Take a Writer's Retreat in Canada with Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto, but the celebrated Canadian author is also a longtime seasonal resident of Pelee Island. The land mass sits in Lake Erie, between Sandusky, Ohio and Essex County, Ontario, and is filled with rare plants and animals, including many migratory bird species. Soon, it will also be home to a brand-new writer’s retreat, with Atwood as a confirmed instructor.

Dawn Kresan, a Canadian writer and editor, has launched an Indiegogo campaign (with a goal of $25,000 Canadian) to raise start-up costs for the Pelee Island Book House and Writers' Retreat.

“It has been my dream to create a writers’ retreat on Pelee Island for over a decade,” she writes on Indiegogo, citing the island’s beauty, wildlife, and robust arts community. “Taking part in a Pelee Island writing retreat will give authors the opportunity to focus on their work, free of distraction.” As for nature lovers, they can participate in an annual retreat sponsored by the Pelee Island Bird Observatory (PIBO), which will host a nature writing workshop.

Sadly, the Indiegogo campaign doesn’t cover participants’ admission costs. Writers will have to shell out as much as $1200 for a 7-day retreat, and $800 for a 5-day one. The sticker price covers cottage accommodations, meals, ferry transportation to and from Pelee Island (you’ll have to pay any other travel expenses yourself), and writing workshops. The 7-day retreat offers two master classes with an instructor, while the 5-day retreat offers one. And if you want to save money and focus on solo writing time, you can skip the classes and opt for a lower-cost, self-directed 6-day residency.

The retreats and residencies will begin in the spring of 2017. Atwood’s first retreat will run from May 23 to 29. She doesn’t lead every single excursion, so if your heart is set on fine-tuning your craft with your favorite author, schedule your time accordingly. (A full list of instructors is posted on the retreat’s website.)

Looking to devote some serious time to a manuscript, and possibly work with Atwood? The retreat's admission details are available online. You can also contribute money to the Indiegogo campaign, which ends in a month, and receive reduced prices on future bookings as well as other perks.

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