Run by writers, for writers
Olvar Wood is owned and operated by Dr Inga Simpson (author of Where the Trees Were, Mr Wigg and Nest), with the support of a handful of other published writers with post-graduate qualifications and teaching experience.
Our goals in running Olvar Wood are:
To maintain an ethical, environmentally sustainable writing business that is efficient, flexible, authentic and human.
To nurture and support Australian writers and writing.
To provide high quality and personal feedback that is honest and constructive.
To foster closer relationships with the natural world – in life and on the page.
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.
Yavanna, the giver of fruits, the second greatest of the Valar, 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.
Even among the Valar, 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 went on to become Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, summoning the Balrogs and corrupting the hearts of Men, which demonstrates that nothing good comes from killing trees.)
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.
I share Yavanna’s concern for the living things that cannot protect themselves – both Olvar and Kelvar. One of my goals in establishing Olvar Wood was to preserve the natural bushland and its inhabitants for future generations, while providing a peaceful haven for those humans who write. For several years, Nike Sulway and I operated a writers retreat here, which was a rewarding (but also thoroughly exhausting) experience.
These days, retreats are run elsewhere, and I am the only writer harboured by the trees, so the idea of Olvar Wood has evolved to a more conceptual one – the creative space we all need in order to write to the best of our abilities. Through working with other writers, I hope to help them find and nurture that space.