Southern France Writing Intensive: Fiction & Creative Nonfiction

May 12 – 19, 2018

Led by Kate Moses & Jennifer Steil

Stone and lavender, silk and olive trees—let the rich textures and flavors of the South of France infuse your imagination during a week-long retreat in the picturesque medieval village of Sauve, on the tranquil grounds of a restored 17th-century silkworm farm, La Magnanerie d'hôtes. Designed to help you make the most of your writing week in France, this two-part intensive will be led by acclaimed writers, editors, teachers and journalists Kate Moses and Jennifer Steil, who will prepare you, guide you, and nourish you, as you write and revise in company with an intimate group of committed fellow writers.


This guided writing intensive offers participants a manuscript reading & assessment prior to the week-long retreat, with a targeted plan for continuing or revising a work-in-progress during the retreat, taking full advantage of writing and processing time at La Magnanerie. This is not a group workshop for which you review peer manuscripts but an intensive writing retreat for writers needing experienced analytical feedback, dedicated time to focus on their projects, and the creative energy of a community of supportive peers to refuel the imagination and renew the drive toward completing a manuscript. Throughout the retreat, Kate and Jennifer will offer practical support, individual consultations, and group discussions on craft and the writing life while also providing a respectful, low-key social structure and daily options for rejuvenating the imagination and the body: writing prompts and participant readings;  hikes, swimming, and on-site yoga and massage; explorations of Sauve’s shops, galleries and history; and lively group dinners featuring the legendary cuisine of the South of France. Limited to 10 writers.


Set along a narrow meandering river just outside the medieval village of Sauve, La Magnanerie d'hôte is a charming bed & breakfast located on the site of a restored 17th-century silkworm farm. The farm’s old mill is a lovely ruin, but the rest of La Magnanerie has been fully restored by the current owners. The lodgings are simple, rustic and beautiful, with modern conveniences such as wifi, a/c, high-quality bedding and an idyllic swimming pool tucked away in a private courtyard. Six of the 10 rooms have private baths, and all have terraces overlooking the river—the perfect place to write! The grounds are lush with many inviting spots in which to cultivate solitude beneath the shade of  vine-covered arbors or gather for conversation with your writing fellows.

The lovely, quiet village of Sauve, built vertically up a limestone hillside and reached by a stone bridge crossing the Vidourle river, is largely populated by artists, musicians, circus performers, writers, and eccentrics from all over the world. Its ancient walls hold centuries of stories, and scores of paths wind up into the mountains behind the village. Located in the Gard department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region just 45 minutes north of Montpellier, Sauve is close to Avignon, Provence, Nimes, Marseille, and the Cevennes (where Robert Louis Stevenson once wandered with a donkey), should you choose to extend your stay before or after the retreat. The stunning historic Roman aqueduct—the Pont du Gard—is just an hour away, and the famed Chauvet Cave, which contains some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, is only an hour and a half away. Paris is three hours north by train from Nimes.


This retreat is ideal for writers already working on a literary fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, or hybrid-form manuscript (at any stage of the project), who think it would benefit from a fresh perspective and concentrated attention. Attendance at the Southern France Writing Intensive is by application. This isn't to be elitist or intimidating but simply to make sure your project is something Kate and Jennifer feel they 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 the "APPLY" button to fill out an application form and get instructions on submitting a writing sample and a returnable application fee. 


  • $2900.00 for Retreat w/private room & bath

  • $2750.00 for Retreat  w/private room & shared bath (limited availability)

  • $700.00 for traveling companion of participant, sharing room and participating in meals & social activities


Enrollment in the retreat includes individual manuscript reading & evaluation*; 2-hour consultation & planning session prior to the retreat; and hands-on support and guidance during the retreat. Also included: pickup & drop-off at Montpellier airport and/or Nimes train station; 7 nights/6 days lodging; breakfasts, lunch and four dinners prepared with local organic foodstuffs whenever possible. (Two dinners will be no-host at local eateries.) A limited number of double-occupancy spots may be available on a first-come-first-served basis.  Contingent upon group interest, daily yoga by a certified yoga instructor may also be offered as part of the retreat, as well as the opportunity for add-on private yoga consultations. [Note: private yoga consultations are not included in retreat fee but may be purchased on-site as an add-on. Details to follow.]

*Up to 200 pages. Longer manuscripts for additional fee.


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, 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 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 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. Through Birds & Muses, Kate mentors writers in the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, several European and African nations, and New Zealand. A seventh-generation San Franciscan, she now lives in upstate New York. Learn more about Kate’s books and mentoring at and

Jennifer Steil 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, including Algeria, England, Yemen, and Bolivia, and been awarded residencies at Omi International/Ledig House, Byrdcliffe, Kimmel Harding Nelson, Arte Ginestrelle, Willapa Bay AiR, and Craigardan. She currently lives in London and the South of France with her husband and daughter. Learn more about Jennifer and her work at