The tranquility of Pelee Island in Ontario, Canada, has long been treasured by artists and writers, including â€œThe Handmaidâ€™s Taleâ€ author Margaret Atwood, who has a cottage on the island.
Now new lakefront lodging, Pelee Island Book House, is offering other authors and writers a chance to experience the Canadian islandâ€™s charms while honing their craft through a series of week-long writersâ€™ retreats, with seminars conducted by celebrated authors including Atwood.
The retreats, for accomplished and aspiring writers, feature limited single- and multiple-occupancy rooms and include three buffet-style meals a day (quite good, if my experience holds), ferry transportation to and from the island, and workshops and master classes.
I was lucky enough to attend several days of a session led by the brilliant Alissa York, Canadian author of the novel â€œThe Naturalist.â€
I was inspired by the insights that York and the other writers who attended brought to several feedback sessions. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and as a writer (or at least a newspaperman), I appreciated hanging out and spending time with others who face some of the same creative conundrums.
Hostess Dawn Kresan, a published poet, made sure that everyone had what they needed to work, think, share, focus — or even relax.
Several of the writers shared their work at a public reading at Book House one evening, a delightful affair with wine, snacks and some really powerful prose. I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if the readings become a regular fixture of the island scene.
Although the spring sessions are now over, Book House will offer several writersâ€™ retreats in the fall.
— On Sept. 11-17, author Paul Vasey will lead a session on memoir writing.
— On Sept. 19-23, award-winning poet Cassidy McFadzean will direct a lyric-poetry session.
— On Oct. 2-8, novelist, screenwriter and blogger Chuck Wendig will lead a session called â€œGenre Writing: How Story Transcends Genre.â€
The cost ranges from $600 to $1,200 per session, depending on session length and room choice.
Book House offers lower-cost, â€œself-directedâ€ writer residencies June 5-10 and Oct. 5-15. The lovely beach house is also available for rent when no writersâ€™ sessions are scheduled.
For more information on Book House writersâ€™ retreats and rentals, visit PeleeIslandWriting.com.
— Steve Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SteveStephens.