Affirm Press Mentorship Award


Held in partnership with Affirm Press, these publishing intensive mentorships provide a unique opportunity for three writers developing exceptional new work. The 2019 program focuses on YA and middle-grade (10+) fiction.  

Affirm Press Publishers will choose each of the manuscripts because they believe it has the potential to become a publishable work of literary value. It is important for applicants to note that this program does not come with a guarantee of publication.  

The residency includes manuscript feedback and meetings with Affirm Press editorial staff, independent writing time in your own private writing studio, accommodation and meals. Affirm Press editors live with the writers at Varuna, and meet with each writer at the beginning and end of the week to discuss your project. Evenings offer the opportunity to meet with other writers and the Affirm editors over dinner to chat about publishing and writing. 

After the residency Affirm Press will keep in touch, offering further feedback as you develop your manuscript to a completed or reworked draft.

Key dates

Applications open 18 March and close 30 April 2019.

If successful, you will be required to take your residency between Monday October 28 and Sunday November 3, 2019.

Owing to a larger-than-expected number of applications, results will be posted on the website mid-August.

What you need to send us

You will need to send us between 7,000 and 10,000 words from the beginning of your manuscript, along with a synopsis of the entire work.

What is Affirm Press looking for?

Melbourne-based Affirm Press is dedicated to publishing great Australian stories and the most engaging local authors. They are keen to extend their award-winning kids’ list, which will be the focus of the Affirm Press Varuna Mentorship this year.

Specifically, Affirm Press is looking for YA manuscripts and middle-grade fiction (10+) with exciting concepts and remarkable characters. Think captivating, heartfelt, funny and warm stories with a uniquely Australian touch. They don't generally trade in genre fiction but are happy to consider manuscripts that have genre elements. Affirm Press is not currently calling for poetry, graphic novels, verse novels, drama scripts, non-fiction or novellas and writers should not submit works in these genres or forms.


There is a fee of $60 per application, unless you are a financially current alumni member using your annual fee waiver. If you have a Healthcare card, the application fee is $30. Application fees are used to pay professional assessors to read your work.

If you are successful, you will be asked to make a contribution of $385 towards your residency and you will need to meet your own travel expenses to and from Varuna. If you have a Healthcare card, you may apply to the Varuna Travel Assistance Fund for a subsidy of up to $300.

The fine print (preparing your submission, FAQ and application form)

Clive Jones