Varuna Residential Fellowships


How much is the application fee for the program?

Application fees are $65 per application, unless you are a financially current alumni member using your annual fee waiver. This fee helps to cover the administrative costs of this program and to pay our assessors for their time reading your work. If you have a Healthcare card, the application fee is $35.

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

If you are successful, you will be asked to make a contribution of $315* per week towards your residency and you will need to meet your own travel expenses to and from Varuna. (*Except for the Ray Koppe/ASA Young Writer’s Flagship Fellowship)

What about travel costs?

You will need to meet your travel costs to get 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. Also, State and Territory funding bodies are often willing to provide a contribution for travel expenses to support genuine professional development opportunities.

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

The residencies will need to be taken between January and May 2020, subject to availability in the house.

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 by 15 October 2019.

Will I receive feedback upon my work?

Selectors do not discuss the selection process or offer individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants. If you would like to receive more specific feedback on your manuscript Varuna is happy to provide writers with structured and ongoing support through our manuscript consultation program.

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 this fellowship 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 10,000 words.

Can I exceed the word count for items on the cover page such as the synopsis or bio?

We do not count each word and penalise you for going a few words over, but we do appreciate if you could endeavour to stick within the word count limits suggested.

How can I write my bio without including identifying details?

Try to indicate the level of your experience without being too specific. For example, you might write ‘I have had many essays published in literary journals, including Griffith Review and Meanjin, and my first novel was published by Black Inc. in September 2016.’ In general, it is advised not to include the titles of any published works. You can however mention any awards or fellowships received.

Does Varuna have access for writers with disabilities?

We are well advanced in the plans for the construction of our new studio, which will be accessible for writers in wheelchairs or with mobility impairments. Construction is likely to commence at the end of this year. However, 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 Varuna fellowship program will open before results are announced for the Affirm fellowships, and you are welcome to apply for both.

I received a Varuna Residential fellowship previously. Can I apply for a fellowship again?

There is a three-year time limit for each program. Therefore, if you received a Varuna Residential fellowship in 2017, you cannot apply for a Varuna Residential fellowship until 2019 (for a fellowship in 2020). However, you can apply for a Varuna Residential 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 Varuna Residential fellowship. 

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

Yes. Please note that there was an error when these FAQs were first released, which indicated that this program was open to unpublished and uncontracted manuscripts only. This information was incorrect, and we welcome applications for work that is already under contract.

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


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?

Yes. However, you will need to pay an application fee for each application you submit.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants need to be an Australian citizen or have a permanent residency visa and be over 18 years old.

My project has illustrations eg children's book or graphic novel. Is that permissable?

Provided your submission has a minimum of 7,000 words, that's fine.