Poetry Residential Masterclass VARUNA WRITERS’ HOUSE
As I roll my car into the Varuna Writers Centre, a sense of tranquillity settles.
Leaving a hot, busy, noisy city and winding my way up into the Blue Mountains is in itself for me, a meditative journey, even inhaling the mountain air is a reminder of what breathing is all about.
My excitement hardly contained to have a one week writers residency.
The poet Vanessa Kirkpatrick is our convenor for the week, with four other committed poets we look forward to an enriching, rewarding time of learning, writing and sharing. Vanessa shares three stimulating WORKSHOPS, that make us think both of the structure and content of our poetry. Having two sessions of ‘one on one’ with Vanessa crafting our words helps us step up to a new level. Vanessa is so generous with her time and sharing her expertise.
For those who are not familiar with Varuna, this Writers’ House was the home of Eleanor and Eric Dark, who bought the land in 1923 and built their home over the next years with the piece de resistance – The Studio set in the garden built for Eleanor as her writing studio.
studio my desk in studio for a week
Varuna is surrounded by a mature rambling garden of a few acres in Cascade St near the beginning of the Katoomba Falls.
A bush walk takes you to a lookout to enjoy the falls and a vistas of The Three Sisters and the majesty and solitude of the Jamison Valley. The Scenic Skyway glides silently between cliff tops.
Eleanor was a prolific writer and Eric was a medical doctor .
Eleanor is best known for her trilogy The Timeless Land which was on the School Curriculum for some years and which was made into an ABC series Her books:
The Timeless Land (1941)
Storm of Time (1948)
No Barrier (1953) these 3 make up the trilogy
Slow Dawning (1932)
Prelude to Christopher (1934)
Return to Coolami (1936)
Sun Across the Sky (1937)
The Little Company (1945)
Lantana Lane (1959)
After their death, Mick Dark ( their son) established the house as a Writers’ Centre in order to protect the land from possible sub division and to allow the literary spirit of the space to continue. Writing residencies began in 1989 making next year 2019 the Centre’s 30th anniversary. It is a space of solitude, silence called for rom 6am to 6 pm and then writers gather to share their day and writing over a beautifully prepared meal by the wonderful chef Sheila. ( Her Varuna recipe book is coming out in the next six months )
I believe all places are filled for next year. How vibrant and healthy is our writing world .
Our writing world, our poetry world might be grass roots but that’s where the real growth begins and spreads. Thank you Eleanor Dark Foundation for your contribution to this.