Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.


July 19, 2020 @ 8:00 am - July 24, 2020 @ 8:00 pm

International Lamplight Residency with Mark Doty, Michelle de Kretser, Carol Major, and Graywolf Press



Join us for a very special online residency and enjoy the support of Write On and Varuna , the National Writers’ House, located in New South Wales, Australia, the camaraderie of fellow writers from the USA and Australia, unique professional development opportunities, and the chance to use this unexpected time to build new connections and sustain your creative project in 2020.


Three places will be available for writers from Write On, and three writers from Varuna. This program is only available to writers who have been awarded a residency at Write On. Those writers whose residencies were cancelled or rescheduled due to COVID-19 are welcome to take part.


This week-long online residency includes:

  • A one-hour online session (one-on-one) with Varuna Writing Consultant Dr Carol Major to talk about your current project

  • A one-hour online session (one-on-one) with Chantz Erolin or Anni Liu from Graywolf Press, USA.

  • An online Q&A session with Mark Doty

  • An online Q&A session with Michelle de Kretser

  • Daily facilitated professional networking opportunities with your peers throughout the week, including the opportunity to share work, talk about process, and receive feedback.

  • And finally, a social catch up with your peers with recipes from beloved Varuna chef Sheila Atkinson and from Write On’s Artistic Director Jerod Santek to cook at home if you choose.

Places limited to six only. Three participants will be in Australia, and three participants will be in the USA.

Participants need to allow at least 1 hour at specific times every day for programmed sessions, with the expectation that you will spend at least three hours dedicated writing time each day (although this is flexible according to your own personal circumstances).

Participants will need a reliable internet connection, and a computer or mobile phone with a webcam and microphone.

Program dates:  Sunday, July 19 – Friday, July 24.


Praised by the New York Times for his “dazzling, tactile grasp of the world,” Mark Doty is a renowned Mark Dotyauthor of poetry and prose. He is the author of three memoirs: the New York Times-bestselling Dog Years (HarperCollins, 2007), Firebird (1999), and Heaven’s Coast (1997), as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World Into Word, part of the popular “Art of” series published by Graywolf Press. Throughout his writings, he shows special interest in the visual arts, as is evident in his poems and also in his book-length essay, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon (2001). His most recent book is a memoir that centres on his poetic relationship with Walt Whitman, entitled What Is the Grass (W. W. Norton, 2020).

He is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Deep Lane.

In addition to the National Book Award, Mark has also received two NEA fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award, and the Witter Byner Prize. As the award citation for the last of these noted, “Mark Doty’s poems extend the range of the American lyric.” In 2011 Mark was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Mark is a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, and also teaches in NYU’s low-residency MFA program in Paris.


Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. Educated in Melbourne and Paris, Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer.

Michelle de Kretser

She is the author of The Rose GrowerThe Hamilton Case, which won the Commonwealth Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region) and the UK Encore Prize, and The Lost Dog, which was widely praised by writers including AS Byatt, Hilary Mantel and William Boyd and won several awards, including the 2008 NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and the 2008 ALS Gold Medal. The Lost Dog was also shortlisted for the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, the Western Australian Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Asia-Pacific Region) and Orange Prize’s Shadow Youth Panel. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Questions of Travel, received 14 honours, including winning the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her latest novel The Life to Come won the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Award.


Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. They champion outstanding writers at all stages of their careers to ensure that adventurous readers can find underrepresented and diverse voices in a crowded marketplace.

Graywolf Press believe works of literature nourish the reader’s spirit and enrich the broader culture, and that they must be supported by attentive editing, compelling design, and creative promotion.

photo credit Anna Johnson



Chantz Erolin works with poets through manuscript development and all stages of production as editorial and production associate at Graywolf Press, where he was the inaugural Citizen Literary Fellow. A poet and critic, Erolin’s writing can be found in the BelieverGood Job, and elsewhere. He lives on the Southside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he grew up.




Anni Liu is an editorial assistant at Graywolf Press where she works on fiction, nonfiction, and translated prose titles. She is also a writer and translator with an MFA in poetry from Indiana University.





Dr. Carol Major has been a professional writer for over thirty years and works with writers across all narrative forms. Her skill is in drawing out the writer’s vision and matching it with crafting tools. She is originally from Scotland, later educated in Canada and now lives in the Blue Mountains of Australia, a location she feels holds the ingredients of all three landscapes in one place. Narrative voice is also a passion: who is telling this story to whom about what, and most importantly, why? What is the motive to tell? She believes it is a key ingredient in creating an authentic narrative voice.


Amy Sambrooke, Creative Director, Varuna the National Writers’ House & Blue Mountains Writers’ Festival

Amy has worked in the cultural sector throughout her career. Prior to joining Varuna, Amy spent eight years at the Whitlam Institute developing community and school programs and managing communications, marketing and outreach for the Institute’s public policy work and high-profile events program. Amy has worked as a producer and reporter for 702 ABC Sydney as well as in commercial radio. She has also worked as an arts publicist and media trainer.

Veechi Stuart, Executive Director, Varuna the National Writers’ House & Blue Mountains Writers’ Festival

Veechi’s career has taken her on many adventures, including working as a journalist, writer, editor, publisher and business consultant. Before working at Varuna, Veechi worked as a columnist at the Sydney Morning Herald and as Publishing Manager for Woodslane Press. She is the author of over a dozen non-fiction titles, including bushwalking guides for both the Blue Mountains and Sydney.

Jerod Santek, Artistic Director, Write On, Door County

Jerod is the founding director of Write On, Door County and currently serves as the organization’s Artistic Director. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in a variety of print and online literary journals, including PloughsharesHayden’s Ferry Review, and Blithe House Quarterly. He serves on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and the Washington Island Literary Festival committee. He has also served on the board of UntitledTown Book and Author Festival and of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), where he represented Writers’ Conferences and Centers from 2009 to 2019.

Sheila Atkinson

Sheila is Varuna’s chef extraordinaire and has become legendary in Australia’s writing community for her wonderful meals for Varuna guests. While running her restaurant in Katoomba many years ago, she was asked to cater for meals for Varuna guests. For two years she did both jobs, eventually selling her restaurant because she loved the Varuna job more. Sheila’s many professional lives have included being a makeup artist for television, an organiser of arts festivals and a restaurateur.


July 19, 2020 @ 8:00 am
July 24, 2020 @ 8:00 pm
Event Categories: