Do you dream of getting away to write, but need some guidance on the next steps for your novel?
Do you want to meet and work with other writers, but in a more intimate setting than a writing conference?
A writing retreat might be just the ticket.
Why you might want to attend a writers retreat
Whereas writer’s residencies are mostly about working in solitude, and conferences focus on networking and lectures, writing retreats fall somewhere in between.
Most are in beautiful locations (where, presumably, your creative juices will flow more easily), and offer a combination of workshops, tours and interaction with a small group of writers.
They’re a great way to combine a vacation with inspiration, networking — and, of course, lots of writing.
They can be pricey, but some offer scholarships (so always ask!), or consider creating your own writing retreat with friends.
And remember: A writers retreat is an investment in your career, as well as an opportunity to get away. If they’re out of your price range, then perhaps a writing residency would be a better fit. Or, check out this list of grants for writers.
45 incredible writers retreats to attend in 2020
The 45 writing retreats below take place in 2020 — and are organized by location, in order from least to most expensive. (Hint: If there’s a particular country or month that works best for you, command-F to search the page for it.)
Unless otherwise noted, the prices include workshops, shared accommodation, activities and most meals. None include airfare to and from the destination.
If your chosen retreat has already happened, don’t despair; click through to check out next year’s dates, as many of them are annual affairs.
Lastly, the author of this post and the team at The Write Life haven’t attended the retreats listed, so it’s imperative you do your own research before signing up. Read as many testimonials and reviews as you can, or ask the host to connect you with past participants.
USA & Canada
If you’re a fiction writer looking for a quick and affordable getaway, this retreat might be for you.
Set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains from April 2-5, 2020, it offers workshops, critiques and readings. The organizers promise you’ll “find inspiration in the natural beauty that will surround you.”
The retreat has a handful of Facebook reviews, with Diana Williams writing, “Everything – the people, the training – I am so impressed!” and Corinne O’Flynn adding, “The best group of writers I have had the pleasure to work with.”
Cost: $299–$399 per person. Or $65 per day if arranging your own lodging.
For all you east coasters, this four-day, three-night retreat in Annapolis, Maryland, is a budget-friendly option.
From April 2-5, 2020, authors Lia Mack and Jeannette DiLouie will lead “group write-ins” and workshops on everything from platform to elevator pitches. You’ll also get a one-on-one session with DiLouie, who’s a professional editor. If you’re tight on cash and local to the area, you can even sign up to attend just for one day.
Though verified reviews are limited, Cathryn Leigh, a two-time participant wrote this on the retreat’s Facebook page: “The Genuine Writers Retreat is an [sic] lovely cozy writing retreat with plenty of time to write and chat with other writers. The one-on-one sessions with Lia and/or Jeanette are amazing. If it wasn’t for them I might never have gotten out of my writers block and finally publish [sic] my first novel!”
Cost: $425–$1,095 per person, based on occupancy and booking date (does not include lunch).
Are you in the second half of your life? Are you a newbie writer who wants to tell your story? Then this women-only retreat in Dallas, Texas, from September 14-15, 2020, was designed for you.
Over the weekend, psychotherapist and writing coach Jennifer Westrom will help you get started (or unstuck) when it comes to your memoir.
After attending Westrom’s 2019 retreat in Santa Fe, Judy Cooke Armstrong wrote on Facebook: “I found so much more than I expected. I found my voice, I found a circle of like-minded women, and I found a path forward into the next stage of my life.”
Cost: $595 per person (does not include dinner).
Picture a charming mansion by the ocean in Newfoundland, and something like Ochre House would probably come to mind. While its 2020 dates are yet to be announced, last year’s five-day retreat was held in June.
Under the guidance of “extraordinary” instructors, you’ll discuss writing techniques and tools, as well as “the place of writing in one’s life.”
“This is an amazing treasure, a gem, the best,” wrote Bernardine Stapleton in a 2017 Facebook review for Ochre House. “The Writing With Care retreat really WAS all about care, thought, being gentle, and guiding the participants.”
Cost: TBD (2019 rate was ~$715–$956 US per person).
At this Colorado retreat from April 29 to May 3, 2020, you’ll “immerse yourself in the wilderness and your writing.”
Using her background in publishing, editing and astrology, host Cassandra Leoncini will lead you through workshops, one-on-one sessions and experiential ceremonies, all the while gaining inspiration from Lilith, the “ancient Tree of Life spirit who seeks embodiment and dramatization in our lives.”
There aren’t a lot of public reviews for this retreat — though one written by Madonna Kettler on Facebook said, “Great people, great food, and plenty of time to create and BE!”
Cost: $800 per person for a private room.
Cruise your way to writing success with Melinda Copp, a ghostwriter, developmental editor and writing coach. From October 12–17, 2020, you’ll sail from Charleston to the Bahamas and back again.
Along with a small group of writers, you’ll attend workshops on creative writing, getting published and productivity. On your days in port, you’ll have the chance to explore gorgeous beaches before reuniting with the group for dinner. Best of all: When you’re on the boat, you’ll be free from distractions, ready to do what you came to do — write!
“One of the most exciting parts about working with Melinda was gaining momentum,” Amy Menna said in a testimonial on Copp’s site. “Melinda was a resource that helped me get my thoughts from my head to the paper… Without Melinda’s program, I would never have had the motivation to move forward.”
Cost: $827–$1,056 per person (when booked before December 13, 2019). After that, rates rise $200 per person.
Disclosure: The Writer’s Cruise is a partner of The Write Life. We hold our advertisers to high standards and vetted this retreat just like the others on this list.
OK, so this retreat isn’t happening in 2020, but if you’re reading this late in the year, take note it will be running (get it?) again in April 2021 in the mountains of northeastern Georgia.
After a two-mile run each morning, you’ll have a full schedule of workshops, critique groups, writing time and social events. The culminating event is a scenic 5K and 10K race on Saturday morning!
Cost: $1,400–$2,400 per person.
Let autumn in New England be your muse on this retreat with Page Lambert, an instructor of creative writing at the University of Denver’s graduate school.
From October 4-8, 2020, you’ll stay at a historic inn, participating in group writing sessions and individual manuscript consultations — and drenching your creativity in the beautiful fall colors. Alternatively, check out Lambert’s 13-day women’s retreat in Peru in late April ($4,200).
Lambert has a lengthy page of testimonials on her website. In one, Paula Hagar said Lambert was “the most awesome writing teacher I’ve ever studied with.” In another, Marsha Rosenzweig Pincus called the Peru trip “one of the most inspirational, spiritual and transcendent experiences of my life.”
Cost: $1,695 per person.
Want something a little different?
Schedule your own private retreat with Tammy L. Coia, a memoir-writing coach who lives in Bellingham, Washington. You’ll stay at her house, in a private bedroom with water views. Each day, you’ll have one-on-one coaching alongside home-cooked meals. She offers this at her home in Palm Springs, as well.
Or, if you’d rather work in a group setting, Coia holds retreats in Mexico in February ($1,950–$2,250), Bali in March ($4,295–$4,995), Greece in May ($3,900–$4,400), and Italy ($2,800–$4,500) and Vermont in October ($1,500–$2,500).
“Tammy gently leads you through what are often difficult memories to put on paper, but it can prove to be a very healing experience,” Joni Padduck wrote on Facebook. “I highly recommend Tammy! I guarantee it will be a wonderful experience.”
Cost: $1,800 per person for three days.
For three decades, this retreat — in one form or another — has been providing an immersive learning experience for people writing novels.
It will be held on a 15-acre retreat center outside of Boise, Idaho, from May 22-31, 2020. You’ll participate in workshops, intensive writing and one-on-one meetings with industry professionals.
Though the retreat doesn’t have any testimonials or social media reviews, we’re including it because of its longevity. One anonymous testimonial on its site said, “My friend says any workshop/retreat/conference that offers one nugget of insight is worth its weight in gold. If so, the Writers Retreat Workshop made me a wealthy woman.” We’ll just have to take her word for it!
Cost: TBD (2019 rate was $1,895 per person for a single room).
This retreat in the mountains of New Hampshire focuses on two things: self-nurturing and nonfiction book writing. If you keep putting off your book because of, well, life then host Dorothy Holtermann might say this retreat is for you.
From July 6-10, 2020, you’ll learn her “Birth a Book system” through group classes and private coaching, all while feeding your body with farm-to-table organic food and daily yoga classes.
On the retreat’s website, a testimonial from Linda Frisone Gamber said: “This retreat was a remarkable and transformative experience. If you have ever dreamed of writing a book, Dorothy guides you through from thought to actionable authorship.”
Cost: $2,495 per person for a private room, or $1,495 per person for tuition only.
12. Retreat & Create
A new offering from The Write Life founder Alexis Grant, this retreat launches in May 2020. It’s held in the beautiful, historic mountain town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, about an hour from Washington, D.C.
This retreat is for women only, and it’s a small group, between 7-11 attendees. It’s not just for writers; it’s open to all career-focused women who need space and quiet to focus on their work.
In addition to plenty of work time, the retreat includes an easy-to-moderate hike each morning and a group dinner each night at a local restaurant. Grant emphasizes on the website that all activities are optional, so you can choose to be energized by group conversations or dive deep into solo work time.
Cost: TBD, though Grant expects it to be around $2,500 per person for five days and four nights, including all meals and lodging.
13. Wide Open Writing: The Coast of Maine
Interested in spending a week writing from an Adirondack chair on the shores of the Atlantic? This retreat in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, will take place from June 20-26, 2020.
It includes writing workshops, an individual coaching session, a Thai massage, daily yoga — and membership in a “writing community that is devoted to co-creating magic.” Hosts Dulcie Witman and Nancy Coleman offer a January retreat in Costa Rica and September retreat in Italy, as well.
On Wide Open Writing’s website, Robin Gaines, author of “Invincible Summers,” wrote: “I came to the retreat expecting a similar experience I’ve had at other writing retreats, the classic workshop style of sharing work and critiquing, but this retreat allowed participants to open up their imaginations to new work, new ideas, all with the support of other writers urging you on. It was dream-like. It was special. I’ll be back.”
Cost: $2,500 per person (does not include all dinners).
Not only is Jess Lourey a tenured writing professor; she’s also the author of 19 books. When you join this women-only retreat from May 18–23, 2020, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, you’ll get her tutelage via group workshops and a private coaching session.
Mornings will feature meditation, yoga and writing, and afternoons will be yours to read or relax (or keep writing). This retreat is open to female writers of all stripes and stages, including bloggers, novelists, nonfiction authors and memoirists.
“I had the opportunity to take a workshop from Jess before I was published,” Lissa Marie Redmond, author of “A Cold Day in Hell,” said in a testimonial on Lourey’s site. “Her honesty, encouragement, and knowledge of the craft helped me make the leap from aspiring writer to published author. I still take the lessons I learned from Jess and apply them to my daily writing routine.”
Cost: $2,880 per person for a private room, or $2,440 per person if you arrange your own lodging.
Want to get away, but not too far away? Try this women-only retreat in Taos, New Mexico, hosted by author Jennifer Louden from April 26 to May 2, July 26 to August 1 or October 25-31, 2020.
Your fee includes everything: “All lodging and all meals, daily writing seminars, daily yoga classes, on-the-spot writing coaching, plentiful snacks, and love love love.”
In a testimonial on Louden’s site, Sarah K. Peck said the retreat “was a gift: a nourishment to my creative self, to the words and the mystery on the page that was beckoning me, and to the story that I know needed to be told. One of the best parts of the experience was finally carving out enough generous space to do the writing I know I need to do in this world.”
Cost: $2,990 per person.
Mexico & Latin America
Bring your partner and niños along on poet/children’s writer/playwright Julie Hartley’s creative writing retreat from February 8-15, 2020.
You’ll stay at a gorgeous lodge in the heart of the rainforest, with easy access to both hammocks and hikes. Each morning, you’ll participate in creative writing workshops, and each afternoon, you’ll have time to write or explore. In the evenings, you’ll reconvene with your group for readings and other writerly activities.
In a 2018 Facebook review, Sara Kislev wrote: “Everything was perfect, from the weather, the lodge, food, to the stunning natural setting and animals and most importantly the people, our instructor Julie and the writing we produced. I loved that there was such a variety of genres taught and read. Can’t wait to return next year.”
Cost: $1,049–$1,874 CAD (~$802–$1,433 US) per person (does not include lunch or dinner); $450 CAD (~$344 US) per child if sharing a room with two adults.
Run by the Vancouver and Victoria Schools of Writing and hosted by writing coach and author Kathrin Lake, this retreat isn’t a bad deal — especially for Americans.
It offers group classes and one-on-one coaching in writing and publishing, plus optional dancing and tours. Dates include January 6-12, January 20-26, February 17-23 — and, if those fill, March 16-22. Lake hosts one retreat in Canada from August 23-29, too.
In a blog comment, Jill called this the “best retreat ever,” saying: “Lake creates a very safe, supportive & fun writing environment that gets the creative and imaginative juices flowing… She sees the strength(s) in each writer and shows how each of us can get even better!”
Cost: $1,360 CAD per person (~$1,039 USD) (does not include lunch or most dinners).
I love the sound and attitude of Aimee Hansen’s women-only writing retreats in Guatemala — and from her glimmering reviews, they live up to their promise.
You’ll stay on Lake Atitlan and enjoy daily yoga, meditation and writing sessions. Guest facilitators will also lead you in Mayan fire, cacao and dance ceremonies. She has two dates on the calendar for 2020: January 3-11 and August 1-10, 2020 (plus a September retreat in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains for $1,295).
“Aimee Hansen’s retreat was wonderful from start to finish,” Jill McGrath wrote in a Facebook review. “I was looking for a women’s retreat to recharge my poetry writing and to connect to my spirituality via yoga, meditation, and nature. The retreat far exceeded my expectations.”
Cost: $1,575–$1,895 per person (private rooms are an extra $300–$400).
Make progress on your novel or memoir while staying on the lush beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica.
From November 8-14, 2020, authors Doug Kurtz and Dan Manzanares will teach you their “Story Map” curriculum, which covers characters; plot; and theme, setting and voice. The retreat includes more than 30 hours of instruction, plus group and individual coaching sessions, happy hours and yoga.
On Facebook, Jean Suffin Unger wrote, “One of the most productive and best weeks of my ‘writing’ life. Doug and Dan are awesome instructors and provided a really workable model… The whole experience was outstanding. I made new friends, and I came home motivated to write!”
Cost: $1,595–$2,995 per person.
This respected nonprofit program will hold its 17th annual retreat from January 9-19, 2020 (and, for a sneak peek, its 18th from January 8-18, 2021), in the Mexican village of Tepoztlán. The program, which is highly selective, requires a writing sample for admission.
As an “incubator of literary talent,” it’s intended for “committed writers with projects underway.” You’ll attend six three-hour workshops — with master instructors — in fiction, poetry, memoir or journalism, and can also opt for a two-week residency following the 10-day program.
“Under the Volcano is not just about the writing,” said Natalie Hart, according to the program’s website. “It is a personal journey. Never has a combination of place, people and programme felt so powerful and inspiring.”
Cost: $1,995 per person (does not include accommodation and some meals). Financial aid is available.
Leigh Shulman invites you to choose your own retreat dates — and join her anytime in 2020 in Salta, Argentina. This retreat is meant for people at any stage of writing a book, or for those who want to start writing but need some guidance.
Over eight days, you’ll enjoy intensive writing workshops tailored to your project, yoga, cultural activities, a massage and a private apartment in a bustling city center. Up to three people can participate at once, so grab two friends and book a date.
“The retreat met and exceeded my expectations,” Kathleen Evans said in a testimonial on Shulman’s site. “Each day I could feel the progress during this retreat, and I feel that I’ve really grown. My writing has matured, and I have a solid plan and an idea of where I want to go with my writing project.” (She tweeted about it, too.)
Cost: $2,500 per person.
22. Retreats for You
Debbie Flint, owner of a picturesque 17th-century thatched house in southwest England, runs a variety of retreats throughout the year. (Importantly, they all come with home-cooked meals and resident labradors you can walk through the countryside.)
Author Alison May, for example, is running two “Developing Your Novel” retreats from June 15-19 and October 5-9, 2020.
The center, which welcomes groups, has a five-star rating on Facebook with more than 80 reviews. “The house is gorgeous and comfortable; the food is delicious, and there is always home-made cake,” Anita Chapman wrote. “Alison is a fantastic tutor who knows a great deal, delivering it beautifully; and she has a real interest in her students’ projects.”
Cost: £595 (~$763 US) per person. If traveling with a group of five, then the sixth person is free.
If you’re looking for basically a writing residency, with a bit of tutelage thrown in, this new retreat might be of interest.
From January 18-24 and February 29 to March 6, 2020, published novelist Valeria Vescina will lead small group retreats — max of four people! — in the Swiss Alps. You’ll enjoy a 90-minute writing workshop in the morning, then have the rest of the day to conquer those blank pages. After dinner, you can also participate in readings or group discussions.
Though she doesn’t have any reviews yet, Vescina’s creative writing workshops at a library and high school have received positive feedback.
Cost: £600 (~$769 US) per person for your own room. Dinners will be prepared by the host, with your help. Other dates may be available; inquire with Vescina.
When you attend this retreat in the medieval town of Le Marche, Italy, its hosts promise you’ll get a glimpse of “authentic Italian country life.”
This “immersive program for new and experienced authors” takes place from July 19-25, 2020. It includes workshops and talks on fiction, nonfiction and poetry, as well as opportunities for expert feedback on your writing project.
The retreat has several reviews on Facebook, including this recent one from Kelly Leonora: “Excellent and personal instruction in a small group setting, surrounded by beauty and inspiration. It exceeded expectations!”
Cost: $975 (does not include accommodation or meals). One poetry scholarship is available.
This weeklong retreat in Brittany, France, from May 8-15, 2020, is taught by the authors Claire Trévien and Tori Truslow. (Trévien’s debut poetry collection was the reader’s choice in the Guardian’s first book award.)
They promise you’ll “engage with the environment” by exploring local culture, food and literature — and engage with your words through workshops, tutorials and independent writing time. Writers of all genres are welcome and encouraged.
“This has been such a wonderfully restorative experience, one that has made me realise how starved of inspiration I’ve been for the last year,” Quen Took wrote on Twitter. “I want to carry this experience with me & use it to make my life a better, more joyous place.”
Cost: £775–£850 (~$993–$1,089 US) per person. £450–£500 (~$576–$641 US) per person without lodging or breakfast.
Pumped to include a getaway in Romania — a lovely country that deserves more visitors! At this seaside retreat from August 31 to September 6, 2020, you’ll receive practical instruction in writing and editing, as well as one-on-one critiques of your work.
Also included in the cost are Romanian language classes, a food tasting and trips to historical sites in Romania and Bulgaria. The host offers more retreats in Ireland in May (for travel writing), June and September, and Paris in October.
“Having not been to a writing retreat before, I arrived without expectations, yet the week has been amazing,” Barbara Hopper wrote in a testimonial on the site. “The writing integrates with cultural and historical excursions culminating in a memorable experience. All in all, I laughed, wrote, absorbed and learned. I would highly recommend.”
Cost: €1290 per person (~$1,429 US).
At this retreat, it seems like you get what you pay for: intimate workshops and panels with famous authors like Ariel Levy and Gretchen Rubin.
You’ll also have dedicated writing time and the opportunity to explore the incredible country of Iceland, with outings led by contemporary Icelandic writers. It runs April 29 to May 3, 2020.
On Facebook, Tenny Priebe wrote: “I am so grateful and blown away by the totality of the retreat. It hit all the right places: high level writer/instructors, accomplished attendees, thorough introduction to the country of Iceland and its current and past literary significance, diverse workshops, international participants, amazing food, comfort and lots of laughs.”
Cost: 198,000 ISK (~$1,586 US) per person (does not include lodging and most meals). Scholarships available.
Looking for a place where your “soul and creative spirit will soar”? Travel to the 2019 European “Capital of Culture” — the charming Bulgarian town of Plovdiv — from April 19-25 or July 26 to August 1, 2020.
Your hosts will be Lisa Howe, a professional editor; Scott Stavrou, a novelist and writing instructor; and George Crane, a published author and writing instructor. You’ll participate in writing workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions and nightly social hours, all while staying in the heart of a historic city.
Write Away Europe also hosts retreats in Greece in May, Italy in June and France in September. It has several Facebook reviews, including one from Amy Lynn, who attended the Plovdiv retreat in 2019. “This program is phenomenal,” she wrote. “Every day there is individual attention to each writer’s projects. [They] used their expertise to really help me hone in on my craft—from plot to sentence structure, their attention was extremely valuable and helpful to me… The experience changed me as a writer.”
Cost: $1,650–$1,850 per person (does not include lunch).
Spiritual authors will love escaping to the pristine Lake Annecy from July 18-25, 2020, to focus on “writing in an inspired, intuitive way.”
Along with her guest presenters, author Debra Moffitt will help you tap into your “creativity and imagination with ease and grace often using meditation and guided visualization techniques, movement, and some proven writing techniques.”
Minette Riordan, who participated in one of Moffitt’s virtual workshops in 2017, wrote on Facebook that she was “blown away.” “Not only was I amazed by the writing that poured out of me with her guidance but I was impressed with how she was able to create a sacred, safe container for writing, sharing and connecting with others,” she said. “Debra is a powerful combination of intuitive guide and writing coach.”
Cost: €1,499 (~$1,664 US) per person for a single room.
Learn to tell your story while escaping to the mythical Irish island of Inis Mór from June 12-19 or September 6-12, 2020.
In addition to writing workshops with host Irene Graham, you’ll enjoy guided walks and tours of the remote island. Graham also hosts two memoir-specific retreats in June and September.
“This retreat has been one of the most enjoyable times of my life,” Liz Burch wrote on Graham’s site. “The venue was fantastic, the group talented and diverse. I loved the workshop and the structure. It has given me a great boost in my writing confidence.”
Cost: €1,675 ($1,859 US) per person for a private room (does not include all meals).
In the tiny, gorgeous country of Iceland, 1 in 10 residents will someday publish a book. In other words, there’s no better place to indulge your creativity.
On this retreat from March 21-30, 2020, you’ll escape the crowds and explore the country’s remote northwest corner. In addition to cultural activities, a dinner with a local family and hot tubbing, you’ll attend workshops and masterclasses with the Icelandic authors Einar Kárason and Björg Árnadóttir.
As this is a new retreat, it doesn’t yet have any reviews or testimonials. The organizer NES Artist Residency, however, does have a handful of positive Google reviews.
Cost: €1850 (~$2,052 US) per person for your own room (does not include lunch). €1,250 (~$1,386) per person if you bring a buddy to share with.
From June 16-25, 2020, writer and poet Julie Maloney will bring her women’s retreat to the Greek island of Alonnisos for the tenth straight year.
You’ll stay in a family-owned guest house overlooking the Aegean sea. Each morning, you’ll participate in writing workshops, and each afternoon, you’ll have free to explore your surroundings. One night, you’ll also partake in a sunset dinner cruise (swoon!).
“I have attended the Alonnisos Writing Retreat with [Women Reading Aloud] for three years and each year I come away fuller, richer, and more excited about my writing,” said a testimonial from Lynne Rosenfeld on Maloney’s site. “I have grown so much as a woman and a writer.”
Cost: $2,425 per person for a private room (includes breakfast and three dinners).
From June 21-25, 2020, authors Carolyn Flynn and Jona Kottler invite fiction and creative nonfiction writers to join them at the Delphi Resort near Galway for a “generative and restorative retreat.”
You’ll receive mentored critique, individual consultations, group talks on topics like story architecture, narrative flow and dialogue — and time to wander the mountains of Connemara.
“The inspiration from… Ireland is still shining bright,” 2019 participant Cathy Wade wrote in a Facebook post. “The retreat had a profound impact on my writing and my confidence in my writing.”
Cost: $2,295–$2,495 per person if booked before February 1, 2020, after which cost increases $100–$200 (includes breakfast and most dinners).
Because no one can get enough of Italy: two-time novelist Vanessa Carvale’s retreat will take place from September 20-27, 2020, at a villa a few miles from the historical city of Florence.
It’ll include craft-based and coaching workshops, personalized manuscript feedback and even an onsite pasta-making class. Carvale hosts a retreat in Australia, as well.
“I came in incredibly blocked and stressed about the project I was working on,” Josephine Moon, author of “The Beekeeper’s Secret,” said in a testimonial on Carvale’s site. “[A]nd I’m leaving with a new project that feels totally right, that I’m excited about.”
Cost: $2,450 per person.
Travel with novelist and writing instructor Henriette Lazaridis to her ancestral home in the mountains of northern Greece, where you’ll enjoy group workshops, individual coaching and lots of time to write.
To apply, you must submit a 10-page writing sample. And before attending the retreat from July 26 to August 1, 2020, you’ll need to submit a sample for group critiquing: either 50 pages of a novel manuscript or two short stories.
“Krouna Writing Workshop is an amazing experience led by a brilliant, caring person in one of Greece’s most gorgeous landscapes, and I would attend again in a heartbeat,” Elene Catrakilis wrote in a Facebook review. “I received kind, constructive and incisive feedback, both written and verbal with respect to my manuscript.”
Cost: $2,500 per person (does not include breakfast or dinner).
Murphy Writing of Stockton University will hold its 11th international retreat July 7-14, 2020, in northern Spain.
The retreat, led by award-winning authors Peter E. Murphy, Roberta Clipper and Christine E. Salvatore, is open to fiction writers, memoirists and poets. It includes workshops, feedback sessions, plentiful writing time and an excursion to Barcelona.
In a Facebook review for Murphy Writing, Helen Chibnik said: “In addition to providing reliably gifted, supportive, and working writers as guides, the workshops are well-balanced, productive, and a whole lot of fun – worth every penny.”
Murphy Writing also hosts a March retreat in Florida for $1,500–$1,700 per person.
Cost: $2,500–$2,700 per person (scholarships and early registration discounts available).
This all-inclusive retreat will be held in Denmark from August 2-8, 2020. You’ll stay in the shadow of Fredensborg Palace, a “magical setting to dream and create.”
Hosts Shawna Kenney, an author, and Anja Klemp Vilgaard, a journalist, will lead you in one-on-one sessions and daily writing workshops. Both new and experienced writers are welcome.
Among the retreat’s five positive Facebook reviews, this one from Karen Halasa stood out: “Hamlets Hideaway was an experience of a lifetime, a crucible of creativity in a luxurious setting of natural beauty. The feedback provided by the organisers and other participants was encouraging and constructive, the place conducive to writing.”
Cost: $2,700 per person.
Spend a week at a historic villa in Tuscany — complete with your own private chef — at this women-only retreat from May 30 to June 6, June 13–20, October 3–9 or October 11–17, 2020.
In the mornings, author Kathryn Kay will lead group writing sessions that focus on craft and the creative process. Afternoons will be for writing, one-on-one sessions and group outings to nearby towns and sites. In the evenings, you’ll share your work and reflect on the day (over wine).
Kay has written and video testimonials on her site. A recent review from Nancy Morgan said: “I hoped to begin a new chapter in my writing life and I have. Surrounded by like-minded women who generously share their stories, I feel supported, and guided by Kathryn’s artful management. I am off in a new direction and filled with anticipation.”
Cost: $2,900–$3,700 per person.
You’ll get to work with some BIG names at this pair of 10-day literary salons in Greece.
The first, from May 29 to June 7, 2020, features the poets Kaveh Akbar, Terrance Hayes and Mary Karr, who will guide you through discussions, in-class exercises and informal workshops. During the second, from June 12-21, 2020, Karr is joined by the legendary George Saunders to focus on personal essays, memoirs and short stories.
“The Salon experience was intimate, and structured in a relaxed and informal way but also enabled me to gain valuable writing knowledge, skills, and affirmation,” Josephine Dempsey said in a testimonial on the retreat site. “Yes, a life changing experience!”
Cost: $3,450–$3,950 per person (includes breakfast and two dinners). Scholarships and early-bird registration discounts available.
At this (warning: $$$) retreat, founder Malika Ali Harding says, “we’ll gather seaside to make poems from wildflowers, short stories from stone, and reimagine Nordic fairytales by the fire.” It takes place at Norway’s stunning Arctic Hideaway from September 18-21, 2020.
This retreat is more focused on activities — like sunrise yoga, pebble stacking and wildlife viewing — than on coaching or critiquing, but allows time for writing and reflection, too.
“Traveling with Story Rebels allowed me to have the time and space to be creative,” Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki said in a testimonial on the site. “With all the details sorted, I could relax and focus on writing, surrounded by others with a similar drive.”
Cost: €4290–€4690 (~$4,753–$5,196 US) per person.
Asia, Africa & Middle East
Boy does this sound dreamy! You’ll stay at a farmhouse a few hours from Cape Town, enjoying morning classes and afternoon free writes (and countryside walks).
In the evening, writing coach and literary agent Sarah Bullen will lead sessions focusing on everything from genre to character development to approaching publishers. It all goes down March 20-25, 2020. Along with the author Kate Emmerson, Bullen also hosts a retreat in Greece in June and Italy in September.
“This was truly the most inspiring and motivating thing I have ever done for myself,” Jillian Aslett wrote in a Facebook review. “Sarah’s guidance is invaluable. Working our way through the writing process with Sarah has left me feeling far more equipped to pursue my dream.”
Cost: 9,800–17,800 South African rand (~$668–$1,214 US) per person.
You’ll take a cooking class, boat to an ancient town, practice daily yoga, get a sound bowl massage — and, oh yeah, write — during this retreat at a boutique resort in Hoi An.
From April 10-14 or September 6-13, 2020, former academic and published author Kerstin Pilz will guide you in group and one-on-one writing sessions — all while exploring “authentic Vietnam” to “ignite your creativity.”
This retreat has an abundance of reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook. Julie B., for example, wrote: “It’s hard for me to explain the magic that happened in the retreat – very much thanks to beautiful and expert facilitation by Kirsten and wonderful service from the team she has in place. Whether you think you are a writer or not, this is definitely the place to find out…it was a truly fantastic and beautiful experience!”
Cost: $990 per person for a private room at the April retreat (includes all meals); $1,650 per person for a private room at the September retreat (does not include all dinners). Prices increase by $200 after December 31, 2019, and March 15, 2020, respectively.
Want to explore the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv while sharing stories and making new friends? This women-only, Pink Pangea retreat will be held from May 22-25, 2020.
In addition to exploring Tel Aviv’s markets and history, you’ll participate in daily writing workshops, get guidance on pitching stories and connect with other women writers. The company also hosts retreats in other countries throughout the year.
According to a testimonial on the Pink Pangea site, Lana Raykin said: “I’d never done a writing retreat before, and I was just expecting to loosen up a bit and get the ball rolling, creatively. But the retreat ended up being so much more – I met a really supportive group of women, I became more open to sharing and expressing myself, and started writing again.”
Cost: $1,080–$1,280 per person (does not include lunch or dinner).
At this luscious boutique hotel in southern India, you can attend a writers retreat from March 8–13 or October 4–9, 2020, or set up your own dates upon request.
In addition to morning yoga and meditation, “tantalising” meals and cultural activities, you’ll have daily writing workshops, evening reading sessions and abundant writing time.
In a recent TripAdvisor review, user shonee2018 gave their experience an “excellent” rating. “Time has this lovely pace in India,” they wrote. “It seems to pass even more gently at Indian Summer House during our daily writer’s workshops with Caroline Van De Pol, readings and discussions to reflect and share our work with others or enjoying the outdoor showers, having a drink in the coconut lounge, jumping into the pool two, three times a day or relaxing at the spa.”
Cost: $2,190–$2,990 AUD (~$1,494–$2,040 US) per person.
On this 10-day retreat in the Indian Himalayas, maybe you’ll find the solace you need to finish that important project. It has three sessions in 2020: March 17-27 and March 31 to April 10, plus another session in October (dates to be announced).
Each retreat has a guest leader, plus two resident facilitators: a psychologist and an author. They’ll guide you through everything from discussions to long walks, bonfires, yoga and pottery. Aside from airfare, everything is included in the price — airport transfers, food and even a trip to the Taj Mahal!
This retreat has more than 70 five-star Google reviews. In a recent one, Prachi Sachdev wrote: “Himalayan Writing Boot camp is a writer’s delight. Set amidst the high peak mountains, soaked in nature’s beauty, the ambience boasts of its perfect location. If writing is your passion but you are not sure from where to kick start your writing career, this is definitely the place to be.”
Cost: $2,800 per person.
Ready for a real adventure? At this retreat from June 17-24, 2020, you’ll stay in a luxury hotel in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of northern China.
You’ll participate in creative writing and movement workshops, attend historical and cultural tours, and gain a deeper understanding of this unique part of the world. This year’s guest artist is Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, the award-winning author of two novels and one memoir. The organizers also host retreats in Alaska in July, Australia in September and Croatia in October.
Although no social media reviews are available, Nicole Reed wrote in a website testimonial: “The week I spent with Writing on Water was a powerful experience. I was able to discover myself as a writer.”
Cost: $2,975–$3,375 per person.
Have you attended any of these writing retreats? Have any others to recommend? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.
Photo via MRProduction / Shutterstock