Retreat West is all about reading and writing fiction.

Retreat West was founded by novelist and short story writer, Amanda Saint, in 2012. So far some of the people that have worked with Retreat West on retreats, courses and competitions include Man-Booker Prize shortlisted author, Alison Moore; Richard & Judy Book Club author, Rowan Coleman; multi-award-winning short story writer, Vanessa Gebbie; Polari Prize winning-novelist and founder of the London Short Story Festival, Paul McVeigh; and the head of the Faber Academy’s fiction programme, novelist and poet, Richard Skinner.

For the First Chapter competitions top literary agents read the shortlisted entries and it’s a great chance for you to get past the slush pile and get your work reviewed by them. So far we’ve worked with Jo Unwin in association with Rogers, Coleridge & Wright; Susan Armstrong, Senior Literary Agent at Conville & Walsh; and Jenny Savill, Senior Literary Agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates. The current competition is being judged by Laura Williams, Literary Agent with Peters, Fraser and Dunlop.

Louise Walters works with Retreat West as a reader for the competitions helping to choose the long lists first and then the shortlisted stories that will go onto the judges to read.

Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and five children. She is the author of two novels, Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase (2014) and A Life Between Us (2017).

Find out more about Louise on her website.

Amanda Saint

Amanda’s debut novel, As If I Were A River, was published in Spring 2016 and was chosen as a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month, longlisted in the Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and included in a WHSmith Travel promotion. Her short stories have appeared on the Fish Flash Fiction longlist, the Ink Tears Short Story competition longlist, and won the monthly Editor’s Choice at 101 Words. They’ve also been published in the best-selling Stories for Homes charity anthology, the 2016 National Flash Fiction Day anthology, A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed, and in various literary magazines.

Amanda Saint has completed the Open University Creative Writing and Literature course; worked as a magazine editor, online editor and manuscript assessor for many years; and has a Diploma in Proofreading & Editing and a degree in Marketing and Communications. She is a member of the Society of Authors and also a mentor on the WoMentoring Project.

Find out more on her website


What People Say

I found your comments incisive and helpful. My story is much better now.

Michelle Scorziello
Michelle Scorziello, Used Critiquing Services

Amanda is a natural at hosting retreats. From inspiring venues to top-calibre tutors, from delicious home cooking to warm hospitality, she has thought of everything and really cares about getting it right.

Isabel Costello
Isabel Costello, Came to the Beach House retreat

Your queries about word choice really helped me crystallise the characters. Definitely the most effective feedback I’ve had.

Amanda Murphy
Amanda Murphy, Used Critiquing Services

Sharp and insightful critique of my first two chapters, at very reasonable cost.

Matt Lewis
Matt Lewis, Used critiquing services