Varuna First Nations Fellowship Programme 2021 for Writers from Australia

Varuna First Nations Fellowship Programme 2021 for Writers from Australia

Deadline: December 10, 2020

Applications are open for the Varuna First Nations Fellowship Programme 2021. Varuna offers a range of prestigious Fellowships designed to support writers across different genres and at all stages of their writing careers. Fellowships are all competitively awarded and include between one and four weeks’ residency at Varuna. Each year, six fellowships are awarded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers from anywhere in Australia.

Varuna’s mission is to inspire the creation of Australian writing that enriches and shapes their culture, and to facilitate writing that is celebrated nationally and internationally. They support the development of excellence, innovation and diversity in new work. They aim to be a catalyst for artistic excellence through their unique residency programs and professional development opportunities, empowering the literary imagination at every stage of a writer’s career. The 2021 fellowship program will take place in the week beginning Monday June 21, 2021.


  • Fellowships include accommodation, all meals, travel expenses and manuscript consultations.
  • The fellowship week includes a one-on-one mentoring session as well as group reading sessions.
  • First Nations Fellowships also include an optional 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.


  • Open to writers of all genres of fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, graphic novels, dramatic/screen writing, writing for radio, translation, YA, essays or short fiction.
  • Those who identify as being of Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander descent and are over the age of 18 are eligible to apply.
  • Submissions in language are welcomed.

Selection Criteria

Fellowships will be awarded based primarily on the 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, maintaining language, or recording community stories.


Applications will close at midnight on December 10, 2020. Unfortunately no applications will be accepted after the deadline date.

  • You will need to send between 4,000 and 10,000 words from the beginning of your manuscript.
  • You can also submit your work in the form of recorded audio if you prefer. For poetry entries, please submit 10 poems.

Click here to apply

For more information, see FAQ and visit Varuna First Nations Fellowship.