Affirm Press is delighted to announce that our Mentorship Award with Varuna Writer’s House in 2019 will focus exclusively on Young Adult and Middle Fiction submissions for the first time.

Three writers will be awarded a week’s residency and manuscript development at Varuna House in the Blue Mountains. Clair Hume and Davina Bell, Commissioning Editor and Senior Editor with the Affirm Press kids team, will attend to provide in-depth manuscript development and feedback as well as to establish ongoing relationships with the winners.

Now in its fifth year, the award has already resulted in two highly regarded published works: Paula Keogh’s Stella Prize shortlisted lyrical memoir The Green Bell and Sonia Orchard’s outstanding novel Into the Fire, which has received glowing reviews after being published earlier this month. A third book, Snakes and Ladders by Angela Williams, is a literary memoir about the Australian prison system and will be published in 2020.

Commissioning Editor Clair said she was excited to find out what the fellowship might unearth.

‘Our list has grown a lot since its launch in 2017 and our picture books have seen great sales and recognition. We’ve already got some terrific middle grade and YA fiction coming soon, but we’re on the lookout for more. The Affirm Press Mentorship has proved so successful for the general list it seems a fantastic way for us to find and nurture something new. Plus working in the gorgeous Blue Mountains won’t be too bad either.’

Applications for the award open on Monday 18 March and close on Tuesday 30 April. Continuing last year’s initiative to make the award more accessible for low income writers, application fee assistance and a travel bursary will be available for entrants with health care cards.

Applicants should visit the Varuna website for more details on the award and how to apply.