Di Jenkins

Varuna Alumni Monthly Features 2018

Varuna Alumni Association: the craft, the writing life


The Varuna Alumni Monthly Feature is prepared each month by Varuna's Alumni News Editor Diana Jenkins.

There are interviews and articles and we encourage you to express your views using the Comments form at the end of each Feature.
Please drop the News Desk a line if you’re so inclined – your feedback is ALWAYS welcome and very much appreciated.

An Invitation to Alumni: Contribute to the Alumni News & Monthly Features

If you have some news you wish to share with other alumni, or if you have a hankering to interview other writers, or have a great feature bubbling away in the back of your mind, the Varuna Alumni News welcomes member contributions. Please send no more than 1,000 words to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for consideration. Contributions should be attached as a Word document, and include any JPG images relevant to the piece.

Update your Alumni Profile

If you’d like to update your profile in the Varuna Alumni Directory, please email 100 words or less, plus a JPG (150px wide) photo of yourself, to Vera at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

View Alumni Features from:    2018    2017    2016    2015    2014    2013    2012    2011    2010    INDEX

Alumni Feature June 2018


The Long Goodbye

By Features Editor Diana Jenkins

Di Jenkins I can’t remember the last time I did a first-person Monthly Feature like this – one of my ‘true confessions’ – but it was a while ago. (Okay, it was February – I checked – and before that, November 2017). And boy, I’d really have to go back through the archives to recall anything about the very first one I wrote, but I can tell you this is the last for a while. I’m going on sabbatical. I have to, which means there’s a wonderful, real and present opportunity for all of you while I’m gone.

Alumni Feature May 2018


Insights into the barriers and opportunities for Australian writers

by Executive Director Veechi Stuart

Veechi Stuart Amy and I spent a fascinating morning recently at an industry forum as part of the Australia Council Visiting International Publishers program. Publishers, literary scouts and agents from around the world shared their thoughts about the barriers and opportunities for Australian writers, the future of alternative formats such as audiobooks, the rise of crime writing as a genre and the future of literary fiction.

The US editors and agents talked about current trends in US fiction. Psychological suspense continues to be very popular, with legal thrillers, mysteries and missing girls, missing children, missing women . . . A sense in the room, met with the laughter of recognition, that missing people and psychological suspense on public transport may finally have reached saturation point.

Alumni Feature April 2018


Kim Scott, 2018 Guest Author at the Varuna Sydney Writers' Festival

Introduction and interview by Features Editor Diana Jenkins

Kim Scott As job perks go, some people love nothing more than a free lunch, tickets to see a boy band, or a boxful of Botox, but for this little duck, being asked to interview two-time (and counting…) Miles Franklin winner Kim Scott is right up there. Top of the heap, no question.

A guest of the 2018 Varuna Sydney Writers’ Festival, Scott will be interviewed by poet Caitlin Maling, on Monday 30 April. As most of you will already know, Scott hails from the South Coast of Western Australia. A proud descendent and member of the Noongar, he is at once storyteller and -keeper, academic and author, cultural excavator and activist.

Alumni Feature March 2018


Eddie Ayres, 2018 Guest Author at the Varuna Sydney Writers' Festival

Introduction and interview by Features Editor Diana Jenkins

Eddie Ayres credit Russell Shakespeare







Eddie Ayres          credit Russell Shakespeare

Alumni Feature February 2018


Poor Old Michael Finnegan Begin Again

By Features Editor Diana Jenkins

I don't usually go in for making New Year's resolutions. I don't like setting myself up for failure, especially since it's already such a central feature of my vocation. I really feel like I've got failure covered. We're good. But perhaps a list of resolutions will be a revealing exercise, so what the hell: let's give it a burl.

Alumni Feature January 2018


Alumni Interview with Taryn Bashford

Introduction and interview by Features Editor Diana Jenkins

Taryn Bashford Welcome to the first Varuna Feature for 2018. It’s great to be back, and I’m delighted to be here talking this month with debut YA novelist Taryn Bashford. After winning a Varuna PIP Fellowship in 2016, The Harper Effect is out now, taking teenage readers into the cutthroat world of the international tennis circuit, a truly Darwinian environment where only the fittest survive.