Writing Retreat, McGregor, Western Cape 22 - 26 November 2023
Wed Nov 22, 14:00 - Thu Nov 23, 12:00
We are gathering in the most beautiful and magical of landscapes for a four-night retreat in summer in South Africa to write.
22 - 26 November 2023
Please also look at our next retreat 6 - 10 March 2024
This retreat is a four-night writing immersion for anyone with a book or a writing project.
Every year we retreat three times for a writing immersion. Anyone with a book, or a writing project is welcome to join. You may be a new writer or an experienced writer who simply needs time away from your life to really settle into your writing.
You will join writing coach and literary agent Sarah Bullen on a journey into quiet, and into your story.
The Venue is the Retreat Centre at Temenos in McGregor, two hours drive out of Cape Town.
Mornings will be a structured sessions, with afternoons free to pour your words onto the page. We gather in the evenings for reading, feedback and storytelling.
I have writers of many different levels coming on these retreats. Some are starting a book and need more guidance, others working on the 2nd or 3rd books. Still other writers join to journal or write poetry. Academic writers are also welcome. Each writer has two personal sessions with me to focus on your project and work on your writing plans and material.
For those who need a push, my structured evening sessions will show you how to write, edit and market your book, find a structure, character, plot, advanced plotting and pace, how to construct scenes, best writing techniques, timelines and schedules, genre and finding your voice, preparing your manuscript, how to approach publishers, how to write your marketing material, new publishing models.
All writing genre's are welcome on this retreat - novels, memoir, non-fiction, poetry, children's books, academic.
Temenos Retreat Centre, McGregor
Temenos is well loved for its beauty and tranquility. It is set in the heart of the small village of McGregor. There are a range of simple, fully equipped cottages. Each cottage sleeps has its own private patio and fireplace for winter visits. The centre is comes from the Buddhist tradition where simplicity and silence are welcomed. There is a swimming pool in the gardens, healing gardens are many private spaces for meditation and quiet reflection and writing. There is an on-site restaurant that offers breakfast lunch and supper. There are 11 cottages and when you book you will be given the list and can select one that calls to you.
Environmentalist journalist Don Pinnock wrote about the place in his story, Billy’s Magic Garden of the Beloved, saying: “While walking the labyrinthine paths of the Garden of the Beloved, getting lost is inevitable and the greatest pleasure. Among the eclectic flowerbeds, woods and ponds are unexpected surprises.“Around a sudden curve in the path you might discover the Inner Temple of the Heart, just big enough for two people with walls in blue stained glass, or the Angel for Lost Children. Sitting on a driftwood bench you could be surrounded by peacocks or have your shoelaces undone by a playful grey cat.
All writing genres are welcome on this retreat - novels, memoirs, non-fiction, academic writers, poetry, children's book.
All the event information is also HERE on my website The Writing Room
I have an entire page of reviews of retreats at this link.
You can find videos, references, and recommendations as well as a load of other retreats, groups, or ways we can write.
WE WILL COVER
- How to define and create your most compelling story
- The elements of structure
- Finding your book genre and sub-genre
- Creating plot, place, and character outlines for your genre
- Adding plot points and structure
- Beginnings, middles, and ends
- Developing your main character
- Developing your minor characters
- Developing your voice
- Developing point of view as a plotting technique
- How to improve your plotting, pace, and structure
- How to make your characters unforgettable
- Adding depth and layers?
- Sourcing tips and techniques
- How to present your book to publishers
Single occupancy room R9,202
Full payment by 05 October 2023
Shared room R7,502 per person
Deposit R5,000 per person
Full payment by 05 October 2023
We will not pair you up with someone, so book this room if you are coming with a partner or friend.
Non Residential Ticket R6,000
limited to 4 places, breakfast not included
Please note a deposit is required to secure your place. This is non-refundable as per our T&Cs. Please be clear before your book as places fill up fast. We can jump on a quick call to discuss if this is right for you.
- 4 nights accommodation
- Breakfast daily
- A guided writing process
- A one-on-one session
- Structured feedback on your project
- All course fees and learning material
- Travel to the venue. We will organise a bus / transfer if you need at a shared cost
- Lunch and dinner will be at your own cost or you can self-cater in your own cottage.
- Visas and Travel Insurance
- Any additional services such as massages, treatments, or extra trips
WHAT PREVIOUS RETREATANTS HAD TO SAY
** We have a full page of retreat reviews from the last 8 years of writing retreats and you can read here
"The McGregor retreat was a real treat! I met some lovely people, talked about writing and reading, meditated, progressed a lot on my story and enjoyed Sarah’s passionate talks. A highlight was Sarah’s storytelling."
Petros Isaakidis, 2021
"Apart from being at lovely venue the retreat in McGregor fired me up to complete my fist draft which I am now doing. I learnt a lot about the practical and business side of getting published."
Jan Glazewski, 2021
"I have been charmed by the magic of being cared for and boosted alongside a group of creative others in a health-giving space, and a month later, my writing is still flourishing under the spell."
UK Journalist Caroline Sylger Jones READ THE FULL REVIEW
"Thank you so much for an unforgettable week. The beautiful energy, the gentle, nurturing environment that blended with the physical care taken with the healthy, organic food, yoga sessions and massages all conspired to bringing about a luxurious introspection into spaces that I have allowed to become dusty corners of my imagination."
Carin Combrink, Forgotten Waterfall, 2019
"I spent this last week with Sarah and the other writers at the Write your Novel Retreat in the Cape. This was truly the most inspiring and motivating thing I have ever done for myself. Sarah's guidance is invaluable. Working our way through the writing process with Sarah has left me feeling far more equipped to pursue my dream. And her personal insights into my project has taken it to another level. I highly recommend this retreat to anyone, regardless of where you are writing wise. Amazing experience."
Hanri Mostert 2017
"There is a special magic that happens in this little village. Creativity is emboldened, a gentle release is inevitable and all anxiety seeps away, allowing and encouraging you to write your book. I was supported and held by the professional and talented partnership that is Sarah and Kate. They are an extraordinary team with heart, backbone and intellect and lots of experience with publishing. If you are considering a writing retreat don't think twice! Do it."
Gabi Lowe 2018, author Get Me to 21
"I attended this retreat in June/July 2019 and have never been on a more profound experience in my life. Kate and Sarah unlocked my creativity with their gentle guidance and their expert knowledge. It is more than just a writers retreat - it is a journey into discovery of self and your potential. I highly recommend this retreat to any one who wishes to write something or even just want to explore their own thoughts. Swimming to the famous rock was a highlight for me and I overcame my limiting beliefs in a very safe environment. Give yourself this gift at least once in your life."
Mary-Joe Emde SA
"If you can only go on one writing retreat in your lifetime, this is the one to choose. Sarah is a truly inspired coach, seconded by Kate. They create a caring, trusting atmosphere conducive to making progress on your own writing. A truly galvanizing experience!"
Beverly Pimsleur USA 2019
"A really wonderful retreat, I went there with one project in mind & came out having written a quarter of a memoir instead. The hosts are AMAZING & the energy of the group was so encouraging, inspiring and uplifting. I have changed for the better since the retreat and attribute these positive changes to the wonderful time I had here."
Ani Naqvi UK 2019
"This "write a novel" course was the best birthday present I ever gave myself. It was set in a beautiful and peaceful environment, was well paced, was information packed with all the basics of how to really write a book, had surprising acts of art and physical exercise included to move the thinking through the body, was practical and honest about how dedicated one must really be to write, and was delicious to be around such inspiring facilitators who are warm, caring and so professional too."
Kate Baxter 2017
"I spent this last week with Sarah and the other writers at the Retreat in the Cape. This was truly the most inspiring and motivating thing I have ever done for myself. Sarah's guidance is invaluable. Working our way through the writing process with Sarah has left me feeling far more equipped to pursue my dream. And her personal insights into my project has taken it to another level. I highly recommend this retreat to anyone, regardless of where you are writing wise. Amazing experience. "
LIBRARY SUITS JAMIL, IONA, AVILA AND LISIEUX We have four library suites adjacent to our beautiful garden library. These are very quiet cottages, ideally suited to guests who enjoy privacy. Choose from one of our four quiet Georgian suites, each room has its own private patio and fireplace.
- JAMIL meaning ‘the beauty of the divine’ has twin beds and a shower. This is a very private suite ideal for retreatingIona is named after the mystical island off Scotland, has a double bed and a free standing bath. Well-loved in winter for its embrace of the morning sun.
- AVILA named after the great mystic Teresa of Avila, has twin beds and a shower, and an enclosed private garden. Liseux is named after the place in France where the ‘little’ Teresa was born and lived. She exemplified finding the Beloved in everyday simplicity.
- ASSISI One of the four thatched cottages. This was our first cottage at Temenos. It has twin beds, a shower, and a private garden patio. In its foundations is buried a rock from Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. Little wonder the birds love being around this cottage.
- CARMEL One of the four thatched cottages. This nestles in a grove of trees and is particularly popular in the hot summer months. It has a double bed and shower as well as a very private back verandah.
- SUBIACO One of the four thatched cottages. . This is named after the cave in Italy where St Benedict wrote his beautiful monastic Rule. A copy is buried in the foundations hopefully inspiring visitors to embrace a contemplative stay during their time at Temenos. The cottage has twin beds and shower, a lovely private garden and braai area.
- SANTA CHIARA One of the four thatched cottages, named after St Clare , the beloved friend of St Francis. It is a very private garden cottage and has a double bed, shower and lovely fireplace.
- THE HERMITAGE - BENI ABBES This private and contemplative cottage is ideal for a retreatant withdrawing into silence and simplicity. It is ideal for the guest who wants to be private and in seclusion in order to embrace inner stillness. It has a double bed, a shower and a lovely, cozy fireplace.
- ATHENA One of two spiral cottages that adjoin the beautiful serene spiral and are adjacent to The Well. It has a lovely verandah, and an excellent fireplace in the bedroom. It has twin beds and a bath and shower.
- BEULAH?One of two spiral cottages that adjoin the beautiful serene spiral and are adjacent to The Well. The room has a cozy fireplace, twin beds and bath and shower, and looks out onto the Spiral garden. It is a few paces away from THE WELL.
Single occupation is R9052. (R4,652 per person + facilitator fee R4,500) Shared accommodation is R7,502 (R3,502 per person + facilitator fee R4,500) Non-Residential Fee is R6,000 (limited to 4 places, breakfast not included) A deposit of R5000 which is non-refundable confirms your place.
Optional Extras:Massage: R600 for 60minutes
*The fee includes free accommodation for Sunday evening forthose that can stay over (highly recommended).*Please note we do not pair youup with another writer so bring along a friend or writing partner if booking ashared room. Therates are inclusive of brunch daily, coffee/tea with snacks as well as allretreat activities and materials used. Lunch and dinner will be at your owncost or you can self-cater in your own cottage. The restaurant, Tebaldi’sat Temenos has a la carte menu, and all the cottages are fully equipped forself-catering. We are nestled right in the heart of the small village andshops, cafes and restaurants are in walking distance. The restaurant,Tebaldi’s at Temenos is closed on Sunday evenings, but you can order a takeawayat the restaurant before 2 pm or choose to self-cater or book for dinner intown.
Sarah Bullen is a multi-published author, international writing coach and literary agent. Founder of The Writing Room and Kent Literary, she has had over 100 books published by writers she has mentored. As well as being a regular guest on talk shows, podcasts and writers’ circles, Sarah has been leading international writing retreats and adventures for the past decade. “There’s a different writing energy when you are away from home and immersed in a creative adventure. Without exception, everyone in the group has a story to share and becomes the learner and the teacher. It is my job to guide this.”Her books include Write your Book in 100 Days! Stop Mucking About & Just Write and Love & Above – A Journey into Shamanism, Coma and Joy.
TRAVEL AND LOCATION
Temenos is well loved for its beauty and tranquility. It is set in the heart of the small village of McGregor. There are a range of simple, fully equipped cottages. Each cottage sleeps has its own private patio and fireplace for winter visits. The centre is comes from the Buddhist tradition where simplicity and silence are welcomed. There is a swimming pool in the gardens, healing gardens are many private spaces for meditation and quiet reflection and writing. There is an on-site restaurant that offers breakfast lunch and supper. There are 11 cottages and when you book you will be given the list and can select one that calls to you. Environmentalist journalist Don Pinnock wrote about the place in his story, Billy’s Magic Garden of the Beloved, saying: “While walking the labyrinthine paths of the Garden of the Beloved, getting lost is inevitable and the greatest pleasure. Among the eclectic flowerbeds, woods and ponds are unexpected surprises.“Around a sudden curve in the path you might discover the Inner Temple of the Heart, just big enough for two people with walls in blue stained glass, or the Angel for Lost Children. Sitting on a driftwood bench you could be surrounded by peacocks or have your shoelaces undone by a playful grey cat.
PAYMENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS1. It is the customer’s responsibility to check the reservation and ensure that the particulars contained therein are correct.2. The customer shall pay The Writing Room a non-refundable, non-transferable deposit as specified above of the total amount due for each person named in the reservation.3. The balance monies due shall be paid by the customer to The Writing Room not less than 6 weeks prior to the date of retreat. Bookings within the last 8 weeks must be paid in full at time of booking.4. If payment of either the deposit or the balance is not received by the due date The Writing Room reserves the right to cancel the reservation and retain the deposit / payment.5. In the event of cancellation by the customer, regardless of the circumstances, the following refund fees, minus the deposit, apply. (The deposit is non-refundable, as mentioned in 2): Cancellation 4 – 6 weeks prior to retreat: If your place is filled, there will be a refund less the non-refundable deposit, but in the event that your place is not filled there will be a refund less 50% of the full fee. Cancellation less than 4 weeks prior to retreat: If your place is filled, there will be a refund less the non-refundable deposit, but in the event that your place is not filled there will be a refund less 75% of the full fee. If your place is not filled, then no refund is possible. Due to teacher cancellations or other situations beyond our control, The Writing Room reserves the right to change bookings or venues and shall inform the customer as soon as possible. Alternative arrangements / new retreat dates will be offered but we do not accept responsibility for any costs incurred, including airfare.7. The Writing Room is not held liable for flight or travel.8. The Writing Room reserves the right to offer discretionary discounts and this does not affect the status of any guests who have paid the full price and no discount will then become due to them.9. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that he/she has all the relevant travel documentation, visas if required and arrives at the airport in time.10. The Writing Room can accept no responsibility for delay or cancellation of any flights, train, buses or other forms of transport.11. The Writing Room reserves the right to alter any facility accommodation or activity in the schedule.12. In the event that the customer decides to downgrade their accommodation after monies have been paid, the customer will not be entitled to any refund. If the customer wishes to upgrade in a new facility, full costs are liable.13. The Writing Room cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage of personal possessions or valuables of the customer.14. The Writing Room shall not be liable for any failures beyond its control. This covers natural disasters, war, ‘acts of God’, closure of airports, civil strife, accidents or failure to perform by third parties, including suppliers and subcontractors. 15. The Writing Room accepts no liability for loss, damage, injury or illnesses which may be received during the customers stay or travelling to and from the Retreat, during the Retreat or any unofficial activities.16. We recommend that all customers have adequate travel, cancellation and medical insurance for the duration of the trip.17. These terms and conditions shall be governed by South Africa Law and the parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts in all matters regarding them.