5 Stunning Writers Retreats

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5 Stunning Writers Retreats
Whether you’ve been working up the courage to pen your memoirs or you already have a stack of short stories in your desk drawer, being a writer is usually a solitary experience. So it’s always a treat to meet other writers with whom you can share your work and discuss the finer points of the craft. The only thing better than a conclave with others passionate about the written word? Meeting up in a beautiful setting.

These five retreats take writers to an array of striking settings—from Iceland’s otherworldly beauty to a fishing boat nestled among trees in the Rocky Mountains. Whether you are looking for in-depth instruction from an acclaimed author or just need some solitude to finish that novel, these residencies are ideal places to find your muse.
Photo by Roman Gerasymenko/Iceland Writer’s Retreat
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    Iceland Writers Retreat


    The Iceland Writers Retreat in the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura is a one-of-a-kind experience. Iceland boasts an impressive literary community and publishes more books per capita than any other country. It is also home to jaw-dropping natural sights, from lava fields to fjords and geothermic pools.

    Writers who come for the small-group workshops and panel discussions (led by world-class authors) can take part in a full-day tour of rural Iceland with local authors as their guides. At day’s end you can heed the call of Reykjavik’s nightlife—the city’s cafés, restaurants, and live music—or, if you're lucky, see the northern lights’ spellbinding glow. The 2016 Retreat has already passed, but you’ve still got time to plan for next year: Registration opens in July.

    Photo by Roman Gerasymenko/Iceland Writer’s Retreat
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    Wildacres Writing Workshop
    North Carolina

    For over 25 years, the Wildacres Retreat Center has welcomed writers to its summer writing workshop high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

    This year’s event takes place from July 9th to July 16th and includes classes on the novel, short stories, flash fiction, writing for magazines, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Each class is led by writers well-versed in both publishing and teaching; among the 2016 faculty is Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. But it’s not all work. The schedule includes ample time to relax with your fellow writers and take in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And if you can’t bear to enjoy all that beauty without your best friend or spouse, don’t worry—Wildacres is happy to have them come along too.
    Photo courtesy of the Wildacres Retreat Center
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    Ireland Writing Retreat

    Hosted by the boutique Teac Jack hotel in Donegal, on the northwest coast of Ireland, the Ireland Writing Retreat is billed as a week-long “creative writing holiday.” Daily writing and editing workshops are interspersed with guided walks along the Wild Atlantic Way and boat rides to area islands. The retreat also invites local cèilidh dancers, musicians, and Gaelic language experts to share their talents.

    If you are looking for a chance to experience Ireland’s “Forgotten Country” and love to write, the Ireland Writing Retreat is made for you. But don’t wait long to book; the 2016 retreat begins June 27th.
    Photo by Columbia Hillen/Ireland Writing Retreat
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    Under the Volcano

    Now in its 14th year, Under the Volcano offers master classes and an extended residency for writers in the small village of Tepoztlán. The town, located at the base of the Tepozteco Mountains, has cobblestone streets and adobe houses that are a testament to locals’ resistance to over-development.

    The 10-day program is for writers with work in progress and offers fiction and poetry workshops in both English and Spanish. Master classes in journalism and memoir (taught in English) are also offered. The gathering is intimate: Each class is limited to eight participants to ensure time for quality instruction and discussion. And if you want more time to enjoy the beauty of Tepoztlán, you can also book Under the Volcano’s extended two-week independent residency.
    Photo by Gary Chiappetta
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    The Banff Centre

    Finding the time to write is difficult with so many other things competing for our time. The Banff Centre, located in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, offers a solution: self-directed artist residencies. The nine studios in the Leighton Artists’ Colony , each designed by an esteemed Canadian architect, provide writers with solitude and the ideal setting to nurture the creative process.

    If you need extra guidance, the Banff Centre also offers a full range of literary programs with an acclaimed faculty. This fall, you can reflect on “artistic practice in an accelerated world” in the multidisciplinary Art of Stillness Residency with Pico Iyer, or work on your memoir, short story, or novel during the Emerging Writers Intensive. And given the awe-inspiring beauty of the Rocky Mountains, it’s no surprise that the Banff Centre also offers a unique residency in Mountain and Wilderness Writing.
    Photo by Donald Lee/The Banff Centre
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