10 Amazing Writing Retreats in Canada and the USA

 Image by Kim Jay of  Kim Jay Photography

Image by Kim Jay of Kim Jay Photography

Writing retreats aren’t just for those looking to eat-pray-love a possible quarter- or mid-life crisis away as some movies would suggest.

You don’t have to wear only linen pants and white button-up blouses like Diane Keaton (though that is a great look), and your significant other doesn’t have to have left you for someone younger, or taller, or cooler.

Writing retreats are for anyone serious about honing their skills and immersing themselves in the literary community. Most importantly, writing retreats offer time away from the chaos of everyday life to work on your craft and allow it to be your singular focus rather than another item on your ever growing to-do list.

We know you’ve already got a lot on your plate, which is why we’ve perused the Internet to find ten amazing writing retreats in Canada and the USA for you to consider.

Lessgo.

 

 Banff, Alberta. Photo by Matt Long

Banff, Alberta. Photo by Matt Long

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

The Banff Centre offers some of the best writing programs in all of North America, and is known for a variety of artistic training. Established in 1933 by the University of Alberta, The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is visited by over 4,000 artists every year—and it’s situated right in the Rocky Mountains—talk about inspiring!

Where: Banff, Alberta

What They Offer:

Summer Writers Retreat: August to September

Emerging Writers Intensive: October

Mountain and Wilderness Writing: October to November

Late Fall Writers Retreat: December

Application Deadline: August

Application requirements vary depending on each program, so check out their current programs here.

Cost: Between CAD $1,360-$3,740. Scholarships and funding available.

 

Into the Fire: 2018 Writing Retreat

Run by The Sun magazine, Into the Fire is a retreat in which staff, readers, and writers of the magazine work together to inspire creatives through workshops, readings, and discussions. Known for being a socially conscious, reader-supported magazine, The Sun has been in operation since 1974.

Where: Big Sur, California

What They Offer:

Into the Fire Writing Retreat: October

Cost: Varies depending on accommodation. Scholarships available.

 

 Photo by ochrehouse.ca

Photo by ochrehouse.ca

Ochre House Retreat

Facilitated by three working artists, Ochre House Retreat is open to writers in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screen and academic disciplines. According to their website, writers are invited to “bring consciousness to the habitual in order to be open to transformation” through a series of guided writing exercises and workshops. Hosted annually on a remote property in Ochre Pit Cove, Newfoundland, participants are taken on guided tours to experience icebergs and whales in the Conception Bay area.

Where: Ochre Pit Cove, Newfoundland

What They Offer:

Applications are currently closed, but check their website here for updates on their next retreat.  

Cost: Between CAD $750-$1,000

 

Want to know what a professional editor can do for you? Check out our Services page, or book a free consultation with JEC founder and editor-in-chief, Kate.

 

The Watering Hole Poetry Retreat

Hosted during the winter for the past five years, The Watering Hole Winter Retreat is one aimed at breaking down barriers for poets of color. Not only one of the most affordable and accessible retreats, offering space to 42 poets, The Watering Hole strives to create a safe space for creatives and poets to express and educate themselves through group writing and community.

Where: McCormick, South Carolina

What They Offer:

The Watering Hole Winter Retreat: December

Cost: USD$499-$899 (Scholarships and funding available)

 

Pelee Island Book House Retreat

Known for hosting prestigious writing instructors like Margaret Atwood, Steven Heighton, and Graeme Gibson, the Pelee Island Book House Retreat is hosted twice annually. The seven-day event includes workshops facilitated by an instructor, as well as other optional activities like a tour of the island, winery tours, and yoga classes. Pelee Island Book House also hosts writing residencies in the spring and fall for a self-directed retreat experience.

Where: Pelee Island, Ontario

What They Offer:

Fiction Writing Retreat: September

Fiction Writing Weekend Retreat: September

Cost: Between CAD $840-$1580

 

For more information on fees, applications and instructors, check out their website here.

 

 Photo source: Pete Guinosso

Photo source: Pete Guinosso

Northern California Writers Retreat

Established by two California natives who both worked in the publishing industry on the East Coast, the Northern California Writers Retreat started as a way for writers to build community and lasting relationships. Hosted annually during the spring, the retreat consists of group workshops, as well as daily talks on the business of publishing work, working with an editor and, marketing. The retreat lasts five days and four nights and is situated in an old growth redwood forest.

Where: Near Ben Lomond, California

What They Offer:

The retreat application is currently closed, but check here to sign up for their newsletter for updates on 2019 retreat information.

Cost: Unlisted

 

 Newport, Oregon. Photo by Christian Heeb

Newport, Oregon. Photo by Christian Heeb

Tin House Writing Workshops

Established by Tin House Magazine based out of Oregon, the Tin House Writing Workshops consist of an annual summer and winter workshop session. Each program is hosted by the editors of Tin House, as well as several working writers who run workshops, discussions, and, for those who have a completed manuscript, mentorships. The winter workshop is hosted at the Sylvia Beach Hotel on the Oregon coast, while the summer workshop is held at historic Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Where: Newport and Portland, Oregon

What They Offer:

Summer Writing Workshop: July

Winter Writing Workshop Sessions:

Short Fiction: January

Non-Fiction: January

Novel: February

Poetry: March

Cost: USD $1,840-$2,190 (Scholarships and funding available)

 

Sage Hill Summer Fiction Workshop

Hosted over ten days, the Sage Hill Fiction Workshop is aimed at experienced writers who have previously published work, either short fiction or long, and want to hone in on a new set of skills. This year’s retreat is hosted by Canadian writer Jacqueline Baker, and includes group workshops, ample writing time, and group discussions. Sage Hill Writing is known for facilitating retreats aimed at furthering adult literary education across genres, and is committed to helping writers find solace in the literary community.

Where: Lumsden, Saskatchewan

What They Offer:

Fiction Workshop: July

Poetry Workshop: July

Non-Fiction Workshop: July

Cost: CAD $1,745

 

 Photo by Elizabeth Haynes Photography

Photo by Elizabeth Haynes Photography

Yaddo

Yaddo is a residency program for artists and writers which housed its first guests in 1926. Set on the grounds of the Trask family country estate, Yaddo is less like a directed retreat and more of a place of solace for artists who are looking for a peaceful place to create. Working with more than 200 artists each year, Yaddo is known for having welcomed several famous artists and writers including Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, David Foster Wallace, and Katherine Anne Porter. The retreat is open eleven months of the year to provide support for its residents.

Where: Saratoga Springs, New York

What They Offer:

Year-round Artist Residencies (between 2-8 weeks)

Cost: USD $30.00 application fee. No fee for residency.

 

Artscape Gibraltar Point

Offering both self-directed and programmed retreats, Artscape Gibraltar Point is focused on offering artists and creatives a peaceful place to focus on their craft through short-term residencies. Open since 1999, Artscape Gibraltar Point has been home to many artists who have found it useful in their own creative pursuits. Programmed residencies coincide with a specific theme, intention or idea, and involves a closing exhibition as well as workshop-style classes.

Where: Toronto, Ontario

What They Offer:

Self-Directed Retreats: Available all year round.

Programmed Retreat: September to October

Cost: CAD $400-$1,230

 

Already home from a productive retreat? Take a look at our Manuscript Assessment page so you can learn how to turn your hard work into your dream book. Or, sign up for our Publishing Guidebook now and see what steps will get you there.

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  KATE JUNIPER   Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. She's inspired, most often, to write about writing and how women (writers) can fix the world. She has a lot of opinions, actually.

KATE JUNIPER

Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. She's inspired, most often, to write about writing and how women (writers) can fix the world. She has a lot of opinions, actually.

  HAYLEY EVANS   Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including  Scene 360  and  Illusion Magazine .

HAYLEY EVANS

Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including Scene 360 and Illusion Magazine.

  GEORGIA RUDERLHOFF   Georgia is JEC's Content Writer, a published poet, and past Poetry Editor for  This Side of West,  Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for  The   Albatross , and Contributing Writer for  The Martlet  and  Saltern Magazine.

GEORGIA RUDERLHOFF

Georgia is JEC's Content Writer, a published poet, and past Poetry Editor for This Side of West, Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for The Albatross, and Contributing Writer for The Martlet and Saltern Magazine.

  JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS   Jaime is a Research Curator at Royal Roads University and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Communications Specialist.

JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS

Jaime is a Research Curator at Royal Roads University and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Communications Specialist.