Who We Are

The Retreat West Team

Amanda Saint

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; longlisted in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, Fish Flash Fiction Prize, and Ink Tears Short Story Prize; shortlisted for the Flash 500; and won the Editor’s Choice Prize at 101 Words. She is currently working on a flash collection and a novella-in-flash. 


Gaynor Jones

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.


El Rhodes

El works with Retreat West running Friday Flashing workshops and hosting the monthly community webinars.

El is an archaeologist who lives in Cardiff and Wiltshire. Her poetry and prose has been widely published in anthologies, journals, and competition placings. She runs workshops on Creative Nonfiction for the Crow Collective, regularly facilitates creative writing sessions at numerous U.K. literary festivals, and is the Prose Editor at Twin Pies Literary. New fiction appears in the Honno Press anthology, ‘Cast A Long Shadow’ and nonfiction in the Parthian Press anthology ‘An Open Door – Travel Writing For A Precarious Century’.


We also have freelance tutors working with us to run courses and host workshops, including:

  • Amanda Huggins
  • Mary-Jane Holmes
  • Tom O’Brien
  • C.M. Taylor
  • Isabel Costello
  • Anika Carpenter

Our community has regular articles on all aspects of the craft of writing from Amanda Saint along with guest contributors:

  • Matt Kendrick
  • Jamie D. Stacey
  • Fiona Longsdon

We have a volunteer reading team that helps Amanda Saint select stories for the competitions. We’re very grateful for the help from:

  • Amy Barnes
  • Joanna Campbell
  • Emma Finlayson-Palmer
  • Louise Walters