Varuna’s Copyright Agency Fellowships for First Nations Writers are open to all writers, published or unpublished, who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and are currently living in Australia.

Varuna will award four Copyright Agency Fellowships in 2018. Each fellowship includes:

  • A week’s residential fellowship including accommodation, private writing space, and full board.
  • A one-on-one mentoring consultations with Dr Peter Minter, Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, as well as a writing consultation with a Varuna consultant.
  • Reimbursement of all travel expenses to and from Varuna (we are in the Blue Mountains of NSW, 100 kilometres west of Sydney).
  • A publishing appraisal from Magabala Books, Australia’s leading Indigenous publisher, for any work that you complete as a result of this fellowship, available for up to 18 months following the period of your fellowship.


Entry guidelines

  • This fellowship is open to all genres of fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, graphic novels, dramatic/screen writing, writing for radio, translation, essays or short fiction.
  • You will need to submit up to 10,000 words of your fiction or narrative non-fiction work. The submission should be the first chapters or portion of your work. 
  • Children’s book submissions have no word limit.
  • You can also submit your work in the form of recorded audio if you prefer.
  • For poetry entries, please submit 10 poems.

Eligibility guidelines

  • You must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and currently living in Australia.
  • You must be 18 years or over.
  • If your entry is currently under contract to a publisher or agent, or in negotiation for a contract, please contact us to discuss your application before applying.

The application form can be found here. There is no application fee for entries. If you have any problems completing this form, please contact us by email or by phoning 02 4782 5674.

Important Dates

Applications for the 2018 residency program will close midnight on 15 December 2017 (AEST), and results will be available on the Varuna website by 20 January 2018. You will be able to take your fellowship between March and August 2018 (subject to availability in the house).

Selection Criteria 

  • Selectors will primarily select fellowships based on the quality and merit of your writing.
  • Selectors will also consider the potential role of your work in maintaining Indigenous culture, such as educating the community regarding Indigenous issues, providing an authentic voice in Australian writing, or recording community stories.

Selection Process 

  • Selections for the fellowship will be made by Dr Peter Minter from the University of Sydney, and Rachel Bin Salleh from Magabala Books.
  • All decisions are final and no correspondence about the selection process or results will be entered into.

    ***   CLICK HERE TO APPLY   ***

Cultural Fund logo
Varuna acknowledges the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund for supporting this project.