Writers Abroad Magazine 6 May 2017 - Page 33

WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE: THE THIRD SPACE TREAT YOURSELF TO A RETREAT? BY ALYSON HILBOURNE Writers work mostly in isolation so it comes as pleasant change and a chance to recharge the batteries to join a writing retreat and meet with other like-minded people. Some retreats are taught workshops, while others require you bring a work-in-progress and you will get help with it during your stay. Choosing which to attend comes as a matter of personal choice (and no doubt price), but if your writing needs a kickstart it might be something to consider. I have just been lucky enough to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat for 2017. Writers come in all shapes and sizes and many nationalities, and people were there for a vast range of different reasons – some were published authors around for networking and company as much as anything I think, while others had yet to put pen to paper and begin writing at all. Some people were returning, having attended the retreat all four years of its existence. All-in-all there were about 120 attendees from 20 countries. Everyone was keen and eager to start. The retreat had twelve visiting authors who taught two-hour workshops on a variety of topics from food writing to character to historical setting to family narrative and beginnings to name a few. The classes were small, no more than fifteen in each, and there was plenty of opportunity to interact with the teacher and other participants in the classes I attended. 32 | MAY 2017