"The workshop hums and the honey reeks of thyme." – Virgil
Several times a year -- or by request -- I offer intimate writing retreats at my historic home in idyllic Essex on Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks, or at other soul-stirring locations in the U.S. and abroad. Limited to small groups of writers, participants receive intensive one-on-one manuscript consultation and targeted critiques, dynamic conversations about literary life over wine and sumptuous meals, and focused time for writing in the company of inspiring, supportive, like-minded writers. Retreats may also include daily workshop-style feedback from the group, and special guests from the literary world who will join us for a meal and a conversation. When scheduling permits, I sometimes team up with other notable writers who also love to teach in intimate settings.
Always included are boutique-style lodging and farm-to-table organic meals, most of them prepared by the Birds & Muses retreat faculty and punctuated with the bountiful results of my therapeutic (okay, pathological!) baking. Optional activities might include yoga, hiking, swimming or beach walking, day trips to nearby cities or historic sites, antiquing, seasonal leaf-peeping or olive-gathering, absorbing the inspirations of landscape, and sampling from local farms, wineries, and artisan makers of food and crafts.
Individual and private group retreats are also available. What writer wouldn’t want to spend a weekend being cooked for, pampered, and talking about their writing?
See below for the Summer & Fall 2017 retreats (now sold out) and the first retreat of 2018: February 10-15 in the redwoods overlooking the sublime Pacific coastline at Pt. Reyes National Seashore in northern California. Coming in May 2018 will be a week-long writing intensive in the picturesque medieval village of Sauve in southern France. May 2018 also takes us to Craigardan, an 1880s sheep farm - turned - arts center on Hurricane Mountain in Keene, New York, where the first annual Bookgardan program will take place: the first week-long residency of two that frame a 12-month mentorship designed to complete a draft of a novel or memoir in a year. In August 2018 a return to Coastal Maine is in the works, and in October 2018 Craigardan will host a week-long workshop on Writing and The Senses. And finally, November 10-17, 2018 will be Birds & Muses in Sicily: a retreat on the southern coast near Noto. Other locales, including Tuscany and Greece, to follow. For more information or to schedule an individual or private group retreat, contact me here.
Kate 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, 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, her literary essays and food writing have appeared in many publications in the U.S. and U.K. Learn more about Kate’s books at katemoses.com.
Kate is the author of seven novels, including The Great Man, which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, and The Last Cruise, forthcoming from Doubleday in the summer of 2018. She is also the author of two food-centric memoirs, Blue Plate Special and How to Cook a Moose, which won the 2016 Maine Literary Award for Memoir. She has taught fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as short workshops in both memoir and fiction at several residencies and MFA programs. She has published essays and articles in many magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Bookforum, O, the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, and Food & Wine. She lives in Portland, Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her husband. Visit Kate at katechristensen.net and on Twitter @aquavita.
Elizabeth is the author of The New York Times Notable Book and Reader’s Digest selection, The Family on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Love and Courage; The Silver Bear and the Scalpel, a co-authored memoir of the first Navajo Woman surgeon, and Oprah magazine summer best read and Adirondack Writers Group best book of 2013, the short story collection, The Hypothetical Girl. A MacDowell Colony fellow and spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association, she has authored six books of poetry. Her essays and poetry are published widely, and she is a professor in the Writing Arts Program at SUNY Plattsburgh. Learn more at elizabethcohen.me.
Mary is a Maine-based author and award-winning journalist. Her memoir, Accidentally on Purpose, was turned into a CBS sitcom starring Jenna Elfman. Her literary book criticism appears regularly in national publications, including The New York Times and People. For more than a decade she was a film critic, first for newspapers in the San Francisco area and then for Time Magazine. A member of the National Society of Film Critics, she’s been a staff writer at the Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Daily News. Her writing has appeared in magazines ranging from the late great Gourmet to Marie Claire and Parenting.
Jennifer is an award-winning, internationally published author and journalist. Her novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, won the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award, the 2016 Phillip McMath Post Publication book award, and has been optioned for a miniseries starring Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway. Jennifer’s highly praised memoir, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, about her tenure as editor of the Yemen Observer in Sana’a, received the Elle magazine Readers’ Prize and was included on National Geographic Traveler's 2014 recommended reading list. She has taught writing at many universities in many countries and currently lives in London with her husband and daughter.
Mia is a Montreal-based writer, yoga instructor and registered massage therapist (KYAA, YA RYT-200, RMQ). Certified in the Kripalu lineage, she has continued her yoga studies in vinyasa, ashtanga, kundalini and the science of Ayurveda (Jason Crandell, Beryl Bender Birch, Shiva Rea, John Douillard). Yoga classes offer a gentle alignment-based vinyasa flow, grounded in guided relaxation, meditation and breath work accessible by all bodies and levels of experience. Her 15+-year massage therapy private practice (Swedish, deep tissue, sports, reiki, prenatal) now includes Thai yoga massage, a dynamic and interactive fusion of yoga and shiatsu. Mia is Birds & Muses' wellness director and web admin(ion)-in-chief. Visit her on Instagram @miajane_pranyasa.