Writer Development Residencies


Varuna offers professional development for writers


For writers well on their way with a writing project, and needing a process to take them to the next stage, Varuna offers a fee-paying Writer Development Residency that includes one-on-one consultations with a Varuna writing consultant, as well as the company of other writers.

Here’s what writers have said:

It's great to come out of the closet as a writer and see first hand what others are experiencing and to have the companionship of other creative people. Personally, I needed reassurance that my story was worth telling and would have readers. I also needed someone with some sort of compass to help me understand where I was at in the writing process. I appreciated that the advice I received was not prescriptive, but opened up my personal expression. It's so obvious that Varuna staff are passionate about enhancing and encouraging the writing process without infringing on the individual expression of it. And passionate about the future of Australian literature.

Esther Rocket, August 2008


Away from unavoidable distractions (in Sydney) I was able to really think through my writing. It was a chance to stop tinkering and really form and try to work out answers relating to my novel as a whole. The opportunity to stay in a house which is so special - historically , architecturally - to try and write in such an atmosphere has been a joy.

Pam Cameron-Smith, 2010


Varuna Writer Development Residency

The Varuna Writer Development Residency is a fee-paying, non-selective program enabling writers to work intensively for one week in the unique residential environment of Varuna under the supervision of one of Varuna's writing consultants.

Writers interested in the Varuna Writer Development Residency may also be interested in the new Varuna Focus Weeks.

Program Details

The goal of the residency is to find out what the writer wants to achieve, and to assist that achievement through practical advice. The objective is for the writer to leave the residency with a clear and confident plan for the future development of a specified project, and an enhanced and enthusiastic sense of what it means to be a writer.

A Varuna Writer Development Residency provides a unique environment wholly dedicated to writers and writing. Your stay at Varuna will be a combination of solitude, intensive work, experienced guidance and good company within a community of writers.

You will receive two one-on one consultations with one of Varuna's writing consultants.

You will have lots of time to work on your project and enjoy a sense of community with the other writers staying at Varuna.

When there is a vacancy in the house, and a consultant available, it is possible to take a Writer Development Residency. The residency runs from Monday 2pm to the following Monday leaving by 9:30am.


Who can do a Varuna Writer Development Residency?

Writers should be well advanced on a project. The project can be in any genre of fiction or narrative non-fiction. It should be a project that's been in mind for a long time, and one the writer is committed to bring to completion.

The writer must be willing to do what it takes to achieve this completion: it may even be necessary to go back to basics to rebuild on more secure foundations. Sometimes real progress may mean that the writer leaves Varuna with thousands fewer words than they arrived with.

As with all residencies at Varuna, writers need to be 18 years or older.

This is a non-selective program however to ensure that a residency is going to meet the needs of the writer, a Request Form including project outline and statement about what the writer hopes to achieve needs to be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Vacancies in 2018

To request a date, please send a Request Form with your date preferences and email it to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Program Fees

Varuna Writer Development Residencies cost $1750 (including GST)

This charge covers:

  • accommodation and all meals
  • two consultations


You need to send a Request Form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If accepted you will sent an offer - to accept you need to send a non-refundable deposit of $500 with a Residency Form Form A to secure your place (residency form will be sent with the offer).

The balance amount needs to be paid, together with a Form B, by six weeks prior to the residency commencement date.



  • You will need to send a copy of your manuscript (up to 15,000 words) to Varuna for your assigned writing consultant.
  • Your designated writing consultant will liaise with you by email in the lead up to your residency to discuss a work plan for your residency week.
  • You will arrive at Varuna on the Monday of your residency any time after 2pm.
  • You will have two dedicated one-on-one consultations with your writing consultant during your residency.
  • You will have lots of time to work on your project and enjoy a sense of community with the other writers staying at Varuna.
  • The residency will conclude on Monday morning at 9:30am.
  • During your residency your writing consultant will provide you with suggestions and guidance on Varuna programs, or other opportunities you can access after your residency is complete.
  • Your writing consultant is able to offer individual follow up after the completion of your Writer Development Residency (additional fee structure for this on our website).