Olvar Wood is owned and operated by Dr Inga Simpson, with the assistance of a handful of other published writers – all with post-graduate qualifications and teaching experience.
Inga’s goals in running Olvar Wood are:
- To establish and maintain an ethical, environmentally sustainable writing business that is efficient, flexible and authentic.
- To nurture and support Australian, particularly Queensland, writers and writing.
- To provide high quality and personal feedback that is honest and constructive.
Perilous Adventures was founded in 2007 by Kris Olsson and Nike Bourke (Sulway) to provide personalised and meaningful support to writers through their unique mentorship and manuscript appraisal services. In early 2008, Inga Simpson became part of the Perilous Adventures team.
Olvar Wood was established in 2008 by Nike and Inga to supplement the services offered by Perilous Adventures by offering residential writing retreats.
In 2009, Perilous Adventures and Olvar Wood were merged into a single entity, Olvar Wood Writers Retreat.
In late 2010 (finding ourselves completely exhausted) we decided it was no onger viable to offer residential retreats on site, and focused on our mentorship programs. Olvar Wood Writers Retreat continued, but as a somewhat more private and notional space.
In late 2012, Olvar Wood and Perilous Adventures reverted to separate, and somewhat redefined, entities. Inga took over Olvar Wood, and Nike returned to Perilous Adventures.
Why Olvar Wood?
the Kelvar can flee or defend themselves, whereas the Olvar that grow cannot. And among these I hold trees dear.
The name Olvar Wood is taken from Tolkien’s The Simarillion, in which the olvar are growing things with roots in the ground and the kelvar are animals.
It was Yavanna, the giver of fruits, the second greatest of the Valar (god-like beings), who planted the first seeds and watched over living things. In physical form, she is described as tall and garbed in green or as a tree reaching for the heavens. Yavanna tended the gardens in Valinor, the lands of the Valar, and created the Two Trees, one silver and one gold. The light of the Two Trees waxed and waned in a twelve hour cycle.
Among the Valor, however, there was a bad egg, Melkor, who coveted the magical light of the Two Trees and poisoned them. Their last flower and fruit became the moon and the sun. Melkor would go on to become Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, summoning the balrogs and corrupting the hearts of Men.
When Yavanna’s husband, Aulë the smith, first created the Dwarves, Yavanna (worried about their sharp axes, and the Elves and Men that were yet to come) went to Manwë, the Lord of the Valar:
“Shall nothing that I have devised be free from the dominion of others?”
“If thou hadst thy will what woudst though reserve?” said Manwe. “Of all thy realm what dost thou hold dearest?”
“All have their worth,” said Yavanna, “and each contributes to the worth of the others. But the kelvar can flee or defend themselves, wheras the olvar that grow cannot. And among these I hold trees dear. Long in the growing, swift shall they be in the felling, and unless they pay toll with fruit upon bough, little mourned in their passing” [The Simarillion; 34-35].
And so the Ents were created to walk the forests and protect the Olvar.
We chose this name for our business because we share Yavanna’s concern for the living things that cannot protect themselves – both Olvar and Kelvar. One of our goals in establishing Olvar Wood was to preserve the natural bushland and its inhabitants for future generations, while also providing a peaceful haven for those humans who write.
While these days we are mostly the only writers harboured in the wood itself, the idea of Olvar Wood has evolved to include the creative space we all need to develop and maintain in order to write to the best of our abilities.