Retreat West
Retreat West
Amanda Saint

Welcome to Retreat West

Our friendly and lively writing community can help you to take your writing to the next level.

About our community

Our online community is here to help you write more, learn more, submit more, and get published more often. We work with great authors to bring you regular online events and exclusive content to help you advance your writing practice, connect with other writers and have fun. 


Reasons to join us

We're friendly and supportive; we're all writers too; and we’re bringing the writing community together in a positive and motivational online space.

We've got monthly masterclasses all about writing, feedback sessions, craft articles, writing prompts and exercises, and lots more. You can join our community only membership plan or choose one that suits you best to also include feedback reports, discounts on our online courses and competition entries. 

Our 2021 event calendar is full of great authors and tutors sharing their knowledge, inspiration and insights about novel writing, flash fictions, short stories and lots more. Whenever you join us you'll still be able to catch up with the events you missed as they're recorded and available for our members to watch over and over again whenever suits them best.

SATURDAY 28TH JUNE, 11AM UK TIME

CREATE THAT COLLECTION WITH BARBARA BYAR

Have a pile of short stories/flash fictions/ideas? Wondering what to do with them all? Afraid they're not "good" enough to put in a collection? This workshop will give you the confidence and tools to help you take the next step with your writing and create a short story or flash fiction collection.

Barbara’s debut collection Some Days Are Better Than Ours was published November, 2019 to rave reviews. A story from this collection was longlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards, Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award 2020. Her collection was also shortlisted for the 2020 Saboteur Awards. She received Pushcart and Best Small Fictions nominations in 2020.

Barbara is a previous Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair winner and has had short fiction published in various literary magazines. She has been short-listed for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award and long listed for the Bare Fiction Prize. As a Senior Editor for the inaugural BIFFY50, she helped select the top 50 British and Irish flash pieces of 2018/19 and has also been a competition judge for Reflex Fiction and TSS Publishing and reader and Senior Editor for TSS Publishing, UK and Virtual Zine.


WEDNESDAY 14TH JULY, 7PM UK TIME

SUBMITTING TO LITERARY JOURNALS WITH ANTHONY SELF

Whether you're just starting out sending your work to journals, or you're an old hand at it, this session will help you to make sure your submissions are tip-top. Discover the initial pitfalls to avoid when submitting; the Dos and Donts to consider; how to improve your chances of getting an acceptance; and how to strengthen your name and get work out in the literary ether.

Anthony Self is the co-founder and director of STORGY online literature magazine. Using the website as a platform for new and emerging writers, he and his other STORGY colleagues Tomek Dzido and Ross Jeffery have published several anthologies and novels. He is also a contributor for Nightmare on Film Street and is currently writing his first novel.


THURSDAY 19TH AUGUST, 7PM UK TIME

THE ART OF MICRO FICTION WITH MARY-JANE HOLMES

Making sure your micros are doing enough in so few words is a fine art and delicate balance to achieve. You'll discover how to make sure that you're giving the reader enough but also holding back to leave room for interpretation.

Mary-Jane is passionate about writing, teaching and editing creative writing. She has designed and teaches several courses at Retreat West along with Amanda Saint. A Forward Prize nominee and Hawthornden Fellow, Mary-Jane has won the Bath Novella-in-Flash Prize, the Bridport Poetry prize, Martin Starkie, Dromineer, Reflex Fiction and Mslexia Flash prize as well as the Bedford Poetry competition. In 2020, she was shortlisted for the Beverley International Prize for Literature and longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. Mary-Jane’s debut poetry collection Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass is published by Pindrop Press.

Her work appears in anthologies including Best Small Fictions 2014/16/18  and Best Microfictions 2020 and in a variety of publications including Magma, Modern Poetry in Translation,  The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Tishman Review, Magma, Barren, Spelk, Cabinet of Heed, Firewords, Flashback Fiction, Mslexia, Fictive Dream, The Lonely Crowd, and Prole. Her novella in Flash ‘Don’t Tell the Bees’, published with Ad Hoc Fiction in 2020.


THURSDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER, 7PM UK TIME

FINDING INSPIRATION WITH SHAUN LEVIN

Inspiration is to be found in the act of writing itself, yet it can also be cultivated through a greater awareness of those aspects of the world that fill us with wonder and carry a sense of mystery. In this workshop, we'll look at ways to expand our sources of inspiration, and investigate how much more of our lives and imaginations we could include in our writing. Prepare to be inspired!

Shaun Levin is the author of Seven Sweet Things, A Year of Two Summers, and Snapshots of The Boy, amongst other books. His short stories have been anthologised alongside Nadine Gordimer, Ali Smith, and Edmund White. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years, and devised the series of guides, The Writing Notebooks, for writers taking on book-length projects. Visit shaunlevin.com and writingmaps.com

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