This week I took up a Writer Development Residency at Varuna, the National Writers’ House in Katoomba, the Blue Mountains. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I stayed in the Bear room, which I soon discovered was named for its collection of teddy bears on the shelves above the books. Patchwork quilts decorated every room and I felt right at home. As part of my residency I had two consultations with the incredible Carol Major, one of the Varuna consultants. She saw into the heart of my manuscript and helped me develop it, and I thank her so much for her generosity and kindness.
As I write this, on my last day at Varuna, I am sitting at the big writing desk in the studio attached to the Bear room, that overlooks the gardens. I stayed with four other writers who were all so supportive and talented. After each day of writing, we would meet together in the evenings for wine, a home-cooked meal by Sheila, and sometimes a session of readings and toasted marshmallows beside the fireplace. I will always remember my stay at Varuna, and the writers I met there.