HNSA Colleen McCullough Residency

We are delighted to announce the creation of a new residency for writers of historical fiction, named in honour of one of Australasia’s best-selling and beloved authors, Colleen McCullough.

The residency will take place on Norfolk Island, and includes air fare, car hire, tours of the island and accommodation on the McCullough estate. It is supported by local businesses Burnt Pine Travel, Baunti Escapes, and the McCullough estate.

Colleen McCullough, author of The Thorn Birds, Morgan’s Run, and The Masters of Rome series, was a qualified neurophysiologist and worked for many years in hospitals in Australia and the UK, and taught at Yale in the US. Her first book, Tim, was published in 1974 and became an instant hit – the movie adaptation launched the career of a young actor named Mel Gibson. She is best known internationally for The Thorn Birds, but fans of historical fiction remember her many books set in the past, from ancient Greece and Rome to Australia’s convict colony to the twentieth century wars. She was declared a Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia in 1997 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006. She died on her beloved Norfolk Island in 2015.

This exclusive residency on Colleen’s estate in Norfolk Island on 3-9 February 2020 is open only to writers of historical fiction, as part of the HNSA conference in October 2019. Writers attending the conference can enter to win:

  • A return airfare from Sydney to Norfolk Island
  • Individual car hire for 7 days
  • 7 days exclusive use of one self-contained unit on the Colleen McCullough property from 3-9 February 2020
  • Transfers on Norfolk Island from airport to tour office/accommodation
  • A tour of Colleen McCullough’s library
  • Two tours offered by Baunti Escapes on Norfolk Island.

This unique residency will take place from 3 to 9 February 2020, and is designed to support writers of historical fiction by allowing them peaceful time to write in the inspiring environment of Norfolk Island.

Two writers in residence will be selected – one residency will be awarded to an aspiring writer.

How to enter

Opening date: 1 August 2019
Closing date for receipt of entries: Midnight 13 October 2019 AEST

You must write a brief submission to enter for the residency. Download the rules (below) to see all the requirements

Go to the entry form here.


  • The contest is open to all delegates of the Sydney Historical Novel Society Australasia Conference 2019
  • Only people who have purchased a weekend conference or day ticket to HNSA 2019 are eligible to enter the competition.
  • The competition judges, readers, sponsors, HNSA patrons, HNSA committee members, and principal conference organisers are not eligible.

Important rules to note

• The HNSA Colleen McCullough Residency will be awarded to two writers, one of which shall be an aspiring writer who has not self-published an historical novel independently or had an historical novel published by a publishing company.
• Winners of the Residency will be required to produce a 1000 word essay or two (2) 500
word posts for the HNSA website.

Download the guidelines to find out how to enter and understand all the terms & conditions.

Submit your application here.

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