Grasstrees Writing Retreat

Generously supported by The Trawalla Foundation, the Stella Grasstrees Writing Retreat was awarded to the six shortlisted writers of the Stella Prize. In light of the current travel restrictions due to covid-19, the Grasstrees Writing Retreat program has been cancelled for 2020.

Grasstrees is a tranquil property nestled on the south-west coast of Victoria near the Great Otway National Park. The three-week Stella Grasstrees Writing Retreat provides writers with time, solitude and an inspiring environment in which to think deeply and write, uninterrupted by the usual commitments of daily life.

The Stella Grasstrees Writing Retreat is an investment in in the shortlisted writers, including the winner of The Stella Prize, and aims to provide writers with the space to begin or progress a new work of Australian literature. Accommodation and travel expenses are included.

Chair of the Trawalla Foundation, Carol Schwartz, says “We admire the work that the Stella Prize does in terms of the celebration and recognition of Australia’s talented women writers, and we are delighted to offer the shortlistees this opportunity to immerse themselves in a new project. Virginia Woolf’s words about women needing ‘a room of one’s own’ still ring true, and we trust that the residency will nurture these female writers’ creativity.”

Recipients of the Stella Grasstrees Writing Retreat have said:

“The gift of time and solitude at Grasstrees is incalculable. The property is exquisite and any writer’s dream. But the opportunity to have uninterrupted thinking time is the greatest gift of all.”

Heather Rose, 2017 Stella Prize winner

“Being in such a beautiful and peaceful location, and away from all of the everyday logistics and distractions of my regular life, enables a different kind of deep thinking that’s so rare and so precious. I wrote some really significant parts of the book I’m working on, and some other, more surprising pieces too, because there was so much space for ideas and odd connections, nothing to crowd them out. And I left feeling rejuvenated in my work, which is a remarkable thing in and of itself.”

– Fiona Wright, 2016 Stella Prize shortlistee

“Time and space to write was invaluable, as was the external validation of my writing; I felt entitled to be at Grasstrees, that my work matters and has been judged as important by others, and this gave me impetus to use the time well, without guilt or hesitation.”

Peggy Frew, 2016 Stella Prize shortlistee

“Grasstrees offers the invaluable benefit of dedicated solitary writing and thinking time, with the added bonus of being in an incredibly beautiful environment, which means it is basically impossible to succumb to writerly melancholy. Grasstrees is a very special place, and it is an absolute privilege to be able to spend time there.”

Emily Bitto, 2015 Stella Prize winner

“It is difficult to get time to ‘sink’ into a project – to engage at the deepest level. Grasstrees has a special kind of silence, and there’s such an equality to the place – living gently among the creatures. The value is immeasurable. My only hesitation is that I may never find such fertile creative solitude again!”

Carrie Tiffany, 2013 Stella Prize winner