First Nations Fellowship FAQ 

 How much is the application fee for the program?

There are no application fees for this program. 

If I am successful, are there any fees for participating in the program?

There are no costs involved in this program. Your fellowship includes meals and accommodation for seven nights, as well as a writing consultation with your mentor.

What about travel costs?

You will be fully reimbursed for all travel expenses to and from Varuna.

Am I required to take my fellowship at a specific time of year?

Yes. The fellowship week will be held from Monday 15 June to Monday 22 June 2020.

When will I be notified regarding the outcome?

You will be notified of the outcome of your submission by email, and the fellowship recipients will be announced on our website in February 2019.

I’ve missed the deadline. Can I still submit an application?

No. Unfortunately no applications will be accepted after the deadline date.

I submitted work to the First Nations program last year. Can I resubmit the same work this year?

While there is no limit to how often you may apply for a fellowship, we request that you do not resubmit a work that you have already submitted in a previous year unless there has been substantial reworking/revision.

I do not have a complete manuscript yet. Can I still apply?


Is there a word limit for my submission?

Yes, the word limit is between 4-10,000 words.

Does Varuna have access for writers with disabilities?

We are well advanced in planning for new buildings to accommodate a wider range of residents in the future. If you have restricted mobility, please email to discuss your specific requirements. Please note that we are not equipped to accommodate residents with challenging mental health conditions due to the complexity of issues such conditions may present. 

Can I apply for more than one Varuna fellowship at a time?

Yes. For example, our PIP fellowship is open at the same time as the First Nations fellowship, and you are welcome to apply for both.

I received an First Nations fellowship two years ago. Can I apply for a fellowship again this year?

No. There is a three-year time limit for each program. Therefore, if you received a First Nations fellowship in 2018, you cannot apply for a First Nations fellowship until 2020. However, you can apply for a First Nations fellowship if you received a different Varuna fellowship within this period. For example, if you received a LitLink fellowship within the last three years, you are still eligible to apply for a First Nations fellowship.

Can I apply for a fellowship submitting work that is already under contract with a publisher?

No. This program is open to unpublished and uncontracted manuscripts only.

If I am awarded a fellowship with this program, does this mean I am offered a publishing contract?

No. There is no obligation for Magabala Press to offer you a contract at the conclusion of the Varuna fellowship. However, if you are awarded a First Nations fellowship, this does mean that Magabala Press has read your work and chosen it as being of interest, and is committed to appraising your work after you have completed your residency at Varuna.

I work with another writer collaboratively. If our application is successful, can we come to Varuna together?

If your writing is genuinely a joint work, please contact to explain your specific requirements. We will try to accommodate you if we possibly can.

Can I submit more than one application?


Who is eligible to apply?

Those who identify as being of Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander descent and are over the age of 18 are eligible to apply.