Writing NSW Varuna Fellowship 2023

The Writing NSW Varuna Fellowship is awarded annually to a writer with a work of fiction, creative non-fiction, a play, or a suite of poems that is ready for the next stage of development. Applicants must be Writing NSW members and be willing to commit to developing their work.

The fellowship includes a week’s residency at Varuna, the National Writers’ House in Katoomba, with full board and accommodation including a prepared evening meal, uninterrupted time to write in your own private studio, and the companionship of your fellow writers. 

Writing NSW is delighted to announce the 2023 Varuna Fellowship has been awarded to Alison MartinView the full announcement here.

Please note the 2023 Varuna Fellowship has now closed.

2023 Varuna Fellowship Judges 

Anna Valdinger started her publishing career as editor for a literary agency in London. As Fiction Publisher for HarperCollins and Voyager she looks after a wide list of Australian authors including Dervla McTiernan, Dinuka McKenzie, Belinda Alexandra, Kylie Chan, Daniel O’Malley and more.


Sara M Saleh is a human rights lawyer, community organiser, writer, and the daughter of migrants from Palestine, Egypt, and Lebanon, living on Gadigal land. Her poems and short stories have been published in English and Arabic in various national and international outlets and anthologies including Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin, Overland Journal, and Rabbit Poetry. She is co-editor of the groundbreaking 2019 anthology Arab, Australian, Other: Stories on Race and Identity. Sara is the first poet to win both the Australian Book Review’s 2021 Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize 2020. Coming out soon is her debut novel, Songs for the Dead and the Living (Affirm Press 2023) and a full-length poetry collection, The Flirtation of Girls (UQP 2023).

Rowena Tuziak is a writer and the incoming Program Manager at Writing NSW.





Previous recipients include Lucy Nelson, Hajer Al-awsi, Cleo Mees, Jordan Shea, Kylie Boltin, Eleanor Kirk, Kaya Wilson, Winnie Dunn, Tanya Vavilova, Karina Young, Adele Dumont, Christopher McDonald, Irma Gold, Alex Chalwell, Mark Brandi, Jacqui Dent, Helen Thurloe, Lucie Stevens, Alison Thompson and Greg Woodland.

‘This fellowship — and the uninterrupted writing time it afforded — was the difference between a piecemeal draft and a complete manuscript. Varuna is even more magical than everyone says it is.’ —2022 Fellow Lucy Nelson

‘Thank you to Writing NSW and Varuna Writers’ House for giving me the opportunity to write for a week in this beautiful house. I was so lucky, it left me feeling rejuvenated and like a real writer.’ —2022 Fellow Hajer Al-awsi

View the winners of the 2022 Varuna Fellowships here.

Want to learn more about the fellowship? Read Mark Brandi‘s five favourite things about his time at Varuna here. Adele Dumont gives us a sneak-peek at her journal entries during her residency here, and Kaya Wilson walks us through his residency week here.

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