Strictly Poetry

with Vanessa Kirkpatrick

A six-day residency focussing on the art, craft and inspiration of writing poetry. At Varuna, the National Writers House, in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

KIRKPATRICK Vanessa 3Monday 30 October to Sunday 5 November 2017
Applications close 16 August

The Strictly Poetry Residency includes:

• Private writing time in your own writing studio
• A one-on-one consultation with Vanessa Kirkpatrick
• Group sessions led by Vanessa Kirkpatrick
• Six nights' accommodation at Varuna including meals


About Vanessa Kirkpatrick

Vanessa Kirkpatrick's first collection of poetry, To Catch the Light, won the inaugural John Knight Memorial Poetry Manuscript Prize and was Commended for the 2013 Anne Elder Award. Her second collection, The Conversation of Trees, was published by Hope Street Press in May 2017. Vanessa has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Sydney and her poetry has been broadcast on national radio. She is a qualified teacher and has mentored creative writing for many years.

About Strictly Poetry

In this week, we will be reading and discussing poems from a wide range of poetic styles. These readings will be used as inspirational springboards for generating new work; they will also develop our critical capacities to enhance the redrafting of work in progress. Writers will share their writing work within the supportive environment of the small group and each writer will also have a one on one consultation with Vanessa to discuss work in progress. A substantial part of each day will be devoted to private writing time in the peaceful environment of Varuna.

How much does it cost

The fee for the residency is $1,750 (gst inc) including accommodation, workshops and meals.

A special discount is available to all financial Varuna Alumni of $1,450.

How to apply

If you are interested in coming to this workshop, please email Amy Sambrooke This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our office on 02 4782 5674. The deadline for applications is 16 August 2017.

Alternatively, click here to complete your application form. 



Writing Creative Audio

with Siobhan McHugh, Founding Editor RadioDoc Review, journal of critical analysis of radio documentaries and podcasts 

A six-day residential masterclass focusing on writing creative audio

McHUGH SiobhanAt Varuna, the National Writers House in the world heritage Blue Mountains, NSW

Monday 5 - Sunday 11 November 2018
Applications close 13 August 2018

Writing Creative Audio Residential Masterclass includes:

• Private writing time in your own writing studio
• One on one consultations as well as group sessions led by Siobhan McHugh
• Six days accommodation at Varuna including meals

For program guidelines and application form click HERE.


About Siobhan McHugh

Siobhán McHugh is a documentary-maker, oral historian and writer, whose passion is the affective power of audio storytelling and the burgeoning power of podcasting. Her books on the Snowy Mountains Scheme (The Snowy – The People Behind the Power) and Australian women's role in the Vietnam war (Minefields and Miniskirts) began life as audio interviews, crafted into radio documentary. Her work has won prestigious awards, including the NSW Premier's Prize for non-fiction and a gold medal at the New York Radio Festival. She has made over 60 radio documentaries for ABC, RTE and SBS and in 2013 founded the first journal of radio documentary studies, RadioDoc Review. Siobhan is an internationally recognized podcasting critic, who has spoken on panels alongside Dana Chivvis, producer of Serial, and Sarah Van Mosel, Content CEO of Acast podcast network. She is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Wollongong. Website:

Writing Creative Audio

Audio is the new black. Online delivery systems from podcasting to streaming have seen a renaissance in radio documentaries and features: audio stories which range from highly crafted reportage and narrative journalism to intimate personal accounts and fictional works. This revitalisation is partly due to the ease and economy of digital audio production – even audio rookies can quickly learn how to make broadcast-quality digital stories and disseminate them as podcasts. Exemplars of the audio storytelling form such as Serial, This American Life and Radiolab attract huge transnational audiences, while new outlets such as the indie Radiotopia and Gimlet networks and Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History in the US and Earshot, Radiotonic, PocketDocs and Soundproof on ABC RN test the dynamism of the form. Print media outlets from The New Yorker to The Australian are also developing initiatives to help print journalists modify a story to suit podcast delivery – a process with which Siobhan is actively involved.

Through a mixture of structured and unstructured writing sessions you will examine in some detail the specific attributes of creating audio stories. This will include listening to and critiquing diverse audio features, from winners of the Prix Italia and Third Coast Audio Festivals to quirky shorts, experimental work and radio essays.

Through these sessions we will consider: the essential differences of writing a story to be listened to and writing a story to be read, the various elements that makes audio stories work (such as voice, tone, character, sound, rhythm, pace, mix and silence), the skills and technical tools of creating audio stories, as well as emerging opportunities for writers wanting to create audio stories.

To see if this workshop is for you, listen to:
(a) any of the non-fiction audio works online at RadioDoc Review and read the accompanying critiques  - linked here
(b) The Living Room: link is
If they appeal, you should consider applying.

How much does it cost

The fee for the residency is $1750. This residency includes accommodation, workshops and meals.
A special discount is available to all financial Varuna Alumni of $1450.
This workshop is an advanced workshop limited to four participants.

How to apply

Varuna is now accepting applications for the Writing Creative Audio Residential Masterclass.

Writers interested in participating in Writing Creative Audio Residential Masterclass need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) online to Varuna. Your EOI should include a short, specific statement letting us know what you would most like to gain or to work on during the week as well as a half page synopsis and up to five pages that are indicative of your most recent and relevant work. Please describe your experience in the audio medium (if any).

Please save your EOI as a PDF with the file name: YOUR NAME CREATIVE AUDIO EOI (eg 'MARY SMITH CREATIVE AUDIO EOI') and submit online to Varuna by 5pm (EST) on 13 August 2018.  
Applicants will be notified of the selection outcome by 23 August 2018.

More information

If you need further information about the application process email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 02 4782 5674. Regarding the residency please contact Amy Sambrooke Varuna Creative Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to go back to Residential Masterclass information.

Click HERE to go to GUIDELINES and APPLICATION FORM - applications for Writing Creative Audio Residential Masterclass are now being acceptted and close 13 August 2018.