Australian Podcast Awards 2023: Best fiction podcast

As well as captivating audiences with real-life stories and first-hand accounts, podcasts can also deliver gripping narratives of a more artificial nature. An evolution of the audiobook format, fiction podcasts have thrived in recent years, and this category is a celebration of the very best of them, with nuanced performances and fantastic writing.

Winner: The Missed

The Missed is a superbly acted and produced thriller that masterfully presents tensions in an Australian country town from the perspective of a refugee family. Written by the Pakistani-Australian comedian and author Sami Shah, the Audible Originals drama tells its gripping tale with the help of over 30 actors, including Pallavi Sharda in the lead.

The story focuses on a refugee family living in the sleepy town of Nunich. Initially, it feels safe, but when their daughter disappears, that sense of security is shattered as suspicions rise and tensions bubble over. The chaos increases when a second little girl goes missing, and a story about simply catching a predator expands to saving the community’s soul.

The dramatic story is brought to life thanks to superb acting by a diverse cast, using an unusual performance technique. Rather than isolated in vocal booths, actors delivered their lines together on a soundstage to make the conflict feel more real.