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.

2023 Writers Retreat Faculty: (See workshop descriptions below)

  • John Mauk: Story and Subtext: Writing for Wonder - *Workshop Full
  • Anne-Marie Oomen: Literary Cross Training - *Workshop Full
  • Christine Maul Rice: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Best First Beginnings & Beyond - *Workshop Full
  • Lesley Alicia Tye: Bring the Drama
    *Please email college@interlochen.org to be added to the waitlist.

2023 Guest Speakers:

  • Ignatius Valentine Aloysius
  • Teresa J. Scollon
  • Aaron Stander

2023 Writers in Residence

  • Fleda Brown
  • Patricia Ann McNair

Course Dates: Sunday, June 4 to Friday, June 9, 2023
Registration Fee: $650
Early Registration Fee: $600 (Early Registration Ends April 15, 2023)
Michigan Writers Registration Fee: $550
Registration Deadline: Monday, May 29, 2023

K-12 Educators: Earn 22 State of Michigan SCECH clock hours by attending the 2023 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 the current 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.

The Anne-Marie Oomen and Katey Schultz ICCA Creative Writing Scholarship application is now closed. 

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.

John Mauk: Story and Subtext: Writing for Wonder

Great stories are a silent scream. They are brimming with subtext—the quiet knowledge beneath events themselves. Simply put, subtext is the unstated stuff in every story. It is made from the murmurs of life: shared understanding, assumed history, emerging suspicions, hopes, fears, needs, all the strange and unspeakable notions that haunt our waking moments. Fiction, and plenty of creative nonfiction, relies on subtext to create intimacy. In other words, subtext allows the reader to enter the story, to grapple with it, to make meaning within it, to wonder about it. This may sound theoretical, like some ultra-advanced dimension of fiction, but it’s fundamental. It’s crucial. And here’s the good news: it’s easy to manage once we get into the right gear. We can make our stories work better if we tune our narrative attention to the quietest frequencies. This workshop will focus on the tricky but wildly energizing world of subtext. We’ll help one another to tap into the muted layers of story lurking beneath the language itself and behind the scenes. Our sessions will be highly interactive. We’ll write, share passages, offer support, and indulge in one another’s efforts. All week, we’ll hold fast to a basic principle: we can all do this.

Anne-Marie Oomen: Literary Cross Training

In this generative workshop, we will play on many fields.  We will explore models in which writers have crossed genres, blurred the lines between journalism and lyric, poetry and drama, historical documents (including letters) and poetry or memoir. We will investigate ekphrasis (writing from art) and other strategies for playing with forms that don’t fit the norms.  Though I am not sure what your drafts will say, your writings just might become a little more adventurous—and they might not fit a single genre, might exercise in several arenas.  There will be some research involved, a field trip, and some speculative prompts.  This class is for those who find multi-genre or cross-genre inspiring on its own merit and for enriching their chosen genre. Please do be prepared to look at pictures and take walks. 

Christine Maul Rice: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Best First Beginnings & Beyond

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote: All life is an experiment. With that sentiment in mind, what's the experiment (idea, thought, glimmer) you haven't tried? What's the idea you've tucked away in your grey matter but haven't quite gotten around to putting on the page? An idea for a short story, novel, memoir, or hybrid work? Perhaps you are struggling with on-going material or a revision, but are stuck in the same old, same old. Is it because you aren't sure how to begin? Are you filled with self-doubt? Do you need a push off the cliff to learn how to fly on the way down? In this workshop, you'll take chances, mix genres, experiment with different forms (poetry, letters, lists, how-tos, among others). We'll also discuss and experiment with the universal elements of scene—character, setting, plot, and structure—to get your story on the page.

Lesley Alicia Tye: Bring the Drama

For writers interested in learning more about or furthering their dramatic writing, this class will focus on elements that connect to writing for both the stage and screen but still apply to other genres. We’ll take deep dives into dialogue work and examine what makes a good scene, grapple with how to create compelling conflict and explore character development, and focus on the power of the concrete image. But we will also explore how different genres might approach the same content using the tools of their respective medium. How does a stage play handle metaphor vs a screenplay, and how do we know the story we want to tell is right for each form? Generative prompts will allow writers to experiment in a variety of genres, and we’ll even do some work with adaptations. We will also allow some freedom to delve into topics that might be of particular interest to participants in the areas of playwriting and screenwriting.

2023 Writers Retreat Faculty

Patty McNair

Patricia Ann McNair

Artistic Director of Writers Retreat, Instructor of Creative Writing

Anne-Marie Oomen

Anne-Marie Oomen

Instructor of Creative Writing

Lesley Tye

Lesley Alicia Tye

Instructor of Creative Writing and Film & New Media