Interlochen Arts Academy is still accepting applications for our upcoming academic year, which begins Sept. 5. Limited spots available. Application deadline: Aug. 22, 2022!

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 include Flipping the DeskMixing (& Mashing) It Up: Writing Across Genres; The Devil is in the Details: People, Places, Situations, & Things; and What Ifs & Other Wonderings. Please see course descriptions in the drop-downs below. 

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.

2022 Writers Retreat Faculty:

  • John Mauk - Flipping the Desk
  • Christine Maul Rice - Mixing (& Mashing) It Up: Writing Across Genres
  • Eric Charles May - The Devil is in the Details: People, Places, Situations, & Things
  • Patricia Ann McNair - What Ifs & Other Wonderings
  • Anne-Marie Oomen - Writer in Residence
  • Katey Schultz - Writer in Residence

Course Dates: Sunday, June 5 to Friday, June 10, 2022
Registration Fee: $550 
Michigan Writers Registration Fee: $500
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Register Now 

K-12 Educators: Earn 22 State of Michigan SCECH clock hours by attending the 2022 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.


Writers are intellectually curious, perhaps even rebellious. This does not mean our projects must roar against the status quo. It simply means we come at topics and situations hoping to see something different, novel, slightly odd, or beautifully divergent. Great fiction, nonfiction, and poetry captivates because it so often pushes our thinking into new places. It flips the intellectual desk, sometimes in dramatic ways but also in subtle, elegant, and sneaky ways. We finish a book and realize, somehow, we’re on the other side of a river, on the dark side of a strange moon, or completely beyond familiarity.

In this workshop, we’ll get adventurous. We’ll apply some ancient (and powerful) strategies for overturning, unpacking, and re-shaping ideas. We’ll see what we, our narrators, and our characters can allow. Whether working on a new project or mature draft, participants will experiment with their thinking. We’ll help one another to intensify prose, enliven scenes, amp up dialog, or even (re)engineer a plot. Our sessions will be highly interactive. We’ll share passages, offer support, and indulge in one another’s efforts. All week, we’ll hold fast to a basic principle: if the thinking is fresh, the writing is fun.

Is your writing a blend of memory and wholly imagined events? Most likely. But, if not, why? During our days together, we’ll think deeply about where and how fiction and nonfiction merge by reading a number of texts, looking at various objects and images, and even listening to music. We’ll explore avenues that will lead us to fresh characters, unintended places, and tension-filled situations. Students might come to the workshop with a short story, novel chapter, or nonfiction essay they’d like to investigate further or students might come to the workshop with nothing particular in mind. Either way, be open to the endless possibility of creation.

The dramatic action of stories, be they factual or fictional, take place in specific places, with specific people, in specific situations, using specific things. What are effective ways to describe these story components that will engage readers and avoid cliches? Using a wide range of fiction and nonfiction examples from writers past and present—Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, James Baldwin, Louise Erdrich, Anne-Marie Oomen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maxine Hong Kingston, Henry Fielding, and more. The class will read, discuss, and explore through writing ways to effectively introduce and present the people, places, situations, and things of our prose story writings.

As writers, it is essential that we trust deeply and explore the many possibilities of our imaginings. This workshop will push us past what we think we know about the narratives we are making, and help us to expand the parameters of our stories. Reading from models written by a variety of published writers, we will consider the potential of what we don’t yet know and haven’t planned in our own work. And we will write! Whether we are grappling with a new draft or one in need of fresh revision, these activities and readings will help us write into the wonder and through to pages of discovery.

Anne-Marie and Katey will serve as our writers-in-residence to the participants of the 2022 Writers Retreat, making themselves available for one-on-one tutorials and meetings.

Participants may sign up at the Retreat for a limited number of spots, and should be prepared with questions pertinent to their craft, genre, specific project, or the larger topics of book publishing, blogging, touring, and publicity.

While this is a chance to ask questions and work with award-winning authors, the writer-in-residence role is not designed to allow for critiques of manuscripts. Please bring questions, but not pages.

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.

2022 Writers Retreat Faculty

Patty McNair

Patricia Ann McNair

Artistic Director of Writers Retreat, Instructor of Creative Writing

John Mauk

John Mauk

Instructor of Creative Writing

Christine Maul Rice

Christine Maul Rice

Instructor of Creative Writing

Eric Charles May

Eric Charles May

Instructor of Creative Writing

Anne-Marie Oomen

Anne-Marie Oomen

Writer-in-Residence, Instructor of Creative Writing

Lesley Tye

Lesley Alicia Tye

Instructor of Creative Writing and Film & New Media

Katey Schultz