The LitLink Residential Fellowship 2018

For writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction living in regional NSW and Sydney surrounds.

The LitLink Residential Fellowships are generously supported by Create NSW.

A LitLink Residential Fellowship offers writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction living in regional NSW and Sydney surrounds a two-week creative residency at Varuna the National Writers' House in the beautiful Blue Mountains, NSW.

The Fellowship includes full board and accommodation at Varuna including a prepared evening meal, uninterrupted time to write in your own private studio, the companionship of your fellow writers and a full manuscript consultation with a Varuna Consultant. Varuna awards five Litlink Fellowships to writers living in regional NSW each year. 

As part of their residency, LitLink Fellowship recipients also receive a half-day 'Publishing School' workshop with experienced publisher, agent and editor Mary Cunnane.

My Litlink residency came at an essential point in the development of my debut novel, Beneath the Mother Tree. I had received a major set-back with the manuscript and had almost decided to give up on it and return to script writing, when I received news it had been selected for a Litlink residency. My time at Varuna became a healing balm. The insightful mentor appointed to me by Varuna restored my belief in the story and gave invaluable feedback as to how to take it to the next step - a publication ready level. I have no doubts the Varuna Litlink residency played a vital role in helping my novel end up with several publishing contracts on the table. I will never forget the precious time I spent at Varuna, and the pivotal role the National Writers' House played in the development of my manuscript.

Donna Cameron, LitLink Fellowship 2015


Being awarded a Litlink Fellowship at Varuna was not only a huge honour but also the start of my love affair with Varuna the Writers' Centre. Finally, here was a place made by writers, for writers! With my own writing studio and a session with a literary mentor, I had two weeks of glorious solitude and inspiration to write, walk and share ideas with other writers. The Litlink Fellowship helped me to believe in myself as a 'real' writer, and gave me the focused time I needed to edit my manuscript, which was contracted for publication with Penguin Random House the following year. I am eternally grateful to Varuna for seeing potential in my writing and for believing in the value of Australian stories and Australian writers.

Hayley Lawrence, LitLink Fellowship 2016


I was fortunate to participate in the LitLink program in the early stages of writing my debut Young Adult novel, ‘Paris Syndrome’. I arrived with a very rough, unformed manuscript but by the end of two weeks had something that had started to sing. This was thanks both to feedback from my mentor, editor Jody Lee, and the uninterrupted time to let the novel come. I’m happy to say that ‘Paris Syndrome’ was picked up by HarperCollins soon after. Magical things happen at Varuna.

Lisa Walker, LitLink Fellowship 2015


The LitLink residency not only allowed me time to complete the first draft of my manuscript but also broadened my understanding of my writing through entertaining and, at times, critical conversation with other writers present. This is the gift of Varuna: an immersive opportunity to speak about and think about writing and creativity without distraction, without judgement, and with a group of strangers who become, by the end of the residency, friends.

John Pitt, LitLink Fellowship 2017


The Varuna LitLink residency offers that incredibly rare gift to writers - quiet, dedicated time to write, read and think deeply about your project, free from the constant distractions of day-to-day life. The mentor interview offered me incisive, practical advice and was pivotal in giving me "permission" to write in a different direction in my short fiction. The other writers I met on the residency have also become good friends and an essential part of my writing support network.

Joanne Riccioni, LitLink Fellowship 2015


Getting Started & Who Can Apply

To be eligible for a LitLink Residential Fellowship you will need to live in regional New South Wales or Sydney surrounds* - see below.

Varuna considers all poetry, drama, literary, and genre-based work for the Fellowships. This includes young adult and junior fiction, travel writing, theatre and film scripts and family memoir. In making their selection the Selectors are looking for new work that is original, actively engages the reader/intended audience and that has a distinctive voice and a well-developed sense of direction. Your work should also be at an advanced stage.

You will need to submit your application by 15 April 2018.

Click here to go straight to Application Guidelines and Application Form. (applications open 8 March 2018)

*The Sydney Surrounds sub-regions covered by this area are:

  • Central Coast (Gosford and Wyong)
  • Central West (Auburn, Holroyd, Parramatta)
  • North West (Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Hawkesbury, Penrith, Blue Mountains,)
  • South West (Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Camden, Campbelltown, Wollondilly)


Selection Process

A panel of Varuna Consultants read all applications. Consultants assess the work blind with no identifying information appearing on any of the selection material. The Consultants then meet to discuss the applications. At this meeting they select the writers who will be awarded a Fellowship.

Important Dates

Applications open on Thursday 8 March 2018.

Applications close on Sunday 15 April 2018. You will need to send your electronic submission to Varuna by midnight (AEST) on the closing date.

Varuna will post the names of the recipients of the LitLink Residential Fellowships on Varuna’s website on Monday 28 May 2018.

The LitLink Residency will be at Varuna from Monday 3 September (from 2pm) until Sunday 16 September 2018 (11.00am).


Costs to Applicant

The application fee is $65 (GST-free) per application. Fees cover administrative costs and help sustain this program.

Litlink Residential Fellowships include all accommodation and all meals at Varuna, the National Writers House in Katoomba and a consultation with one of Varuna's Writing Consultants.

All successful applicants are asked to make a contribution of $385 (GST-free) towards their two-week residency and will need to meet their own travel expenses to and from Varuna, the National Writers' House.

Travel assistance is available for low-income writers living more than 300 kilometres away from Varuna. 

Click HERE to go to Application Guidelines and Application Form. (applications open 8 March 2018)