The Retreat West Team of story lovers!
Amanda started Retreat West in 2012 and expanded to include Retreat West Books in 2017. She has been designing and teaching online courses, and live workshops, for many years and has worked as an editor on hundreds of manuscripts.
Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her second novel, Remember Tomorrow, published in March 2019 to critical acclaim.
Amanda’s stories have been widely published; long/short listed in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, Fish Flash Fiction Prize, Ink Tears Short Story Prize, Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition, Flash 500 and V300; and won the Editor’s Choice Prize at 101 Words. She is currently working on a flash collection and a novella-in-flash and training to be a Mindfulness Teacher and Counsellor.
Gaynor works with Retreat West helping to promote the books we publish, and providing editorial and web support. She is an award winning writer known for her strange and surreal takes on life. In 2018 Gaynor won the Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award at the Belfast Book Festival and was named Northern Writer of the Year at the Northern Soul Awards.
In 2019 her flash fiction collection, Business As Usual, received a special mention in the Saboteur Awards for Best Short Story Collection. Her work has been widely published, including in The Forge, Barrelhouse, Ellipsis Zine and the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology. She has won or been placed in several competitions and won first prize in the 12th round of the prestigious Bath Flash Fiction Award. She lives in Greater Manchester with her husband, dog, small child and a headful of weird ideas.
Debbi works with Retreat West running Friday Flashing sessions and the monthly feedback group for our community members.
Debbi writes flash fiction, short stories and novels. She had two novellas-in-flash published in 2021 (Only About Love with Fairlight Books, and The 10:25 with Flash:The International Short-Short Story Press). Only About Love received a special mention in the 2022 Saboteur Awards and was shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Prize 2022.
Debbi is currently seeking an agent and publisher for her novel, The Reset, which is written in short, flash-like chapters. She is also working on her next novel whilst running creative writing workshops, events, and courses on Zoom, and offering mentorships and guidance for people working on writing projects.
We also have freelance tutors working with us to run courses and host workshops, including:
- C.M. Taylor
- Isabel Costello
We have a volunteer reading team that helps Amanda select stories for the competitions. We’re very grateful for the help from:
- Amy Barnes
- Joanna Campbell
- Emma Finlayson-Palmer