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Affirm Press Mentorship Award

Date: Wed September 15 2021 12:00 am to Wed September 15 2021 11:59 pm

Melbourne-based independent publisher Affirm Press is dedicated to publishing great Australian stories and building relationships with emerging local writers.

The Affirm Press Mentorship Award provides a unique opportunity for three writers to develop exceptional new work through a week of residency at Varuna.

For the 2021 mentorship, Affirm Press is looking for contemporary middle-grade (9+) and young adult manuscripts, with a particular desire to see a wide range of diverse and authentic voices that aren’t always represented in mainstream publishing.

An independent panel of YA authors, Melissa Keil and Gary Lonesborough, will choose a shortlist of successful manuscripts, and Affirm Press will select the winning three. Each of the manuscripts will be chosen based on the belief that it has the potential to become a publishable work of literary value.

The week of intensive residency includes independent writing time in your own private writing studio, accommodation and meals. Affirm Press editors live with the writers at Varuna and meet with each writer at the beginning and end of the week to discuss their projects, as well as providing manuscript feedback and meetings with writers throughout the week as necessary. Evenings offer the opportunity to meet with other writers and the Affirm Press editors over dinner to chat about publishing and writing. 

After the residency, Affirm Press will keep in touch, offering further feedback as you develop your manuscript to a completed or reworked draft. It is important for applicants to note that this program does not come with a guarantee of publication.  


Applications close 15 September 2021.

If successful, you will be required to take your residency in the week 28 March – 4 April, 2022.
Results will be posted on Varuna’s website in early November 2021 and applicants will also be informed by email.


You will need to send us between 7,000 and 10,000 words from the beginning of your manuscript, along with a synopsis of the entire work.


Affirm Press is currently looking for stories that explore and reflect the reality of life in modern Australia. They are looking for captivating, warm and funny stories with exciting concepts and exceptional characters, and are open to any narratives within the contemporary genre – from the YA rom-com to the heartbreaking family saga to the classic coming-of-age.

Affirm Press is passionate about finding and amplifying all voices, and they welcome submissions from emerging writers across Australia whose works fit the above criteria. They are especially keen to hear from writers from minority communities, including writers who identify as LGBTQIA+, d/Deaf or disabled, First Nations or POC.

Submissions of works that do not fit the description of contemporary middle grade and YA will not be accepted.


There is a fee of $65 per application, unless you are a financially current alumni member using your annual fee waiver. If you have a Healthcare card, the application fee is $35. Application fees are used to pay professional assessors to read your work.

If you are successful, you will be asked to make a contribution of $385 towards your residency and you will need to meet your own travel expenses to and from Varuna. If you have a Healthcare card, you may apply to the Varuna Travel Assistance Fund for a subsidy of up to $300.



For more information, visit the Varuna website at: https://www.varuna.com.au/fellowships/affirm2021

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