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This February 25-28, I'm hosting a creative writing retreat in Saint John, New Brunswick at the gorgeous old Homeport Bed and Breakfast.
This amazing venue has everything needed for a perfect writing retreat. Besides plenty of space for group workshops and communal gatherings, the building also has a wonderful history, with a gothic vibe and lots of comfortable nooks and crannies - including a widow's walk and an attic space - to get lost in and write all by yourself or to meet as a group for readings and workshops.
The writing weekend will feature structured workshop time Friday and Saturday morning, while the afternoons are relatively open. Both Friday and Saturday afternoon, I'll be meeting one-on-one with individual writers to discuss your writing, including feedback on the ten pages (fiction, double-spaced) or five poems (poetry) you've submitted in advance, as well as anything you'd like to discuss regarding writing and publishing.
Meanwhile, as those meetings take place, the rest of you are free to write or to hang out with other writers. I prefer a combination of structure and freedom that allow you to create fresh material, get feedback on an ongoing project, and give you time to consider, and discuss, your creative process.
In all, it will be a relaxed few days - Thursday night to Sunday morning - of being immersed in your writing. Whenever I've conducted workshops, the participants usually tell me they've come away with a renewed energy and commitment to their writing, a shift in thinking towards an ongoing or brand new project, and a revitalized passion for writing in general. Quite often, people ask if I'd consider holding a longer workshop and/or retreat. Well, this is it, and it should be fun as well as productive.
Writer-in-residence fee: $300
I am an award-winning, internationally and nationally acclaimed author with decades of experience in writing and publishing. I regularly sit on arts grants and awards juries, and, with a Ph.D. in American Literature, I've been teaching at Memorial University for nearly eighteen years. Recently, I've also taught at University of New Brunswick in Saint John. As well, I've conducted creative writing workshops across Atlantic Canada, both privately and for Fog Lit, Saint John area high schools, and The Writers Federation of New Brunswick. I've also served as faculty at the prestigious Piper's Frith writers' retreat. My fee covers the Thursday-Sunday retreat, with workshops, meetings and casual discussions, and administrative and prep costs. As a bonus, this fee also includes a full commentary on a selection of your submitted writing.
(Please note: $100 of the fee is non-refundable. If you have to cancel or the workshop gets rescheduled, I will still offer you in-depth commentary on your submitted piece of writing.)
Accommodations (Approx. $270):
The three-night stay (booked through the Homeport B and B website) is $89 per night or $99 double occupancy. If you want to share a room with someone, it's a great way to save money. The B and B has 9 rooms, all simply gorgeous, and they're all going for the same rate(s) for that weekend. Most rooms have either a second bed, a fold-out couch, or cot of some kind so you would still have your own bed, regardless. Normally, the price for these rooms is much higher, so the accommodation alone is a treat. In theory, if all rooms gets sold out, as I think they will, we would have the entire B & B to ourselves.
Of course, if you would rather not stay with the main group at the B & B, that's up to you. I would strongly advocate for staying with the group, as full immersion makes for a far better retreat experience, the main idea being to get precious time away from the daily routine and worldly concerns. But, if you live in Saint John, and cost is a factor for you, you are welcome to sign up and commute to the retreat site each day. For others, I'd guess you won't find better accommodations for a similar price anywhere else in Saint John - especially not one with our writing retreat happening - that weekend.
The free breakfast will be served each day in the lovely dining room with the long wooden table, and a casual supper (pizza, salad and that sort of thing) will be provided on the Thursday evening after arrival. You need only consider your eating needs for Friday and Saturday lunch and/or supper, or snacks. (The owner of the B & B has offered to serve up a hot meal on either Friday or Saturday evening, but, as this would add slightly to the overall cost per person, we will wait to see if anyone wants to do that.)
So, the total is $570 or so, but somewhat less if you're buddying up on a room with someone (i.e. you could split the cost of a $99 room). For that amount, you get workshops, meetings, conversations, privacy, creative fellowship and the chance to focus on writing for an entire weekend. Keep in mind, also, that I'll be asking you to submit a piece of writing in advance by February 10. I will provide full written commentary on each piece, which I will give to you during the one-on-one sessions, which we will arrange on the Thursday night when we gather for the first time. Every participant will receive both the written commentary and the one-one discussion about the commentary and their writing in general. As well, there will be group discussion about each other's work, with the aim towards improvement and encouragement.
Schedule of events:
Thursday (late afternoon):
Arrival and check-in, a casual supper (provided), meeting fellow writers, and discussion of the weekend itinerary, into which you will get some say. That night, you can continue to socialize or simply cozy up and do some writing/reading. The B and B also has a piano, and bar service might be available if we ask nicely. These introductory sessions facilitate the sense of camraderie and often help with the actual writing and discussion that will follow all weekend long.
Morning: Workshop (title TBA soon), 9 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Afternoon: Writing and one-on-one meetings with writer-in-residence
Evening: Supper (we have options, so details will be announced when we see the numbers) and readings from participants (by sign-up).
Morning: Workshop (title TBA soon), 9 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Afternoon: Writing and one-on-one meetings with writer-in-residence. Each participant will sign up for a discussion with me, in which we'll talk about my in-depth commentary on your writing (you'll receive a copy of the commentary) and other issues regarding writing and publishing you might want to discuss.
Evening: Supper (we have options, so details will be announced when we see the numbers) and readings from participants (by sign-up). There will also be a reading and Q and A with the writer-in-res.
Sunday (morning only):
Open mic and a wrap-up discussion of writing and publishing. Departure at noon.
If you'd like more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Again, please submit by email a piece of your original (and best) writing to me by February 10. For prose writers, send 10 double-spaced pages in any genre. For poetry, send 5 of your best poems.
I would prefer you submit your piece of writing much earlier so that I have time to make thorough commentary. That said, I will read them in the order in which I receive them. At the one-on-one meeting during the retreat, I will give you a written copy of the commentary, and we'll discuss them.
Looking forward to see you there. There's been heavy interest, so I would recommend early sign-up.
A cozy retreat in the middle of winter - really, for a writer, it doesn't get much better.