We are delighted to announce the eight Lamplight International Residency Programme awardees, co-presented by the Irish Writers Centre and Varuna, The National Writers’ House, Australia. The four writers living in Ireland  are Mia Döring, June O’Sullivan, Seán Mackel and Helen Blackhurst and the four writers living in Australia are Jacinta Halloran,  Brooke Dunnell, Bernadette Jiwa and Dr Amanda Curtin.

The Lamplight International Residency Programme is a two-week online residency opportunity for fiction writers to enjoy the combined warmth and support of Varuna and the Irish Writers Centre. The aim of this residency opportunity is for participating writers to build international connections, meet and receive feedback from other writers, as well as allocate time to focus and develop their craft. Each of our chosen writers will partake in one-to-one writer consultations with Mary Anne Butler and Conor Kostick to talk about their current work. They will also get the opportunity to join in online Q+A sessions with multi-award-winning authors Elaine Feeney and Charlotte Wood.


Four Ireland-based writers:

Mia Döring is a writer from Dublin. She is the author of the best-selling 2022 memoir Any Girl, a memoir of sexual exploitation and recovery. Her writing has been published in Ropes Literary Journal, Litro Magazine, The Irish Independent, The Sunday Independent, Huffington Post, Irish Country Magazine. The Journal.ie, Fairer Disputations and the Sunday Miscellany Anthology. Her novel baby, girl was one of the twelve books chosen for the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair. Mia is represented by Honor Spreckley of RCW Literary Agency.




June O’Sullivan lives on an island in Co. Kerry. Her writing has appeared in the The Ogham Stone Journal, The York Literary Review, Seaside Gothic, The Storms Journal, The Waxed Lemon and Sonder. She is a student of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. She is represented by Francesca Riccardi of the Kate Nash Literary Agency.





Seán Mackel won the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair in 2013 and in 2017. His work was twice shortlisted for the RTÉ Short Story Competition and broadcast on national radio. His collection The River was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award. The recipient of an Irish Arts Council Literature Bursary and Arts Grants from Donegal County Council, Seán was also a former academic based at CSU, NSW, Australia. Currently working on a novel set in 1850s Melbourne, he holds an MA in Creative Writing from Seamus Heaney Centre, QUB. As a disabled writer Seán identifies as an underrepresented artist.




Helen Blackhurst is the author of Swimming On Dry Land, published by Seren in 2015.  Her work has appeared in The Stinging Fly Literary Magazine and been broadcast on RTÉ 1 Radio Telefis Eireann as part of the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition.  Helen facilitates creative writing workshops in a variety of settings, including libraries, writing and education centres. Awards include Arts Council literature bursaries.




Four Australia-based writers:

Dr Amanda Curtin is the author of novels Elemental and The Sinkings, short story collection Inherited, and a work of narrative non-fiction, Kathleen O’Connor of Paris. She has also worked in the publishing industry as a book editor for many years. She was awarded the Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship for her current work in progress, a novel set in late nineteenth-century Ireland, Perth and Coolgardie.




Brooke Dunnell is a Boorloo/Perth-based writer whose short fiction has been published widely in journals and anthologies. Her collection of stories, Female(s and) Dogs, was a finalist for the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award in 2020 and shortlisted for the Woollahra Digital Literary Prize in 2021. The unpublished manuscript of her novel The Glass House won the Fogarty Literary Award in 2021 and was published in 2022 by Fremantle Press. Brooke was a recipient of a Westerly Mid-Career Fellowship in 2023 and her latest novel, Last Best Chance, was released in April 2024.



Jacinta Halloran is a writer, GP and family therapist. She has written four novels: DISSECTION (Scribe Publications, 2008), shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2007; PILGRIMAGE (Scribe Publications, 2012), shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award in 2014; THE SCIENCE OF APPEARANCES (Scribe Publications, 2016) and RESISTANCE (Text Publishing, 2023). Her short stories have been published in The Pen and the Stethoscope (Scribe, 2010) and New Australian Stories 2.0 (Scribe, 2011). She has also written for The Sunday Age and Inside Story and is a past Board Member of the Stella Prize.


Bernadette Jiwa is a leading storytelling advisor, story skills trainer and the author of ten bestselling non-fiction titles. Her debut novel, THE MAKING OF HER, was a New York Post Best Book of 2022. Born in Dublin, she now calls Melbourne home.





Consulting Writers

Conor Kostick is a writer of history and fiction, living in Dublin. Charlotte Wood is the author of seven novels and three books of non-fiction based in New South Wales. Mary Anne Butler is an award wining playwright living in Darwin. Elaine Feeney is a writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction living in Athenry, Co. Galway.


This residency re-invigorated my energy for my novel thanks to the wonderful workshops and advice. I learnt a lot and met a great group of writers and we’re all still in touch. The Lamplight residency was a warm, welcoming space and a fantastic opportunity to work with the Irish Writers Centre and Varuna House. I loved it and highly recommend it.
Michelle Walshe (Lamplight International Residency Programme 2023 Participant)

The online Lamplight residency was a wonderful opportunity to connect with writers both here in Ireland and Australia. I found the workshops and feedback sessions very inspirational and of tremendous value to my own practice and confidence as a writer. As a group we’ve stayed in touch and I hope that we will get a chance to meet up in person in Varuna at some stage in the future.
Sinéad Ingoldsby (Lamplight International Residency Programme 2023 Participant)

My time in Lamplight was invaluable, the online format provided a focus but did not disrupt my everyday life. I got constructive feedback on work in progress from the group and in the one to one sessions. I have stayed in contact with the other participants and we have continued providing each other with support and feedback.
Aoibheann McCann (Lamplight International Residency Programme 2023 Participant)

About the Irish Writers Centre

As the leading support and development organisation for writers since 1991, the Irish Writers Centre (IWC) carries out its work, online and in-person, on an all-island basis. Through actively encouraging writers from all communities to engage in creative writing, the centre provides many ways and means for them to develop their skill, advance their ambitions and join a vibrant and diverse community of people who share their passion and purpose. IWC supports writers in the following ways: through development programmes, residencies, mentoring opportunities, resources, creative writing courses and hosting regular literary events.

For more information and interview requests contact: Jo Morton, Irish Writers Centre Communications and Marketing Officer

t: (+353) 1 872 1302 | e: communications@irishwriterscentre.ie

About Varuna, The National Writers’ House (Australia)

Varuna is the foremost institution for literature development in Australia. The core mission of Varuna is to inspire the creation of Australian writing that enriches and shapes our culture. Through its program of fellowships, writers’ residencies, international residencies and community events, Varuna provides the time and space for writers to develop their craft and professional writing practice. Varuna has also developed an international reach by encouraging an international exchange of writing and ideas, reflected in the strong commitment to our overseas partners, such as Tyrone Guthrie and the Irish Writers Centre.

Each year, the Irish Writers Centre runs up to 20 free and exciting programmes to support writers’ development. Carrying our it’s work on an all-island basis, the Irish Writers Centre offers a range of support schemes, residency opportunities, mentoring, and other development programmes. View more opportunities for writers here.

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