Maryrose Cuskelly and her book Wedderburn.

I’m at Varuna, the National Writers House in the Blue Mountains, when I get a message that the manager of the Bendigo Writers Festival wants to speak with me. I have a sinking feeling I know what the outcome of this phone call will be, and sure enough, several hours later, I find myself agreeing to withdraw from my appearances at the festival in August.

While all it takes is a laptop, or a pen and a piece of paper to write, one also needs encouragement, space, time and, most crucially, the acknowledgement that engaging with and interpreting the world around you is a worthy, even necessary, project. Varuna, the big yellow house in the mountains, is that acknowledgement made bricks and mortar.