Writing NSW Varuna Fellowships

The Writing NSW Varuna Fellowships are awarded annually to writers who have a work of fiction, creative non-fiction, a play, or a suite of poems that is ready for the next stage of development.

In 2021, two fellowships are available, with one place reserved for a writer under the age of 30. Applicants must be Writing NSW members and be willing to commit to developing their work.

Judges of the 2021 fellowships are Nick Tapper, Commissioning Editor at Giramondo, Yuwaalaraay author Nardi Simpson, and Writing NSW Communications and Project Officer Martyn Reyes.

Image credit: Adele Dumont

Through this initiative, the winners will receive a week-long residency at Varuna, the National Writers’ House, and a manuscript assessment from Giramondo.

Previous recipients include 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.

Entries for the fellowship open Monday 30 August and close Sunday 19 September 2021.

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.


Before filling out the application form, you must pay the submission fee and be an active member of Writing NSW.

Terms and Conditions

Please read the terms and conditions before entering submitting your entry:

  • Applicants must be current members of Writing NSW.
  • You may only submit one application. The application fee for entry is $20 to cover administration and reading costs. Pay your fee here.
  • Submitted material must be your own original work.
  • Fiction of all genres, narrative non-fiction, poetry and plays are eligible for submission. Instructional books, translations, picture books, film and television scripts are not eligible.
  • Your name must not appear on your manuscript, synopsis or statement.
  • Submitted work must be in English, typed using 1.5 spacing with generous margins. For poems, use single spacing, with double spacing between stanzas.
  • Each page must include a page number and title or descriptor.
  • Applications must be submitted no later than midnight Sunday 19 September 2021. Late applications will not be considered.
  • Application materials will not be returned under any circumstances.
  • The residency is to be negotiated directly with Varuna, the Writers’ House, and availability is dependent on their schedule.
  • Copyright remains the property of the author but Writing NSW reserves the right to use chosen entries to promote the fellowship.
  • Successful applicants will be notified directly. The names of the successful applicants will be posted on the Writing NSW website in November.
  • The winners agree to write a report of their residency experience to be used by Writing NSW to promote the fellowship.
  • The judges’ decision is final and it is not possible to provide feedback on individual entries.
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