Helen Loughlin has been appointed as Varuna’s Creative Director. She has a long history with Varuna having had her first fellowship (poetry) in 1993 and brings extensive experience in books, writing and ideas, public relations, audience development and curation from her work with publishers and literary organisations in Australia and the UK, including Canongate, Penguin, Rebel Inc, Writers in the Park, Polygon, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh International Book Festival, UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and the National Library of Scotland. She has worked with many writers as an editor, publicist and literary event producer and has established and curated two literary series – Bridge Readings and Edinburgh Talks – in Scotland and most recently curated the Artist-in-Residence program at the University of Sydney and established Turning the Tide: Indigenous Australian Writers and Thinkers for its Faculty of Education and Social Work.
Her work has been published in literary journals and she’s edited Phoenix Review, Rant, Hermes and Antithesis. She has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Sydney and is working on a research degree there.
Helen says: “I’m over the moon to have been chosen as Varuna’s Creative Director as we head towards our 30th anniversary. It’s a special place that really gets under the skin and builds a community of Varuna writers nationally and internationally. I’m aware that I’m riding on the shoulders of giants and hope that I can add to Varuna’s creative program in a way that honours the mighty legacy that the Darks have bestowed, and the cultural legacy of our writers, staff and volunteers.”
Veechi Stuart has been appointed as Varuna’s Business Manager. She has worked with small business and non-profit organisations for 20 years, acting as an advisor and business mentor. She combines her entrepreneurial spirit with grounded financial insights to help organisations grow in a sustainable way.
Veechi is also a well-known business author, having written several titles for John Wiley, including Small Business For Dummies and the international edition of Creating a Business Plan For Dummies. Her other love is bushwalking, and Veechi is the author of Blue Mountains Best Bushwalks, now in its third edition, and also Sydney’s Best Bush, Park & City Walks. Veechi has also worked as a weekly columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Veechi has an undergraduate degree in business management and accounting, a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, and is currently completing her MBA studies.
Veechi has been a resident of the Blue Mountains for almost 30 years and has been a director and committee member on several local organisations. She currently serves as a board director at the Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre and the Blue Mountains Regional Business Chamber.