Craigardan: Writing the Senses

May 25–June 1, 2018 

Led by Kate Moses & Guest Teaching Artists (to be announced)

Vivid sensory details are the universal currency of all forms of creative writing, and yet we can be surprisingly unaware of the impact of our senses in our daily experience, let alone in our creative lives. This week-long workshop’s goal is to reignite our sensory awareness through an in-depth, hands-on exploration of each of the five senses at Craigardan, a mountainside retreat for artists, makers & thinkers in the majestic Adirondacks of upstate New York. Thanks to Craigardan’s uncommon intersection of multidisciplinary art, sustainable farming, and wild nature, participants will be able to utilize  the center’s farm and garden, culinary arts residency, ceramics studio, and pristine woodlands with the inspired guidance of guest teaching artists who will act as “sensory tour guides.”  


The week-long workshop begins with a Friday evening orientation and introductory seminar on Writing and the Senses in Craigardan’s Applebarn, followed by a welcoming dinner prepared by the chefs in residence from foodstuffs grown at Craigardan or made by one of the many food artisans in the extensive local farm-to-table, sustainable agriculture community. Day 1’s Sensory Reboot includes a neuroscientific overview of creativity and the senses, followed by Days 2 through 6 devoted to each of the five senses in turn, with daily group immersion activities and writing workshops, as well as plenty of time for individual explorations. Each evening there will be a sensory-specific event, from musical performances to a bonfire, and all meals will be provided through the workshop week.  


Craigardan’s idyllic mountainside retreat, once a circa-1800s sheep farm, is now a lovingly restored and intentionally designed 78-acre center for artistic creation, intellectual exchange, environmental awareness, and the cross-fertilization of all three. Participants will be lodged in Craigardan’s simple and beautiful shared houses, with access to any number of indoor and outdoor communal spaces for writing and thinking, including solo time in the peaceful writer’s cabin with its wooded views of the working farm. Residency craft seminars and workshops will be held in the Apple Barn, where participants will also gather for meals. See Craigardan's website.

    Located in Keene, New York at the northern edge of the Adirondacks, Craigardan is surrounded by numerous glorious mountains and hiking paths, a short drive from Lake Placid and Lake Champlain, and a ferry ride from Burlington, Vermont. Amtrak is twenty minutes away in nearby Westport, New York, and the nearest airports are in Burlington, Montreal, and Albany.  Boston and New York City are five hours away by car.


The Writing the Senses Workshop is ideal for writers and non-writers alike; participating writers may be at any stage of development. Enrollment is limited to 6 participants in residence and 6 day participants. The public is invited to attend the Workshop’s opening talk on “Writing the Senses” on Friday, May 25.


  • $1500 per person for in-residence attendance; $850 for day participation with evening programs; $600 for day participation only

What is included:

  • In-residence attendance includes lodging in a private room/shared bath; all meals; daily group yoga instruction; transportation to/from local train station or airport

  • All day & evening programming for the Workshop (with the exception of evening programming if registering for day participation only)

Please note: Workshop fee does not include airfare or other long-distance travel costs, which must be arranged and paid separately by the participant.

To register, please click the APPLY button above, which will take you to the official registration page. Accepted applicants must submit a nonrefundable $500 deposit to hold their spot. Final payments will be due by April 25, 2018.   


    Kate Moses is the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, published in sixteen languages, and Cakewalk: A Memoir, chosen by NPR as one of their favorite memoirs of 2010. Recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Best Fiction by an American Woman, an American Book Award, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a Poets & Writers Debut Fiction selection, a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Headlands Center for the Arts, Karuna, and The Lighthouse Works, Kate is also co-editor of two nationally bestselling anthologies of essays on motherhood, Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves. A founding senior editor and staff writer of Salon, former literary director of Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco, and former senior acquisitions editor of North Point Press, Kate has taught writers at two dozen universities in the U.S. and U.K., and is on the faculties of the Gotham Writers Workshop, Key West Literary Seminar, and Hedgebrook.  Through Birds & Muses she works with writers in the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, several European and African nations, and New Zealand. A native San Franciscan, Kate now lives in Essex County, New York, not far from Craigardan. Learn more about Kate’s books at