“A beautiful space of quietude, productivity, and connection – this was equally a retreat from the everyday, and an opportunity to affirm myself as a writer,” – Nicole Cadelina – 2020 WestWords-Varuna recipient

2024 Key dates
Applications open: May 10th, 2024
Applications close: June 24th, 2024
2024 Residency takes place: 16th September to 22nd September, 2024

WestWords and Varuna are once again partnering to offer between 4-5 emerging, diverse* Western Sydney writers the opportunity for a six-day residency at Varuna, The National Writers’ House, in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

The residency will run from 16th September to Sunday 22nd September and includes:

  • a mix of mentorship, private writing time as well as social time for unstructured conversation
  • one-on-one mentorship/consultation with an industry professional
  • six nights’ accommodation at Varuna including meals


To apply, click here and fill out this form


The residency is intended for the development of a current project where a significant amount of work has been completed. Prior to taking up the residency, successful applicants are required to submit the manuscript they intend to work on. This is for the purposes of tailoring the mentorship to your needs, including finding the very best industry mentor for the group.

The fellowships will be awarded to emerging writers from Western Sydney who display exceptional promise in their writing style and the premise of the work. WestWords welcomes manuscripts from writers working in all creative forms, including fiction, drama, poetry, and narrative non-fiction.

The application asks you to submit up to 20 pages of the manuscript you plan to develop during your residency and a 600-word statement on how this development will support you as a writer.

Varuna, the National Writers’ House, is Australia’s only national writers retreat devoted exclusively to the development of the literary form. This iconic institution provides the perfect environment for concentrated writing and has nurtured the work of hundreds of writers for over the last 25 years. Varuna’s residential program runs continuously throughout the year, with up to six writers, each with an identified project, invited to be in residence at Varuna at any one time.

*For the purposes of this program, “diverse” is a self-defining term, that may include First Nations, cultural and/or linguistic diversity, living with a disability, LGBTQIA+. If in doubt, please get in touch.

For more information, you can email us at admin@westwords.com.au or call us on 1800937896

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