Mendocino Writing Intensives                                                                     Guided Retreats for Fiction & Creative Nonfiction

2020 dates to be announced soon!

Led by Kate Moses

Let the dramatic coastline, unspoiled beauty, and natural sanctuary of the Mendocino Coast in northern California be your inspiration during a guided writing intensive designed to deepen and refine your work-in-progress. Acclaimed writer/editor/teacher Kate Moses will prepare you, feed you, and support you as you write and revise in company with an intimate group of fellow writers at a historic coastal ranch in Elk, a tiny town nestled between the sea and the redwoods just a few hours north of San Francisco.  


This writing intensive offers participants a manuscript reading & assessment and targeted revision plan for their work-in-progress prior to the retreat, to take full advantage of writing and processing time in Elk. This is not a group workshop for which you review peer manuscripts but a focused week of writing, generative and for writers who desire experienced analytical feedback, dedicated time to focus on their projects without competing responsibilities, and the creative energy of writing in community, sharing a week with supportive peers to refuel the imagination and renew the drive toward completion of a manuscript. Kate will be available throughout the retreat for practical support, consultation and reviewing new pages, and encouragement while also providing meals, a respectful low-key social structure including craft talks over cocktails, and opportunities for refreshing activities including beach & forest walks, local explorations, and visitors from the San Francisco Bay Area literary community.  Limited to 5 writers each week. Participating writers have the opportunity to enroll in one or both retreat weeks, as space allows.


The Mendocino Writing Intensive will be held at the beautifully restored, landmark Kenney House in Elk, not far south of the quaint village of Mendocino, where Kate’s family first settled — this is a northern coastal area that is well out of the range of the 2018 wildfires.

Located on a 1000-acre ranch that spans two miles of Pacific coastline, the Kenney House is a roomy, stately Victorian overlooking the ocean at Cuffey’s Cove; the Kenney House was the original house of the settlement that would eventually become the hamlet of Elk. Original ranch barns have been refurbished for yoga practice or group events, and the expansive, protected ranch land has numerous walking trails through wildflower meadows, redwood forest, and along the rugged cliffs to the beach.

Five of the six beautiful, high-ceilinged bedrooms have king or queen beds, some with ocean views. The three full bathrooms will be shared. Outside are decks and porches for working outdoors; inside are fireplaces for keeping cozy during evening readings. In total, the Kinney House and its surroundings has an ideal ambience for a group of writers intent on focused individual work and relaxed socializing. Contingent upon group interest, daily yoga by a certified instructor may be offered as part of the retreat, as well as the opportunity to book add-on massage treatments, private yoga consultations. [Note: when available, massage treatments or private yoga consultations are not included in retreat fee but may be purchased on-site, separately.  Details to follow.]


The full retreat includes individual manuscript reading & annotated evaluation, a phone or Zoom consultation & planning session prior to the retreat,* and hands-on support and guidance during the retreat. Also included are 7 nights/6 days’ lodging, group yoga instruction, and most meals prepared by Kate using local organic & sustainable foodstuffs whenever possible (one dinner and one lunch will be no-host at local eateries, including the renowned Café Beaujolais in nearby Mendocino). For two writers who wish to attend together and share a room, there is 1 double-occupancy room available each week on a first-come, first served basis. Optional appointments for individual yoga instruction and massage therapy will be available on site for additional fees. Please note that travel to/from the retreat is not included, although carpooling from the Bay Area will be organized if needed. *Up to 200 pages. Longer manuscripts for additional fee.


  • $3200 for 1 week, including 7 nights/6 days, all but 2 meals, group yoga, all craft curriculum, & a full manuscript reading & consultation. 

  • $4800 for 2 weeks, including 14 nights/13 days, all but 4 meals, group yoga, all craft curriculum, & a full manuscript reading & consultation.

Not Included: transportation to/from retreat, private 1-on-1 yoga, and private massage appointments. (We will make every effort to arrange carpools from Bay Area airports and transit hubs.) 


This retreat is ideal for writers who are already working on a literary fiction, creative nonfiction, or hybrid form manuscript at any stage of the project, and think it would benefit from a fresh perspective and concentrated attention. Attendance to the Mendocino Coast Writing Intensive is by application -- not to be elitist or intimidating, but simply to make sure that your project is something that Kate feels she could help you to improve ("a good fit," in other words). Email Kate if you have any questions about whether this retreat would be helpful for you! 

To apply, please hit "APPLY" and fill out the Mendocino Coast Writing Intensive Application; follow directions for submitting a 5-10 page sample of your work.  Accepted applicants will be notified on a rolling basis. A 50% non-refundable deposit will be due upon enrollment, with the remaining balance to be paid by January 4, 2019. 


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 National Public Radio 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, and a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Kate is also co-editor of two 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 editor of Salon, former literary director at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco, and former senior acquisitions editor at North Point Press, she has taught writing at more than two dozen universities, independent writing programs, and conferences, including San Francisco State, University of San Francisco, Gotham Writers Workshop, the Key West Literary Seminar, and Hedgebrook’s Vortext. Her literary journalism and food writing have appeared in many publications in the U.S. and U.K. Learn more about Kate’s books at