Affirm Press and Varuna the National Writers House are thrilled to offer The Affirm Press Mentorship Award.

The aim of the Mentorship is to help you as a writer get your manuscript to a publishable standard and – if the process is successful – ultimately for you to have your manuscript published by Affirm Press. By its very nature a development program like this cannot come with a guarantee of publication, but Affirm Press Publishers will choose each of the manuscripts because they believe it has the potential to become a publishable work of literary value.

For information on how to apply click on the following links:
Application Guidelines  (Applications closed 31 May 2018). 


The Affirm Press Mentorship Award offers up to three writers developing exceptional new work the opportunity to work with the Affirm Press publishing team while in residence at Varuna the National Writers House.

The award is about creating new opportunities for Australian writers of literary fiction and forging new professional relationships between these writers and Affirm Press.

A wonderful aspect of the program is that it will be done residentially at Varuna, an environment well known for being supportive of the writing process and the development of Australian literature.

.... It was like being transported into a paradise for writers. When in normal life one is juggling work, raising kids, running a household, meeting family and community obligations - and trying to write! - it was some kind of magical miracle to spend a whole week in a place where my writing is validated and valued.

Participant Feedback, Affirm Mentorship Program

Who Should Apply & What Is Affirm Press Looking For?

Affirm Press is a Melbourne-based publisher dedicated to publishing great stories, big ideas, and the most engaging local and international authors. Affirm have a small but select list of fiction which they are keen to expand, and are looking for well-developed literary fiction with a view to potential publication. 

While Affirm doesn't generally trade in genre fiction they are happy to consider literary novels that have genre elements. For the purpose of this mentorship, Affirm will not consider YA, kids, genre fiction, memoir, poetry, graphic novels, verse novels, drama scripts, non-fiction or novellas and writers should not submit works in these genres or forms.

Writers may be at any stage of their writing career but do need to be over 18 years of age and Australian citizens or permanent residents.

A writer who is contracted to another publisher for the project should not apply.

... Varuna gives the gift of time and space to write - editors from Affirm Press gave the key to working on my manuscript. It is an extremely important experience and I hope to bring the habits learned here back to my home study.

Participant Feedback. Affirm Mentorship Program 

Important Dates

• You will be able to submit your applications online from 1 May 2018.

• Applications will close and you must submit your application electronically by midnight (AEST) 31 May 2018.

• Varuna will announce the Writers to receive an Affirm Press Mentorship Award on the Varuna News section of the Varuna website Monday 30 July, 2018.

• The Affirm Press Mentorship Award residency will take place at Varuna the National Writers House from Monday 29 October – Sunday 4 November, 2018. You will need to be available for the full week and residency dates are not negotiable.

Application and Program Fees

There is a fee of $60 per application. For applicants with a Healthcare card, the application fee is $30. Fees cover administrative costs and help sustain this program.

Applicants may submit more than one application. A separate application form and application fee is required for each submission.

All successful applicants are asked to make a contribution of $385 (GST-free) towards their residency and will need to meet their own travel expenses to and from Varuna. Applicants on a Healthcare card may apply for The Varuna Travel Assistance Fund for a subsidy of up to $300.

Selection Process

Varuna Consultants will create a shortlist of quality manuscripts for Affirm Press to consider. Varuna contracts external consultants to assist with the reading and selection of the submissions.

Affirm Press will select up to three writers from this shortlist to award an Affirm Press Mentorship Award.

Varuna will notify the recipients of the Award by email and announce the names of the recipients online.

... I learnt more in two hours with the publishers than in three and a half years doing this novel as my PhD.

Participant Feedback. Affirm Mentorship Program

Program Details

Writers awarded an Affirm Press Mentorship will be invited to attend a six-day residency at Varuna. The residency will take place between Monday October 29 (2:00 pm)– Sunday November 4 (12:00 noon), 2018 and includes independent writing time in your own private writing studio, accommodation and full board.

At the beginning of the week (on day one or two) a member of the Affirm Press publishing team will meet with each writer and brainstorm and critique their synopsis and MS, discuss their project and what can be achieved during the Varuna residency.

During the week the Affirm Press representative/s will be happy to look at new sections and will also meet up informally with the writers in the evenings to chat about publishing and writing. A publisher or editor will meet with each writer again at the end of the week to assess how far the writer has got with developing the manuscript, what has worked, and where next for the writer with the project when they leave Varuna.

After the residency Affirm Press will keep in touch with the writers offering further feedback as they develop their manuscript to a completed or reworked draft.

Affirm Press will maintain first right of acceptance to each of the writers' manuscripts until they have had the opportunity to read and respond to the completed or reworked draft.

At this stage Affirm Press will either release the writer from this agreement or issue publishing contacts to those writers whose works they would like to publish or further develop.

Click HERE to go to Application Guidelines and Application Form     (Applications closed 31 May 2018)