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Varuna, the National Writers' House

141 Cascade Street

Katoomba, NSW 2780

Australia

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Join us at our Varuna Open House for a sneak peek at this precious place for Australian writers. Bring the family and enjoy house and garden tours, music and poetry in the garden, author talks and more.

Some events such as the kids writing workshop with Vanessa Kirkpatrick, and the conversation with Mark O'Flynn and Kate Fagan are likely to book out, so we do encourage you to book your ticket in advance. You are welcome to explore the house and garden and have a cuppa and a chat with our volunteers, board and staff free of charge.

10am – 11am Stories from the garden: a creative writing workshop for kids

Join local poet Vanessa Kirkpatrick on a creative journey for kids aged 8 to 12. To spark our imaginations, we'll take a wander through the delightful gardens of Varuna, then we'll journey down a path surrounded by spring blossoms to the writing studio of Eleanor Dark. In that cosy inspiring space, the kids will be invited to create a story or a poem. $15 per child. Places limited, bookings are advised.

10:30am – 11:00am Keeping our writers warm: The Varuna quilt project

The Varuna Quilt Project started when a basket of fabrics, along with paper piecing for a child's quilt, were found in the cupboard of Eleanor Dark's old sewing room. Join Varuna volunteer Monica Flynn as she talks about how the Varuna Quilt Project came to life, and for a display of the quilts that keep our visiting writers snug as a bug. Free.

11:00am – 11:30am What is it like to be an author? Meet James Roy

Award-winning local mountains author James Roy writes books for young people. His latest book One Thousand Hills won the prestigious NSW Premier's History Prize. This is a great opportunity for kids and teens (and their adults) to meet James Roy, hear him read some of his work, and ask him the tricky questions about what it’s like to be an author. Free.

11:30am - 12pm Highlights from the Varuna Collection

No one knows Varuna quite like our librarian and archivist Barbara Palmer, who curates our collection relating to the Dark family and to Varuna as a writers’ house. After 10 years tending this nationally significant collection, Barbara has pulled together some of the treasures and some of her favourite objects for this special open day event. Free.

12pm – 12:30pm The Varuna difference: How our programs support Australian writers

In this session with Veechi Stuart, Executive Director and Amy Sambrooke, Creative Director, we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of the programs Varuna runs, and how we support writers at all stages of their careers. If you’re a writer or even if you’re just curious about what Varuna does then please join us for this session – all are welcome. Free.

1pm – 2pm The woman with the machete: writing the story of a mountains recluse

Local writer and Varuna Alumnus Mark O’Flynn has recently been shortlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Award for his book The Last Days of Ava Langdon, a rich and moving imagined portrayal of the final days in the life of eccentric Australian writer Eve Langley – a Katoomba resident for the last 15 years of her life. Join us in the Varuna lounge room for an intimate in-conversation event with Mark O’Flynn and well known musican, poet and writer Kate Fagan. Tickets are $20. Places are limited for this very special event, so bookings are essential.

2:30pm – 4pm Poetry and music in the garden

Local poet Craig Billingham will lead us in a relaxed afternoon of poetry and music in the Varuna garden. For the first time at Varuna award-winning poet Eileen Chong will join us as feature poet for this session, alongside many other poets from near and far. Bring your own poem to read, or simply sit, listen and enjoy the friendly ambience of the Writers’ House. Music by Andie Isalie from 2pm. Tickets $5.00.

TOURS

From a family home to a treasured space for all writers: guided tours of the Varuna house

What is it like to be a writer staying at Varuna? This 20 – 30 minute guided tour of the Varuna house will provide you with a special insight into this unique and beloved place. Home to the Dark family for many years, and a dearly loved home away from home for many well-known Australian writers, a tour of the Varuna house is essential for any visitor.

Tickets $5.00. House tours will run at 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm and 1:45pm.

A classic mountains garden

Join Jill Dark - wife of the late Mick Dark - for a very special 20 minute tour of the 2 acre Varuna garden. Carefully tended by the Dark’s while they lived in the house, and now maintained by Jill and Mick’s son Rod, the garden has always held a very special place in the hearts of the Dark family and indeed for all visitors to Varuna.

Tickets: $5.00. Garden tours will run at 11:30am and 12:30pm.

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Date and Time

Location

Varuna, the National Writers' House

141 Cascade Street

Katoomba, NSW 2780

Australia

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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