Best Writers' Retreats Around the World
Do you dream of getting away from it all to write? Need some help to improve your writing style or keen to start a novel or memoir? Would you like to meet and interact with other writers in a beautiful location? Then a creative writing retreat might be the answer.
Most retreats are mentored by a professional writer and offer a combination of workshops and creative interaction with small groups of writers, and there’s also time set aside so you can relax and explore the location you’re in.
Away from the demands and stresses of everyday life, and set in beautiful surroundings, here are our recommendations for the 10 best inspiring writers’ retreats worldwide that allow you to meet new people, relax in peaceful surroundings and get help, advice and inspirtion to help you develop your skills...
1. Writing Retreats in Mexico
Get Out of the Cold and Write, is what VSW (Vancouver School of Writing) likes to call their Mexico Writing Retreats. You can have a holiday and improve and finish your writing. Frankly, it's easier to write outside on a sunny day, a few palm trees and a balmy breeze.
But, what if someone experienced is there to help you along the way? Not only an inspiring coach, but a small group of other supportive writers? That is why VSW retreats are special, the great support and learning that writers get. People not only get their writing done, but bond at VSW retreats and frequently return.
These Mexico retreats feature:
- Two-hour daily classes, with breakfast
- Camaraderie of group
- Evening share events and readings
- One-on-one consultations with Kathrin Lake, writing coach
- Open time to write and relax in tropical paradise
- Guided workbook with great tools for any writing
- Guided tours of lagoon and island
- On site accommodation: Private bedroom/bathrooms and garden and terraza common areas
- 2 blocks to beach
Annually VSW's Mexico writing retreats happen at the Retreat Centre, Casa Creatividad, at a town just north of Manzanillo, Mexico. Retreats start on Monday and go to Sunday. 10 person maximum. They keep group size small so quality and individual attention is high. Participants often come a day or two early so they are refreshed for morning class (accommodation fees are separate to allow for extra days).
Currently you can choose one of four possible weeks, but check their website for details.
- January 7 – 13, 2019
- January 21 – 27, 2019
- February 18 – 24, 2019
- March 18 – 24, 2019
Go to the site vancouverschoolofwriting.com and find the retreats tab for more details and your can put a $200 deposit down to reserve your spot ($100 less if you book before November 20th for January retreats!).
2. Arvon, UK
Arvon has been running annual residential writing courses and retreats in Yorkshire, Shropshire and Devon since 1968. These retreats, located in beautiful countryside locations, give writers the time, space and inspiration to write. Expert tuition from leading authors is also on offer. The programme includes a wide range of literary genres, and caters for new and published writers.
3. The Memoir Retreat, Greece
This writers’ retreat is held in Skala Eressos, on the lush, green island of Lesvos (sometimes called Lesbos or Mytilini). Skala Eressos is a beach town and the retreat studios are set back from the beach on a beautiful allotment of land. It’s just a short walk from the main square and the beach with tavernas, cafes bars and small grocery stores. The sea is crystal clear and warm all summer. All courses at The Memoir Retreat are suitable for beginners and writers who just need some help with plotting or character development.
4. Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, USA
Here’s a retreat a little further from home where you can pitch your laptop for a week or so and write. This is not a formal workshop, it’s just a wonderful place to let your fingers glide over the keyboard and finish your novel.
The rustic but utterly charming Whiteface Lodge, with its cast-iron fireplaces, pine beams and 6 million acres of mountain parkland, is in New York State. Your suite has a full kitchen, a writing desk and glorious mountain views. If you prefer, you can work in front of the fire in the downstairs lounge, and once you’ve hit your daily word count, why not take off for some hiking, skiing, fishing or even canoeing.
5. Moniack Mhor, UK
Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre in the Scottish Highlands, is just 14 miles from Inverness. The creative writing courses are tutored by some of the finest authors in the published world. Participants are accommodated in the original croft house at Moniack Mhor. It has 2 en-suite bedrooms and a guest bedroom, and is warmed by a wood-burning stove. The centre offers a variety of courses and retreats.
6. Wales National Writing Centre, Gwynedd, Wales
Ty Newydd is a beautiful house set in the gorgeous Llyn Peninsula overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales. The Wales National Writing Centre is hosting a busy schedule of writing courses that include literary novels, scriptwriting, short fiction, and crime writing.
7. The Writer’s Lab, Greece
Writers on the Skyros retreats at The Writer’ Lab are accommodated in traditional Greek townhouses and enjoy healthy breakfasts and some gentle yoga on the sunny terrace before writing lessons begin. Professional writers guide and mentor the participants until lunchtime; the afternoons being left free for swimming and sightseeing.
8. The Grange by the Sea, Isle of Wight, UK
Closer to home, The Grange Country House Hotel on the Isle of Wight offers writing courses throughout the year, all led by experienced tutors. Courses include Life Writing, Your Writer’s Voice, and Your Story, among others. The island and hotel has a laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy the fresh sea air and long walks along the beach.
9. Moroccan Caravan, Morocco
This 5-day writers’ travelling adventure takes you deep into the heart of the Moroccan desert and will inspire and revitalise your creativity. Finish that novel you’ve been working on or start a new project based on the sounds, smells and experiences of Morocco at Moroccan Caravan.
10. Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France
The core of the Mont Blanc Writing programme is an intensive, 2-week workshop, during which time writers work together with a single faculty member. Classes are no bigger than 12 and the instructor, a professional writer, helps you focus on your writing. The courses follow a traditional workshop format – each student’s work is critiqued twice by the group.
Classes meet in the morning and typically last for about three hours. Writers need to arrange their own accommodation, but booking an apartment or a room is remarkably easy. When it comes to food, Mont Blanc hosts several events with plenty to eat, but in general writers have to feed themselves. Most chalets and apartments in Chamonix have their own kitchens.