"The workshop hums and the honey reeks of thyme." – Virgil
Several times a year—or by request—Kate offers intimate writing retreats at soul-stirring locations in the U.S. and abroad as well, as at her historic home in the idyllic village of Essex on Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks. Knowing that what most writers lack is writing time—a writer'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. Birds & Muses' signature retreat is a Guided Writing Intensive: participants receive in-depth consultation on their entire writing project and create a strategic work plan before the retreat, followed by a week of supported writing and revising during the retreat. Unlike a workshop-style retreat, the focus is your own writing, and the retreat resembles a stay at an artists' residency coupled with a mentor's assessment and ongoing, hands-on encouragement. One participant has called Birds & Muses retreats "a room of one's own with dinner parties." 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.
Limited to small groups of 3-12 writers, retreats typically include optional morning writing prompts and yoga, craft lessons over cocktails, participant readings, and special guests from the literary or artistic world who join us for a meal and a conversation. Always included are boutique-style lodging and seasonal organic meals using local foodstuffs whenever possible, typically prepared by Kate and the Birds & Muses retreat faculty (many of whom also write about food and cooking), punctuated by Kate's renowned baking. Optional activities might include meditation & massage, 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 long weekend -- or a week -- being cooked for, pampered, and talking about their writing?
See below for the current calendar of available retreats in 2018, as well as information on retreats now past. October 2018 takes us to the Adirondacks and 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 of two week-long residencies that frame a 12-month mentorship designed to complete a draft of a novel or memoir in a year. On 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 the Mendocino Coast, Tuscany and Greece, Coastal Maine, and another round of Bookgardan will follow in 2019.
For more information or to schedule an individual or private group retreat, contact the Birds & Muses team.
Please do take a moment to consult the Birds & Muses Ltd. liability & sick policies here before applying to any retreats.
Waiver: All applicants must also review and sign the Birds & Muses Retreat Agreements waiver to be considered for a retreat spot. Click the "Sign Your Waiver" blue tab at the bottom right of this page to get started.