Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship

 The fellowship program

Varuna's Copyright Agency Fellowships for First Nations Writers are open to all writers, published or unpublished, who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and are currently living in Australia.

Varuna will award five Copyright Agency Fellowships in 2019. Each fellowship includes:

  • A week’s residential fellowship including accommodation, private writing space, and full board.
  • A one-on-one mentoring consultation with Dr Peter Minter, Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, or a writing mentor of your choice.
  • Reimbursement of all travel expenses to and from Varuna (we are in the Blue Mountains of NSW, 100 kilometres west of Sydney).
  • A publishing appraisal from Magabala Books, Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher, for any work that you complete as a result of this fellowship, available for up to 18 months following the period of your fellowship.
  • A half-day publishing workshop with publisher and agent Mary Cunnane.


Entry guidelines

  • This fellowship is open to all genres of fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, children's books, graphic novels, dramatic/screen writing, writing for radio, translation, essays or short fiction.
  • You will need to submit up to 10,000 words of your fiction or narrative non-fiction work. The submission should be the first chapters or portion of your work. 
  • Children’s book submissions have no word limit.
  • You can also submit your work in the form of recorded audio if you prefer.
  • For poetry entries, please submit 10 poems.

Eligibility guidelines

  • You must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and currently living in Australia.
  • You must be 18 years or over.
  • If your entry is currently under contract to a publisher or agent, or in negotiation for a contract, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your application before applying.

The application form can be found here. There is no application fee for entries. If you have any problems completing this form, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning 02 4782 5674.

Important Dates

Applications for the 2019 residency program open from 15 October and will close midnight on 14 December 2018 (AEST), and results will be available on the Varuna website by 5 February 2019 PLEASE NOTE that the selection process has been delayed due to circumstances. Applicants must be able to take the fellowship from Monday June 10 to Monday June 17, 2019.

Selection Criteria 

  • Selectors will primarily select fellowships based on the quality and merit of your writing.
  • Selectors will also consider the potential role of your work in maintaining Indigenous culture, such as educating the community regarding Indigenous issues, providing an authentic voice in Australian writing, or recording community stories.

Selection Process 

  • Selections for the fellowship will be made by Dr Peter Minter from the University of Sydney, and Rachel Bin Salleh from Magabala Books.
  • All decisions are final and no correspondence about the selection process or results will be entered into.

    To read through Frequently Asked Questions about this fellowship, click here.

    ***   CLICK HERE TO APPLY   ***


 CA Cultural Fund Logo RGB full colour

Varuna acknowledges the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund for supporting this project.