The Writing NSW Varuna Fellowship is an annual prize for a writer who has a manuscript, play or suite of poems that is ready for the next stage of development.
In 2017 two fellowships were available, with one place reserved for a writer under the age of 30. Adele Dumont was awarded the general fellowship for her beautifully written untitled memoir. The fellowship for a writer under 30 was awarded to Christopher McDonald for his speculative fiction novel, The Lightreaders. Runners-up were Vanessa Kirkpatrick for her moving collection of poetry, The Next Room, and Betty O’Neill for her gripping memoir, Finding my Absent Father.
Judges of the 2017 fellowship were Hachette publisher Vanessa Radnidge, author Julie Koh and Writing NSW CEO Jane McCredie. They were impressed by the quality and stylistic diversity of entries across genres, noting a particular strong contingent of entries in the memoir and narrative non-fiction categories.
Previous recipients include Irma Gold, Alex Chalwell, Mark Brandi, Jacqui Dent, Helen Thurloe, Lucie Stevens, Alison Thompson and Greg Woodland.
Entries for the prize open annually. Applicants must be Writing NSW members and be willing to commit to developing their work.