In partnership with the Northern Territory Government through Arts NT, Varuna is delighted to invite writers and book illustrators living in the Northern Territory to apply for The Arts NT Varuna Residential Fellowship.

Located in the world-heritage listed Blue Mountains, Varuna offers writers, songwriters and illustrators seeking uninterrupted time to develop a new work in an inspirational and productive environment. A residency at Varuna includes accommodation, a private study and all meals for a cohort of up to five writers at a time.

Four fellowships are available, with two fellowships available for creatives from the Top End and two from the Central Desert regions.

Applicants may be developing a new work in any field of creative writing, including illustration and songwriting. This could include literary, genre fiction, non-fiction, illustration and graphic novels, young adult fiction, junior fiction, poetry, songwriting, writing for screen, theatre or radio.

Applicants to this program are able to design a fellowship program that suits their individual needs. As well as two weeks in residence, your fellowship program provides $1,350 towards travel expenses, manuscript consultations, or accommodation in Sydney on the way through to the Blue Mountains. If your application is successful, we will work with you to allocate a budget that best fits your professional development. For more information on what to expect at Varuna follow the link to our Residency Details.

Selection Criteria and Process

We are looking for applications from NT writers and illustrators who can show achievement and talent in their field of writing as well as being able to articulate clear goals and how The NT Varuna Residential Fellowship will be useful for their creative and professional development.

Applications for The NT Varuna Residential Fellowship will be assessed using the following criteria:

Level of achievement (works completed, published or produced, awards won)
Clarity of work focus and creative objectives (how you will use your time)
Professional benefits to the recipient (how this Fellowship and your current project will benefit your professional development)
Merit of your writing or creative work

Selections for The Arts NT Varuna Residential Fellowship will be made by a committee of Peer Assessors including representatives from Varuna and from the NT.


Eligibility guidelines

* You must be a Northern Territory resident.
* You must be 18 year or older, and be an Australia citizen or permanent resident.
* Submitted material must be your own original work.

(Applications open 1 March 2018 and close 31 March 2018)

Applicants will be notified of the outcome by 16 May 2018. Successful applicants will need to contact Varuna as soon as possible after notification of their place, to nominate their preferred dates. Residencies for this program may be taken between July and December 2018, depending on availability in the house. 

To apply for a NT Varuna Residential Fellowship you will need to complete the Application Form and submit your completed application through the Varuna Online Submission portal.



The Arts NT Varuna Fellowship allowed me an incredible stretch of focused time to get my second book across the line. The atmosphere at Varuna is soaked with the history of people choosing to write and create. It is a powerful atmosphere. The conversations around the dinner table are inevitably rich. More than just food for thought these conversations have allowed me to think about myself as part of a community of writers, a community that, given support, can create works of meaning that can influence the culture.   

Courtney Collins, Ngukurr, NT

As an emerging writer, the combination of supported writing time and engaged feedback have been some of the most valuable experiences to date in the development of my writing. I was able to really focus on drafting and getting inside of the characters, research and narrative of my writing. The whole experience was an injection of energy into my process.   

Fiona Dorrell, Alice Springs, NT

The Arts NT – Varuna Fellowship was a wonderful experience and I am so grateful to both organisations for the opportunity awarded to me in 2017. To be able to shape the residency according to needs made it all the more possible. The added opportunity to spend time in Sydney was of great benefit to me, as I was able to meet with Hachette publisher and mentor Sophie Hamley about my work and potential publishing avenues; and was also able to do valuable research at the maritime museum for two works, including the one I was focusing on for this residency. 

Karen Manton, Batchelor, NT