About Varuna


Varuna’s mission is to inspire the creation of Australian writing that enriches and shapes our culture, and to facilitate writing that is celebrated nationally and internationally. We support the development of excellence, innovation and diversity in new work.

We aim to be a catalyst for artistic excellence through our unique residency programs and professional development opportunities, empowering the literary imagination at every stage of a writer’s career. We seek to foster deeper appreciation of Australian literature through our community programs, and to share the transformative power of the written word.

The legacy and heritage of Varuna are central to this mission. Originally the home of writers Eleanor Dark and Dr Eric Dark, the house and gardens of Varuna were gifted to the Australian public by their son, Mick Dark, in 1989, to be used as a retreat for writers. Since this time, Varuna has inspired a generation of new Australian writing through its program of fellowships and writers’ residencies.

Administered by the Eleanor Dark Foundation, Varuna is recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent institution for writing development, and is central to a thriving community and Alumni association. Each year, over 150 writers participate in residencies and professional development programs at Varuna, and many hundreds more readers and writers participate in our workshop programs and literary events.

We are a value-based organisation and our values include:

  • Valuing heritage and place 

  • Making writing and creativity matter 

  • Bringing rigour and commitment to the writing craft 

  • Building a respectful and inclusive community 

Varuna also runs the Blue Mountains Writers’ Festival, a four-day event held in late August each year.

About Varuna’s programs

About Varuna house and gardens

About the Dark family