Writers Retreat

Why Attend the Writers Retreat

Nestled deep in the woods between two lakes, Interlochen College of Creative Arts' five-day Writers Retreat is a true writer's dream. Spend your days writing new material, attending presentations by award-winning faculty, and enjoying lakeside lunches and evening readings while making friends and connections in the literary world.

Select your concentration from four unique courses, each grounded in different craft concepts  with an emphasis on generating new work—appealing to both advanced and beginning writers alike. Courses descriptions will be posted in December.  

Generate new material across an array of genres, or apply new knowledge to your existing drafts as you gain skills in the classroom and write independently during “off” hours. Attend provocative presentations by faculty, as well as readings by faculty and participants. Enjoy the beauty and inspiration of the Interlochen campus while making connections in the literary world that will last for years to come.

2024 Writers Retreat Faculty: 

  • Ignatius Valentine Aloysius
  • Patricia Ann McNair
  • Anne-Marie Oomen
  • Lesley Alicia Tye
  • Mary Kay Zuravleff
  • Faculty workshop descriptions can be found below.

2024 Guest Speakers:

  • Desiree Cooper

2024 Writers in Residence

  • Fleda Brown
  • John Mauk
  • Christine Maul Rice

Course Dates: Sunday, June 9 to Friday, June 14, 2024
Registration Fee: $695
Early Registration Fee: $626 (Early Registration Ends March 1, 2024)
Michigan Writers Registration Fee: $600
Registration Deadline: Sunday, June 2, 2024

Register Here

K-12 Educators: Earn 22 State of Michigan SCECH clock hours by attending the 2024 Writers Retreat

Anne-Marie Oomen and Katey Schultz ICCA Creative Writing Scholarship

C. Joanne Grabinski established the Anne-Marie Oomen and Katey Schultz ICCA Creative Writing Scholarship to honor the founding Artistic Director of the Writers Retreat, Anne-Marie Oomen, and former Artistic Director of the Writers Retreat, Katey Schultz, in recognition of their vision and leadership in creating opportunities for adult writers to develop and hone their creative practice. The Oomen-Schultz scholarship is awarded annually to (one or more) eligible participants in the Interlochen College of Creative Arts (ICCA) Writers Retreat. The scholarship funds awarded will cover the applicant’s registration fee for the retreat. Award is competitive and merit-based.

Apply Here

Please bring materials to take notes and work on writing assignments. In workshops, you will usually use journals and pens, but a laptop can be handy during the week. A USB Flash Drive (memory stick) is also recommended. Printers and Wi-Fi will be available.

Conflict & Resolution Clinic with Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

In this workshop, we’ll dive deep into the art and practice of writing compelling conflicts and exploring meaningful resolutions. We’ll look at examples in literature as we explore different conflict types, experiment with escalation, tone, and action (or inaction), and find strategies to achieve transformative resolutions. What is the right type of conflict for your chosen form, and can you tease tension within it to hold the reader’s attention to the end? Learn how conflict and resolution can help shape your characters’ worldviews and their outcomes for better or worse. All genres and all levels of experience are welcome.

If Oscar Wilde once said, "The heart was made to be broken,” let’s find all that can embrace its true self.

A Sense of Place with Patricia Ann McNair

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.” -Joan Didion.

In this workshop, we will explore the impact of place on our narratives. From Grandmother’s kitchen, to newfound galaxies, to the colorful streets of Havana, Cuba, stories set firmly in the places they inhabit lure readers in and connect them with memory, metaphor, movement, and more. Whatever you are writing—nonfiction travel pieces; small town narratives; stories of journey and destination (imaginative or realistic); domestic, home-tied tales, etc.—a sense of place is essential to the creation. Through reading and writing activities we will discover new work and reinvigorate ongoing material. Open to all genres and levels of experience.

The Inspired Habit: Daily Practice, Experimentation, and Discovery with Anne-Marie Oomen

How can inspiration be a habit?  Isn’t inspiration a moment of such sudden newness it is associated with life-giving breath—that sudden gasp of understanding? Oh that’s it! It even rises from the Latin noun, inspirare, meaning to "blow into, breathe upon. The word connotes light and flame, even inflammation. Metaphorically, the sudden understanding associated with inspiration always seems like an inhalation of literary oxygen, changing colors in the mind like oxygen changes the color of blood. Something coming to life.  Feels pretty miraculous. But what happens if, instead of waiting to be struck, we writers nurtured inspiration with daily practice and simultaneous experimentation?

In this workshop we will consider how inspiration operates not as a rare moment of enlightenment, but as an experience we can build into our daily literary endeavors. I’ll be riffing on Twyla Tharpe’s book “The Creative Habit” but offering a twist toward the literary and the personal. We will explore how experimentation might help us produce new and exciting work. We will even take a field trip! For all levels of experience and skill, open to all genres.

Special note: For those who attended Anne-Marie’s “Cross-training” class in 2023, some similar exercises may be explored again.

Adaptations: From Page to Stage & Screen with Lesley Alicia Tye:

"The cinema has no boundary; it is a ribbon of dream." Orson Welles

This workshop is for writers looking to adapt their fiction or nonfiction to the stage or screen. Through exploration of examples and specific structure tools, participants will come away with practical ways to approach adaptations. Participants should bring work with them that they want to adapt, and will get a chance to work at both a scene level of adapting, as well as on larger outlines for full length scripts. 

Building Character with Mary Kay Zuravleff

“The baby born to Alice had Paolo’s dark brows and golden eyes—surprising, maybe, until you remember that all humans look pretty much alike.” Edith Pearlman, Honeydew

In this workshop, we’ll practice techniques for creating vivid and original characters. We’ll choose physical traits that help determine plot and resonate with the story; write believable dialogue that also reveals character; and discover character “tells” that show emotion like bluffing or betrayal. We’ll read, write, and share in a supportive environment. Come populate your fiction with a cast worth remembering!

2024 Writers Retreat Faculty

Patty McNair

Patricia Ann McNair

Artistic Director of Writers Retreat, Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Anne-Marie Oomen

Anne-Marie Oomen

Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Lesley Tye

Lesley Alicia Tye

Instructor of Creative Writing and Film & New Media

Mary Kay Zuravleff

Mary Kay Zuravleff

Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Dr. Fleda Brown

Fleda Brown

Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

John Mauk

John Mauk

Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Christine Maul Rice

Christine Maul Rice

Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen College of Creative Arts