Top Ten Retreats for Emerging Writers

From the March/April 2019 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Retreats can be a vital source of inspiration and support for writers at any stage of their careers. But for those just starting out, an opportunity to take some time away from daily life and devote a few days (or weeks, or months) to writing—to develop and deepen one’s practice, to workshop new pieces, to learn about the publishing industry, and to make lifelong friendships and professional connections—can be invaluable. The following ten retreats, workshop programs, conferences, and festivals are geared especially toward emerging writers.

Cave Canem Retreat 
Cave Canem offers a weeklong retreat for emerging poets of African descent, held annually in June at the University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The retreat includes workshops, craft talks, readings, and time to write. Tuition is $1,050; the fee for lodging and meals is $590. Scholarships are available based on need. Application fee: $20. Typical deadline: December 21. Cave Canem, 20 Jay Street, Suite 310-A, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (718) 858-0000.

Emerging Poets Fellowship Program at Poets House 
Poets House offers ten fellowships from March to June for emerging poets living in New York City. Each fellow receives a $500 honorarium, a $100 travel stipend, and access to weekly workshops, mentoring sessions, craft discussions with visiting poets, and other events at Poets House, located in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City neighborhood. There is no application fee. Typical deadline: December 1. Poets House, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282. (212) 431-7920.

Hub City Writers Project 
The Hub City Writers Project offers two fifteen-week residencies each year at the Writers House in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for emerging poets and prose writers who are pursuing a graduate degree in creative writing or who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in creative writing within the past five years. Residents are provided with lodging and work space in a historic downtown cottage, as well as a $650 monthly stipend in exchange for community service with Hub City Press or Hub City Bookshop. Application fee: $30. Typical deadline: April 15. Hub City Writers Project, 186 West Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29306. (864) 557-9349.

Jack Jones Retreat 
The third annual Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat for emerging women poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers of color will be held October 26 through November 8 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The retreat offers time to write as well as daily master classes and meetings with agents, editors, and women in publishing to promote networking, learning, and engagement. Residents are provided with full tuition, private lodging, writing space, and all meals. Application fee: $35. Deadline: April 20. Jack Jones Literary Arts, P.O. Box 291672, Los Angeles, CA 90029.

Kimbilio Retreat
The Kimbilio Retreat for emerging African American fiction writers will be held July 21 through July 27 at Southern Methodist University in Taos, New Mexico. The retreat offers workshops, craft classes, lectures, readings, and time to write. The cost of lodging and meals ranges from $350 to $700. There is no application fee. Deadline: March 15.

Kundiman Retreat 
The Kundiman Asian American Workshop Retreat is held annually in June at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx in New York City. The retreat features poetry and fiction workshops, one-on-one mentoring, manuscript consultations, and a public reading. Tuition, which includes lodging and meals, is $375. Application fee: $25. Typical deadline: January 15. Kundiman, 229 West 109th Street, Suite 22, New York, NY 10025.

Lambda Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices 
The Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices is held annually in August or September at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. The retreat offers weeklong intensive workshops in poetry, fiction, genre fiction, and nonfiction for LGBTQ writers, along with opportunities to meet publishing industry professionals and build a strong community of peers. The cost of the retreat is $1,650, which includes room and board. Application fee: $25. Typical deadline: February 1. Lambda Literary Foundation, 811 West 7th St, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017. (213) 277-5755.

Starry Night Retreat 
Starry Night Retreat offers one- to eight-week residencies from May through September and from November through March to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in New Mexico. Residents are provided with private lodging, shared studio space, and access to a communal courtyard. The cost of the residency is $900 per week. Financial aid is available. There is no application fee. Admissions are made on a rolling basis. Starry Night Retreat, 718 Van Patten Street, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901.

VONA/Voices of Our Nations Workshop
The VONA/Voices of Our Nations Foundation offers one- to two-day workshops for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers of color, held in various locations throughout the year, including New York City, New Orleans, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The 2019 program will feature workshops with Faith Adiele, Daniel José Older, Shay Youngblood, and others. The cost of the workshops ranges from $125 to $450. Registration is first come, first served.

Writefest: A Festival For Emerging Writers
Writefest: A Festival For Emerging Writers will be held from May 27 through June 2 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The festival features workshops in poetry and short prose,  as well as presentations, critique sessions, editor panels, author readings, and a literary journal fair. The cost of the conference ranges from $95 for a day pass to $495 for a full-event pass. Student discounts are available. Registration is first come, first served. Writefest, 2000A Edwards Street, Suite 212, Silver Street Studios, Houston, TX, 77001.