Programs and Events

Mascara Varuna Residency for Writers and Editors

In partnership with the Varuna, The Writer’s House, the Copyright Agency and the Adès Family Foundation, we are delighted to announce the inaugural Mascara Varuna Writers’ and Editors’ Residency. We will shortly be calling for submissions. This is an exciting opportunity for four emerging or established writers who identify as First Nations or CaLD with a manuscript they are wanting to develop. Applications can be for a project in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or in criticism. The winners receive an all expenses paid one week residency at Varuna, and a manuscript reading by a Senior Editor. Travel costs will be paid if you are interstate (flights and or road travel). Varuna is a catered residency in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. The Residency week will be held in the first week of February, 2023. This is a chance to immerse in your manuscript in the solitude and and natural beauty of Varuna, a place of renewal, fellowship and intense creative practice..
We thank the Gundungurra people for their care of and connection to land, culture and community.

Mascara Bundanon Writer’s Residency

In 2021 we are proudly running the inaugural Mascara Bundanon Writers’ Residency, which will be judged by Brian Castro and Declan Fry.  A partnership with Bundanon Trust, this is an exciting opportunity for an Australian emerging or established Aboriginal or CaLD writer with an innovative project that pushes their writing craft into new expressive and conceptual territory. Nestled by the Shoalhaven river’s dramatic escarpment on Yuin lands, Bundanon provides habitat for marsupials, birds and trees. It is a place of renewal, where new relationships to country, history and creative practices are formed.

We offer the winning writer space to develop their new project in either fiction, poetry, critical work, translation, graphic novels or scriptwriting.



Deborah Cass Prize

We are delighted to have partnered for the sixth year with the Deborah Cass Prize, a prestigious award for new migrant writers. We publish the winning writer’s short story as well as the shortlisted writers, and we promote their work in social media through our networks.

Our fiction editor, Michelle Hamadache and Mirandi Riwoe were longlist judges for the prize in 2019. Mascara also attends the prize ceremony in Melbourne each year. We are committed to diversifying and remunerating the longlist judges. The winner receives $3000 and a 3 month mentorship with an established writer. Their manuscript is read by Black Inc 

In 2022 the winner is Anneliz Marie Erese
In 2021 the winner is Bryant Apolonio
In 2020 the winner is Anith Mukherjee
In 2019 the winner is Janette Chen Janette Chen
In 2018 the winner was Karina Ko
In 2017 the winner was Rafeif Ismail

The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Deborah Cass became a prize-winning professor of International Law at the London School of Economics. After diagnosis of cancer, Deborah left her academic career and focused on creative writing. She had a number of short fiction pieces published, but was unable to realise her aim to complete a novel. With generous support from family and friends, this prize aims to help someone outside the mainstream find a voice for themselves.

The LSE Annual Human Shield Lecture is dedicated to the memory of Deborah Cass
2015 Speaker: Professor Judith Butler


Don Bank Museum Residency

In 2021, Mascara Literary Review has been awarded a studio residency at Don Bank Museum in North Sydney. Don Bank is a heritage-listed former residence and now house museum at 6 Napier Street, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1853 to 1858 for Edward Wollstonecraft. It is also known as St. Leonard’s Cottage.

We are currently running a residency program for writers who are also parents.
Three writers: Michelle Hamadache, Debbie Lim and David Adès are working one day each week on their manuscripts. They will also give a talk each at Stanton Library in North Sydney about their creative work. A program of readings is planned.

Event:  Dis-Harmony Readings (For the elimination of racial discrimination ) with the Don Bank Writers in Residence and Divya Venkataranam from Sweatshop and Somali poet Hani Aden, who was detained on Christmas Island, will be held on 25th March at 6.30pm. All Welcome to this free event: bookings please register 


Previous Programs

2019 World Literature and Global South Salon

Past projects and programs


Aboriginal, CALD & LGBTIQ Writers’ Health

These cohorts suffer from the impacts of structural discrimination within the publishing industry and in academia, leading to exclusion and marginalisation. This can affect personal and professional life but also the writing life with loss of confidence, inferiority and exhaustion from stigmatisation and from the impacts of increased labour on the physical body and mental well being. The most disturbing outcome is the loss of voice, from devaluation, censorship and mediation of our narratives, not to mention the appropriation of our unique stories by writers whose work attracts mainstream invested interest.

We consider that this problem is serious. In 2018 we lost Candy Royalle and Ramon Loyola. There are dominant narratives and dominant poetics. Supporting the health of our cohort highlights that coteries of privileges do exist, fostered by the exclusive prize culture and other coalitions of white heteronormative agency, government funding and industry.

As an organisation that offers publishing opportunities and advocacy, we want to provide a safe community for Aboriginal, CALD & LGBTIQ writers. Please contact us if you have appropriate skills and would like to partner or if you wish to donate.