Some exciting news! I’ve won a Varuna Residential Fellowship for 2019 🙂
This is an amazing opportunity for Australian writers – basically it’s a writing retreat in Katoomba, in the beautiful, mystical Blue Mountains just west of Sydney. It’s two weeks given over to writing, reading, thinking and talking to other writers, all in an amazing old mansion called ‘Varuna’.
Imagine that! No cooking or cleaning or work or any mundane thing that provides a writer with their usual procrastination tactics 😉
Varuna, the mansion and the property around it, was donated to the writers of Australia by Mick Dark in memory of his parents, Eleanor and Dr Eric Dark. Both his parents were extraordinary people – writers and environmentalists with a strong sense of social justice. Fellowships are given for manuscripts which are judged blind, on fifty pages and a 200 word synopsis (I can tell you the synopsis was the hardest part of the two!)
I’ll be working on a manuscript that’s still YA but on the older side, with a strong female main character, set in country Victoria this time:
When Ella’s cousin drowns, their small town is divided about the odd circumstances. A year on, trespassers on their farm trigger events that unearth family secrets.
Ella is a farm girl who takes no prisoners – in fact, I’ve just realised that she reminds me of a modern-day Norah from the classic Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce – a girl who’s grown up on horseback, knows how to use a gun, lives and breathes animals and the environment around her… I love writing her and her physicality. And this book will have a strong environmental lean as well.
Anyway, that’s my exciting news for the week – hopefully I’ll be able to get up to NSW in autumn next year. My lovely husband will meanwhile be keeping the home fires burning, looking after our menagerie. Missing them all will be the hardest part, I feel 🙂