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September 13, 2023

Madeleine Rebbechi wins Ray Koppe Residency

The Australian Society of Authors and Varuna, The National Writers’ House are thrilled to announce Madeleine Rebbechi as the winner of the 2024 ASA/Varuna Ray Koppe Young Writers Residency for her short story collection, Earth Signs.

Earth Signs is a collection of short fiction that builds elements of folk horror and suspense into a series of stories about everyday (and some not-so-everyday) people. The characters in these stories are from all walks of life, but many are single women who have found themselves on an isolated or unfamiliar path, often eschewing traditional lifestyles of marriage and children. In ‘Some More Violent Animal’, Grace’s pigs die in mysterious circumstances as she navigates the vitriol of some local farmers, none of them aware that something worse is coming. In ‘An Act of Faith’, a hairdresser weaves a shirt from the stolen offcuts of her ex-lover’s hair. In ‘Dip’, factory worker Gerry fantasises about encasing himself in wax, as his beloved wife Essie dies of chemical poisoning. And in ‘Further Under’, geologist Anna tries to find a way to properly bury her father, away from the prying eyes of a local hardware store owner.

Of her win, Madeleine said, “It’s an absolute honour and a thrill to receive this fellowship. As an emerging writer, this recognition feels so encouraging and validating—it’s a little voice saying, keep going! Varuna’s creative and restorative powers are legendary, and I can’t wait to dedicate some time to writing and developing my stories there next year. I am so grateful to Varuna, the ASA and the family of Ray Koppe for this opportunity.”


Olivia Lanchester, ASA CEO, says, “Our warm congratulations to Madeleine Rebbechi! We’re so excited to be able to welcome Madeleine as a member of the Australian Society of Authors and wish her all the very best with the development of her collection. We’re proud to honour Ray Koppe’s legacy with this fellowship and offer our sincere thanks to the Koppe family, whose generosity and support make it possible.”

Each year, the Australian Society of Authors and Varuna award a two-week residential fellowship to a writer under the age of 35 who is as yet unpublished. The fellowship is comprised of a two-week residency at Varuna (including accomodation and all food), a one-hour consultation with a Varuna consultant, a year’s membership to the Australian Society of Authors, and travel subsidy if the recipient lives outside of NSW.

The residency was established by the Koppe family as a tribute to their mother, Ray Koppe. Ray, who for many years managed the business affairs of the ASA, was always passionately interested in, and supportive of, young writers. 

Past winners include Aaliyah Sugitha (2022), Sarah Stivens (2021), Tim McGuire (2020), Hayley Scrivenor (2019), Holden Sheppard (2017), Nick Couldwell (2016), Chloe Higgins (2015), Danielle Binks (2014), Hannah Bent (2013), Dimitra Harvey (2012) and Renae Gibson (2011). 

This flagship fellowship is part of the Varuna Residential Fellowships program.