The LitLink Residential Fellowship & The LitLink Unpublished Manuscript Award

For writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction living in regional NSW and the greater Sydney area.

The LitLink Residential Fellowships and The LitLInk Unpublished Manuscript Award are supported by Arts NSW, Byron Bay Writers Festival & Varuna the National Writers House.

A LitLink Residential Fellowship offers writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction living in regional NSW and the greater Sydney area 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 the opportunity to receive feedback on your work from a Varuna Consultant. Varuna awards five Litlink Fellowships to writers living in regional NSW each year.

A Writer applying for a Litlink Fellowship, who has a complete unpublished manuscript, may also chose to enter their work into the Litlink Unpublished Manuscript Award (conditions apply).

The winner of The LitLink Unpublished Manuscript Award receives a VIP pass to the Byron Bay Writers Festival and feedback on their full manuscript from a Varuna Consultant. The winner of the Award is publicly announced each year at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Varuna has proven the perfect setting for a concentrated examination of what my novel needs to give it lift-off . . . . It has been a privilege having time in the Varuna environment, where writers and writing are valued and nurtured, with access to a wealth of experience.

Dael Allison, LitLink Unpublished Manuscript Award, 2009.


Writers living in the Northern Rivers region seeking professional feedback on their work may also be interested in applying for a Northern Rivers LitLink Writing Consultation. Writers wanting more information on this program should contact the Northern Rivers Writers' Centre directly by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (02) 6685 5115.


Getting Started & Who Can Apply

To be eligible for a LitLink Residential Fellowship you will need to live in regional New South Wales or the greater Sydney area* and have written a work of fiction or narrative non-fiction. Your work should also be at an advanced stage.

Varuna considers all literary and genre-based work both for the Fellowships and for the Unpublished Manuscript Award. This includes young adult and junior fiction, travel writing, and family memoir. In making their selection the Selectors are looking for new work that is original, actively engages the reader and that has a distinctive voice and a well-developed sense of direction.

You will need to submit your application by 30 April 2014.

Click here to go straight to Application Guidelines and Application Form.

* Greater Sydney is all of the Sydney Metropolitan Area other than the inner urban areas of Global Sydney. It comprises the diverse suburban communities that ring Global Sydney from Campbelltown in the South to the Northern suburbs, Gosford and the Central Coast in the North and Penrith in the West. It also encompasses the economic, administrative and social hubs of Parramatta, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Penrith, Blacktown, Sutherland and Hornsby.

The Greater Sydney sub-regions covered by this area are:

• South (Kogarah, Hurstville, Canterbury, Rockdale, Sutherland)
• North (Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai, Pittwater, Warringah)
• West Central (Auburn, Blacktown, Hills Shire, Holroyd, Parramatta)
• North West (Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Penrith)
• South West (Bankstown, Fairfield, Wollondilly, Camden, Campbelltown, Liverpool)
• Central Coast (Gosford and Wyong)

Please note: Applicants who also want to be considered for The Litlink Unpublished Manuscript Award will need to nominate this option (tick a box) on the application form and submit a copy of your complete manuscript along with your application.

Selection Process

Firstly, a panel consisting of three 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 four writers who Varuna will award a LitLink Residential Fellowship and one additional standby Fellowship recipient.

After selecting the Litlink Residential Fellowship recipients, the Varuna Consultants consider all applications where the applicant has indicated that they wish to be considered for the Litlink Unpublished Manuscript Award. From these submissions they create a shortlist of five manuscripts to send to the Northern Rivers Writers' Centre. Varuna forwards the shortlist, including full manuscripts, to the Northern Rivers Writers' Centre who oversee the final stage of the Litlink Unpublished Manuscript Award selection process.

The five recipients of the LitLink Fellowship may be the same as the five shortlisted writers for the unpublished manuscript award.

Important Dates

Applications open on Monday 3 March 2014.

Applications close on Wednesday 30 April 2014. You will need to send your electronic submission to Varuna by 5pm on the closing date. Your hardcopy application form must be postmarked by the closing date.

Varuna will post the names of the recipients of the LitLink Residential Fellowships on Varuna’s website on Tuesday 1 July 2014.

Byron Bay Writers Festival will post the names of the shortlisted writers for The LitLink Unpublished Manuscript Award on their website on Tuesday 1 July 2014.

Byron Bay Writers Festival will notify the winner of the award on Wednesday 2 July and publically announce the winner of the award at the Byron Bay Writers Festival on 1-3 August 2014.

The LitLink Residency will be at Varuna from Monday 18 August (from 2pm) until Sunday, 31 August 2014 (11.00am).


Costs to Applicant

The application fee is $55 (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 $300 (GST free) towards their two-week residency and will need to meet their own travel expenses to and from Varuna, the National Writers House.