Programs & Events

2019 Heyman Mentorship Award


We are delighted to be partnering with Kathryn Heyman, acclaimed Sydney-based writer, and founder of the Australian Writers Mentoring Program and with University of Queensland Press for the inagural Heyman Mentorship Award.

The award is open to writers who come from a background of social or economic hardship. It opens a new pathway for emerging and marginalised writers. The winner receives a six month mentorship with Kathryn Heyman and a full editorial read and report on their completed work with UQP. We look forward to publishing a sample of the successful writer’s, story, novel extract or memoir essay in Mascara Literary Review, Issue 24, Class Fetish.

Applications close on May 15, 2019. Visit Kathryn’s website for guidelines.

Varuna Mascara Western Sydney Writers Fellowship

We are delighted to announce the winner and shortlisted writers for the inaugural 2019 Varuna Mascara Western Sydney Writers Fellowship which offers a one week, all expenses paid residency at Varuna, a publishing consultancy worth $800 & and a manuscript appraisal with Giramondo Press. This is an innovative and prestigious opportunity for a Western Sydney Writer currently working on a poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction manuscript.

We would like to congratulate all the shortlisted writers; the manuscripts were of an excellent standard. As judges we considered quality and originality of writing. Our thanks to Varuna, the Writer’s House and Create NSW for this opportunity for Mascara to support excellent writing.


Jessie Tu “Field Notes on Language and Voicelessness”
Adele Dumont “Elsewhere”
Dave Drayton “The Poetranslator”
Shannon Anima “The Running Game”
Jessica Seaborn “Tommy Brewer”


Karina Ko lives in Sydney where she graduated in Law and in Arts. Her parents came from Hong Kong. She is working on a collection of short stories.

Judges Comments: We were impressed with Karina Ko’s original voice, tackling awkward, often political topics like class, ethnicity and queerness with a surreal and surprising imagination.


Program Details

The fellowship week at Varuna will be held in April 2019, with the exact date yet to be confirmed. The week will run from Monday to Monday and includes accommodation and full board.
The fellowship week will be with four other writers who are also on this program. There will be a half-day publishing workshop during that week with Mary Cunnane, who will talk about publishing, negotiating contracts, finding a publisher, the pros and cons of using an agent, what to expect throughout the process, and so on.
The Varuna Mascara Fellow receives an $800 budget to pay for a consultant for the writer. Varuna and Mascara Literary Review will identify the best match for this consultant/mentor relationship.
Applications were open from 1 August 2018 to 20 September 2018 and were judged by Michelle Hamadache and Michelle Cahill.
The fellowship also includes an optional manuscript appraisal by Giramondo Press.
Varuna and Mascara Literary Review expect to feature the winning writer in an event as part of the Varuna Blue Mountains Annual Writers’ Festival.






Aboriginal, CALD & LGBTIQ Writers’ Health


These cohorts suffer from the impacts of structural discrimination within the publishing industry and in academia, leading to exclusion and marginalisation. This can affect personal and professional life but also the writing life with loss of confidence, inferiority and exhaustion from stigmatisation and from the impacts of increased labour on the physical body and mental well being. The most disturbing outcome is the loss of voice, from devaluation, censorship and mediation of our narratives, not to mention the appropriation of our unique stories by writers whose work attracts mainstream invested interest.

We consider that this problem is serious. In 2018 we lost Candy Royalle and Ramon Loyola. There are dominant narratives and dominant poetics. Supporting the health of our cohort highlights that coteries of privileges do exist, fostered by the exclusive prize culture and other coalitions of white heteronormative agency, government funding and industry.

As an organisation that offers publishing opportunities and advocacy, we want to provide a safe community for Aboriginal, CALD & LGBTIQ writers. Please contact us if you have appropriate skills and would like to partner or if you wish to donate.