in rural Australia returns home to confront her past.


The Girl Who Comes Tomorrow (fiction) by Sonia Orchard

A literary fiction set in contemporary Australia about narcissism, motherhood and belonging.

The Air Between Trees (fiction) by Linden Hyatt

Fiction set in Tasmania, Sydney, Poland and New York centred on a homecoming and news from forty years ago

Ground Truth (fiction) by Clint Caward

A group of ex-soldiers battling PTSD will stop at nothing to take part in a revolutionary medical trial that will force them to become criminals.

The Art of Fish (fiction) by Issachar Espineda

A reporter returns home to a small town known for its aquarium, and kidnaps the world's highest priced fish.

License to Harm (fiction) by Mary-Ellen Mullane

License to Harm is a novel about a middle-aged, public servant pushed to the edge. It is about murder, greed, revenge, loyalty, love, loss, suspicion and deceit. But above all, it is about duty.


Stories From Another Place a collection of short stories by Luke Johnson

Stories from an Other Place explores themes of identity, sexuality, masculinity, intertextuality, religion and family within an Australian context

Waterhole (YA Fiction) by Fiona Bell

A young adult novel set in outback Queensland, is about a sixteen year old girl coming to terms with the death of her mother, within the context of the mystery of a missing boy.

Good Lies (Fiction) by Janey Runci

A novel about the way place defines a family's struggle to recover from trauma

Luna Alaska (fiction) by Meera Atkinson

Luna Alaska explores the triangle of trauma between three generations of women, stretching from Sydney, Australia, to the wilderness of Alaska.

Partridge in a Pear Shape (fiction) by Denise Cummins

A novel about coming home, leaving, family, friendship, lovers, secrets, loss, middle age, trifle. Did I mention coming home?

Secrets, Lies and Birdwatching (YA Fiction)by Amelia Hearn

Seventeen-year-old school captain Samantha Shaw was meant to have the perfectsenior year, but when she walks in on her boyfriend kissing a boy, she finds herselfstuck with a cheating ex-boyfriend as her co-captain and a big, life-changing secretthat isn’t hers to tell.


Dummy and Run (fiction) by Glenn Johnson

A contemporary novel about the dark side of football culture in Australia, told through the experiences of the wife of a high-profile footballer.

Repentance Creek (fiction) by Cindy Nancarrow

When two young refugee men move to Repentance Creek the town is divided, the resulting events forcing ugly secrets to surface.

Pomegranate’s Daughter (narrative non-fiction)byAshley Kalagian Blunt

Travelling solo through Armenia, a young woman chases details of her family?s survival from genocide while uncovering breath-taking stories of strength and resilience amidst war and devastation.

The Cat-Lady Murder (narrative non-fiction) by Clare Macken

The true story of the bizarre murder of Brisbane vet, Dr Kathleen Marshall, from the perspectives of the investigating police, Kathleen’s friends – and theconvicted killer.

Hippocratic Oath (narrative non-fiction / short stories) by Barbara Orlowska-Westwood

Two doctors tell the stories of their professional and personal battles during the real events that happened in Poland in WW2 and later under communist rule.

Mother Nation (fiction)by Inku Kang

Mother Nation is about family obligation/disintegration, scandals and jealousy and the lives of the rough-mouthed people of country North Korea who would still sing their love for their Dear Leader even when they are starving to death.


No Man is an Island (narrative non-fiction)by Adele Dumont

A book based on the writer’s experiences at Curtin Detention Centre where she was employed from 2010 to 2012 as an English teacher.

Stone Girl and the Euphoria Addiction (fiction) by Eleni Hale

One thing certain about living in state care is the constant change and that no one is in charge.

Life without Clouds (YA Fiction)by Fiona Stevens

Life Without Clouds is a funny, yet poignant YA novel that tells the story of 18 year old Rose – a cinema-working, retro-loving, boy-fearing, history geek.

Living Voice (YA fiction) by Karen West

Living Voice is a compelling and confronting story about a teenage girl who learns that her mother is in need of a heart.

Freefalling (YA Fiction) by Maura Pierlot

Extreme weight loss, self-loathing and broken friendships thrust a young girl into a battle for survival with her self.

The Caravan (general fiction) by Rose Monday

After Maggie is busted cheating on her boyfriend and moves into a caravan, she finally meets a man she might like enough to endure the boredom of monogamy – if she realises it in time. A story about what happens when a perennially unfaithful middle-class woman finds herself homeless – aview of the mean streets of Melbourne from a ten-foot caravan.

UWA Press

Mercury Afloat (themed short story collection) by Eva Lomski

From the historical to the contemporary; from the real to the surreal and speculative, these are stories that mainly deal with coming of age, at whatever age. They are thoughtful, emotive, sometimes lyrical, and many will make the reader laugh.

Exquisite Corpse (inter-connected short stories) by Sinead Roarty

A collection of inter-connected stories about suicide, social media and the slippery ethics of the modern world

Inside the Ottoman (narrative non-fiction)by Karen Darby

Inside the Ottoman is the story of a life seen through the lens of a personal diary, which tells of the ‘woes and triumphs and joys and complexes’ in the life of a Tasmanian woman who kept a diary 1940 – 1962, between the ages of 14 and 39.

Loving the Lizard (fiction) by Clare Strahan

Romantic comic-tragedy set in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in the late 1980s includes some charming and cheeky illustrations

Cloudless (Verse Novel) by Christine Evans

When a bus hits a young Aboriginal boy one hot Perth summer, the lives of those present are fatally entwined.

Like Gods (fiction) by Katharine Kemp

A general fiction novel about weakness and love in post-apartheid South Africa

Vera Costello