Creative writing retreats, workshops, critiques and competitions

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Creative Writing Retreats

Up your word count and learn with great authors on residential writing retreats.


Online Creative Writing Courses

Get writing with the online courses.


Get your work read by top literary agents, win cash prizes and get published in the creative writing competitions.


Discover great new authors and read great stories with Retreat West Books.

2019 First Chapter Competition Shortlist

April 24, 2019
2019 First Chapter Competition Shortlist Ta da, we have our shortlist! Thanks again to everyone who submitted and to all of the writers on the longlist for their patience while Louise and I made the decision on which 10 stories would go through to the next round for literary agent, Sarah Hornsley at The Bent Agency, to read. Congratulations to the following writers – your opening chapters really grabbed us. A Pair of Blue Butterflies by Claire Whatley Behold The Stars by Imogen Harris Caught Kissing Adam Faith by Neil Taylor Cold Harbour by Marian Smith My Name is Ten by Coleen MacMahon Red Fox Hiding by Nicola Keller Ruby Sixpence Whistles Up A Storm by Anita Belli The Darkest Harbour by Catherine Day The Joy Divide by Diane Wilson Violet by Zoe Cook   Good luck to all for the next round. Really well done to all writers that made the longlist too as yours stood out among the hundreds of chapters we received. Final results in May when the first place writer gets a submission package review from Sarah, and the runner-up from me. Sarah will provide short comment on all the shortlisted chapters too in the announcement blog. Details of the 2020 competition will be released in the summer…

New comp: Win flash writing courses and writing maps

April 4, 2019
It’s been a while since we had a one-off comp to win a place on our courses so here we are with a new one! We’ve also got some gorgeous Writing Maps as a prize too. What can you win? 1st Prize: A place on the group online Fantastic Flashing Course (3-16th June 2019) 2nd Prize: The start anytime work alone online Fantastic Flashing Course 3rd Prize: 2 Writing Maps – The Description Writing Map and The Voice and Point of View Writing Map All winning stories get published on the website.   Who chooses the winner? Amanda Saint – novelist, short fiction writer, creative writing tutor and publisher at Retreat West. How do you win? You write something of course! Send us your flash stories from the prompt. What is the prompt? This picture:                   What’s the word limit? Max 300 words. No minimum. What’s the deadline? 23.59 on 28th April 2019 What’s the entry fee? £6 How do you enter? Through Submittable using this button:   We look forward to reading your submissions!  

2019 First Chapter Competition Longlist

April 3, 2019
Louise and I are excited to announce our longlisted chapters for the 2019 competition. We have read 311 chapters over the past couple of months and 40 of those have been longlisted. We will now re-read these to choose the shortlist of 10 that will go to the final judge, literary agent Sarah Hornsey (nee Manning) at The Bent Agency, to read. Thanks to all of the writers who took part and we really enjoyed reading your entries. Well done to the authors of the longlisted novels below. readings are still anonymous at this stage so please don’t let us know what yours is called if it is shown here. Good luck for the next round!   2019 First Chapter Competition Longlist A Dangerous Age A Different Reality A Pair Of Blue Butterflies Another Truth Behold the Stars Caught Kissing Adam Faith Cold Harbour Descendants Hacking At The Anchor Heist Flick His Other Woman Middle C: A Novel My Name Is Ten Offerings of A Small Destiny Persona (Non Grata) Prohibition Purple Gold Red Fox Hiding Ribbons Of Light Ruby Sixpence Whistles Up A Storm Swimming Lesson The Cherry Picker The Cloth of Night The Contrabandist The Cure The Darkest Harbour The Joy Divide The Leopard’s Daughter The Mother Of Gods The Shadow Puppet The War Between Us The Wash The Whiteout There Is A Shape To Everything Undercurrent Unsound Violet We Have Ourselves Women And Children First Words We Should Have Said   We will make the shortlist announcement by the end of this month and the winners will be revealed in May. Details of the 2020 competition will be online later in the year.