In the golden Dark house — a week at Varuna
Earlier this year I wrote about the places in which we write â€“ the feeling that a particular location would be the key to writing success and inspiration.Â This week Iâ€™ve been incredibly lucky to be given a residency at one of Australia’s most prestigious â€˜places in which to writeâ€™ â€“ the Varuna writersâ€™ house in the Blue Mountains, the former home of novelist Eleanor Dark.
On Monday I took a winding train trip from Sydney to the bitingly cold Katoomba, and arrived at the famous canary coloured residence where I’m staying withÂ three very talented writers â€“Â Rebecca Harkins-Cross, Bronwyn Lea and Lorin Clarke â€“Â as part of the ‘Critiquing Culture’Â Writer in Residence Mentor Program, where we work under the mentorship of the wonderful and erudite Geordie Williamson.
I’m very honoured to be a recipient of the CAL Varuna Scholarship andÂ I must extend my sincere thank-you toÂ CALÂ for funding scholarships such as these to foster and encourage writers.
Each morning at 7am I rug up in gloves, boots, two scarves and about four woollen layers under my coat and walk with Rebecca along the quiet, hilly streets up to the main road for coffee.Â We then come back to the warmth of the house to workshop with Geordie for an hour, before each retiring to our studios to write all day.
My room looks down upon Eleanor Darkâ€™s studio and the forest of treetops in the distance. I sit at the window writing, with black coffee and an old oil radiator as my constant companions.Â At night an open fire roars downstairs and our lovely chef Sheila brings us another amazing dinner. I could stay here for far longer than a week.
My days have been spent working on an extended essay, but I thought Iâ€™d share some photos of this beautiful, secluded, inspiring place.