"The workshop hums and the honey reeks of thyme." – Virgil

Several times a year—or by request—Kate Moses offers intimate writing retreats at soul-stirring locations in the U.S. and abroad, and at her historic home in idyllic Essex on Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks. Knowing that what most writers lack is writing time—one's most precious and elusive resource—the primary goal of Birds & Muses retreats is to provide writers with experienced guidance, sanctuary, and time to write. Our retreats resemble a stay at an artists' residency coupled with a mentor's critique and ongoing, hands-on encouragement. Limited to small groups of  4-12 writers, participants in our Guided Writing Intensives receive significant individual consultations and strategic plans for their works-in-progress before the retreats, followed by supported time for writing and revising during the retreat. Retreats may also include topical craft lessons and writing prompts, workshop-style sharing or participant readings, and special guests from the literary world who join us for a meal and a conversation. No retreat would be complete without the company of inspiring, supportive, like-minded writers, dynamic conversations about literary life over wine and sumptuous meals, and the opportunity to refresh the imagination and recharge in a new and stimulating setting. 

Always included are boutique-style lodging and seasonal organic meals using local foodstuffs whenever possible, typically prepared by the Birds & Muses retreat faculty (most of whom also write about food and cooking) and punctuated with the bountiful results of Kate's delicious baking. Optional activities might include on-site 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 (up to 4 participants) are available by request. What writer wouldn’t want to spend a weekend being cooked for, pampered, and talking about their writing? 

See below for the current calendar of retreats for 2018: February 10–15 we will be in the redwoods overlooking the sublime Pacific coastline at Pt. Reyes National Seashore in northern California. Coming in mid-May 2018 is a week-long writing intensive in the picturesque medieval village of Sauve in southern France; at the end of the month we are at Craigardan, an 1880s sheep farm–turned–arts center on Hurricane Mountain in Keene, New York, for Writing the Senses, a week-long immersion workshop for writers of all levels of experience. In early Fall 2018 a return to Coastal Maine is in the works. October 2018 takes us back to the Adirondacks and Craigardan, where the first annual Bookgardan program will take place: one of two week-long residencies that frame a 12-month mentorship designed to complete a draft of a novel or memoir in a year.  And from November 10-17, 2018 will be Birds & Muses in Sicily: a guided writing intensive at a sublime contemporary villa on the southern Mediterranean coast near Noto. Other locales, including Tuscany and Greece, to follow in 2019. For more information or to schedule an individual or private group retreat, contact the Birds & Muses team here

Upcoming Retreats


Southern France Writing Intensive: Guided Retreat for Fiction, Creative Nonfiction & Mixed Genre

May 12 – May 19, 2018

Led by Kate Moses and Jennifer Steil

Take your work-in-progress to the next level during a week-long writing intensive in the South of France, guided by two acclaimed writers in an intimate, beautiful and writing-intensive environment.


Writing the Senses: A Sensory Immersion         at Craigardan Arts Center in Keene, New York

May 25–June 1, 2018

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

Reignite your sensory awareness through in-depth, hands-on exploration of each of the five senses at this week-long sensory immersion at Craigardan Arts Center in the majestic Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. This workshop is great for writers (and non-writers) at any level. 

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Coastal Maine Writing Intensive 2018:  Guided Retreat for  Fiction, Memoir and Food Writing

September 2018 [dates tbd]

Led by Kate Moses and Mary Pols

Experience Maine’s autumn harvest, and take your work-in-progress to the next level during this week-long retreat on glorious Casco Bay. Two acclaimed writers will guide you,  feed you, and inspire you with 1-on-1 manuscript consultations and daily craft lessons.


Bookgardan: A Year's Sustenance for Writers of Fiction, Nonfiction & Mixed Genre at Craigardan in Keene, New York

Oct. 1–8, 2018 & Sept. 30–Oct. 7, 2019

Led by Kate Moses

Grow your book project to its fullest flowering in Bookgardan's year-long program of sustained literary mentorship and monthly online workshops with your fellow writers, bracketed by two fall residencies at Craigardan, an artists' retreat and farm in the majestic Adirondacks. 


Sicily Writing Intensive: Guided Retreat for Fiction, Creative Nonfiction & Mixed Genre

November 10–17, 2018 

Led by Kate Moses & Faculty To Be Announced

Bask in the lemony light of southern Sicily's seacoast and olive groves during a week-long writing intensive with advance manuscript consultation and daily craft lessons at Villa Vendicari, located on a nature preserve near Noto, Sicily. 


Private Writing Retreats at the Poem House    in Essex, New York   

Dates available throughout the year

Led by Kate Moses

Private writing retreats for 1-4 writers in upstate New York at Kate's charming historic home, the Poem House, featured in Adirondack Life magazine.   

Past Retreats

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Point Reyes Writing Intensive: Guided Retreat for Fiction & Creative Nonfiction [SOLD OUT]

Feb 10 – Feb 15, 2018

Led by Kate Moses

Let the unspoiled beauty of Point Reyes National Seashore be your inspiration during a guided writing intensive designed to deepen and refine your work-in-progress.

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Adirondack Memoir Retreat on Lake Champlain

Sept 26 – Sept 30, 2017

Led by Kate Moses

Focus on your memoir-in-progress at a peaceful Adirondack lakeside lodge set against a backdrop of autumn’s turning leaves. Intensive, individual manuscript consultations and feedback in small group workshops.


Coastal Maine Writing Retreat for Fiction, Memoir, & Food Writing

August 20 – 24, 2017

Led by Kate Christensen, Kate Moses & Mary Pols

Experience Maine’s summer bounty as you take your work-in- progress to the next level during this retreat on glorious Casco Bay. Three acclaimed writers will guide you, feed you, and inspire you during intensive individual manuscript consultations and small group workshops.

Retreats Faculty

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Kate Moses

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

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Kate Christensen

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 and on Twitter @aquavita.

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Mary Pols

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.

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Jennifer Steil

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.


MJ (Mia Jane) Henderson

MJ is a writer, massage therapist and yoga teacher. With a background in journalism (Los Angeles Times, Brand X,, Sports Illustrated's The Cauldron, etc.), MJ recently received her MFA from UCR/Palm Desert and is writing her first novel.  She's also building The Fatastrophe Project, a multimedia experiment that explores  eating disorders, body image and body politics. Fatastrophe: The Podcast launches on  iTunes July 2018.  Instagram: @miajane_pranyasa & @fatastropheproject.