Scribe Varuna Residency

Held in partnership with Scribe Publications, these publishing intensive mentorships provide a unique opportunity for three writers developing exceptional new work. The 2019 program focuses on non-fiction, specifically popular science, micro-history and history from the perspective of diverse voices.

Scribe Publications 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 Scribe editorial staff, independent writing time in your own private writing studio, accommodation and meals. Scribe 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 Scribe editors over dinner to chat about publishing and writing. 

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

Key dates

Applications open 1 July 2019 and close 11 August 2019.

If successful, you will be required to take your residency between Monday November 4 and Sunday November 10, 2019.

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 Scribe looking for?

Melbourne-based Scribe Publications is looking for non-fiction, specifically popular science, micro-history, and history from the perspective of diverse voices.

Micro-history is, broadly speaking, the social history of just one thing. Rather than looking at, for instance, a nation, a century, a war, or a political movement, micro-history focuses on smaller often more mundane subjects and uses them as a prism through which to view history. Examples include Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

History from the perspective of diverse voices opens up our understanding of history. It may overturn our understanding of a time or it may simply shine light in a neglected corner of an event, but it always gives voice to those who have been forgotten, misunderstood, or suppressed in established histories.

Scribe values research and is happy for the text to include endnotes, but is looking for manuscripts that address a general reader rather than an academic audience. Emphasis should be placed on voice and good writing to draw a reader in.


There is a fee of $65 per application, unless you are a financially current alumni member using your annual fee waiver. 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