Banjawarn wins 2022 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction

Australian Crime Writers Association Banjawarn Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript Josh kemp Ned Kelly Awards

Banjawarn by Josh Kemp wins the 2022 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction!

Congratulations to Josh Kemp on winning the 2022 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction novel! Banjawarn was also the winner of the 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.
From the judges of the Ned Kelly Award:
“Banjawarn operates across two genres, gothic and crime, while remaining fiercely Australian. Its engrossing and highly controlled narrative has a strong sense of place and Indigenous sovereignty.”
Garreth Hoyle is a true crime writer whose destructive love affair with hallucinogenic drugs has sent him searching for ghosts in the unforgiving mallee desert of Western Australia. Heading north through Kalgoorlie, he attempts to score off old friends from his shearing days on Banjawarn Station. His journey takes an unexpected detour when he discovers an abandoned ten-year-old girl and decides to return her to her estranged father in Leonora, instead of alerting authorities. Together they begin the road trip from hell through the scorched heart of the state’s northern goldfields.



Love, friendship and hope are often found in the strangest places, but forgiveness is never simple, and the past lies buried just beneath the blood red topsoil. The only question is whether Hoyle should uncover it, or run as fast as his legs can take him.

Banjawarn is an unsettling debut from Josh Kemp. Echoing Cormac McCarthy’s haunting border trilogy and narrative vernacular that recalls the sparse lyricism of Randolph Stow and Tim Winton, this is a darkly funny novel that earns its place amongst the stable of Australian gothic literature.

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