About Me

Hi. My name is Sally Hall and I write YA. In 2019 I was shortlisted for the Varuna Publisher Introduction Program (I was also shortlisted in 2016). In 2014 I won a PIP Fellowship for a young adult manuscript. In 2013 I was awarded the CBCA NSW Charlotte Waring Barton Award which included a mentorship with Penguin Books Australia. I've had magazine and short stories published in various anthologies and placed in many competitions. I also write in a corporate capacity for my 'day job'. My website is www.sallyhall.com.au.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The magic of Varuna and Writing Retreats

I've said it before and I'll say it again... there is something magical about Varuna http://www.varuna.com.au/.

I originally came to Varuna after winning a Publisher Introduction Program Fellowship and I have come every year since.

So, what's so great about it?

  • You are away from home and all the associated responsibilities (work, kids, washing, cooking, cleaning, pick-ups and drop-offs etc).
  • You are given your own room and writing desk.
  • You meet like-minded people at dinner each night and have wonderful discussions about your creative endeavours.
  • The house was built by the Australian writer Eleanor Dark and husband Dr Eric Dark in the late 1930s and is now recognised as a site of cultural significance. There are also beautiful gardens and surrounds.
  • When you need a break you can walk into the nearby town of Katoomba.
  • You can write morning, noon or night without distraction or disruption. I swear a week here is equivalent to months at home.
  • The dinner every night is amazing thanks to Sheila.
  • You leave feeling energised and ready to take on the writing world.
  • Most importantly when you are here you feel like a 'real' writer even if you are as yet unpublished.
Other Writing Retreats on Offer

There are many other writing retreats on offer around Australia.

Romance Writers' of Australia Retreat in Bawley Point, NSW

Fiona McIntosh's masterclasses in South Australia

Sunshine Writers' Retreat in Queensland

Society of Women Writers' Retreat in Wilton NSW

Tasmanian Writers' Retreat with author Maggie MacKellar

Two day workshops (with nearby accommodation) at Gondor Writers' Centre, Queensland

Winter Writers' Retreat (South Coast of NSW)

Here's a list of 2017 writing retreats all over the world. Check out the comments section for even more suggestions.

Do it Yourself

If an organised group writing retreat doesn't appeal to you why not create your own? Lots of accommodation on Airbnb and Facebook advertise themselves as Writing Retreats. Or you could just hire a cabin the bush somewhere for some peace and quiet.

However, I have met some wonderful writers through my years of coming to Varuna and I think that definitely adds to the experience. I've kept in touch with a few and we workshop ideas or complain about rejections and celebrate wins together - that kind of connection in the writing industry is priceless.

Good luck. Happy writing.


  1. I'm positively green with wishing I was there, too. Time to write and someone to cook dinner? Absolute bliss. I think you should visit all those writing retreat places and report back.

  2. Great idea Sandy! Wouldn't that be a wonderful assignment?


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