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Delaware Writers Retreat


View of the boat dock from the University of Delaware’s Virden Center in Lewes

Every two years, the Delaware Division of the Arts organizes and hosts a mini Writers Retreat.

2022 Delaware Writers Retreat

The Delaware Division of the Arts is planning to host the 2022 Writers Retreat in person from November 3-6, 2022 at the University of Delaware’s Virden Center in Lewes. Tara Campbell and Chet’la Sebree will be leading the workshops.

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction co-editor at Barrelhouse. She will be leading the prose group. Cambell’s previous publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and CRAFT Literary. She is the author of a novel and four collections.

Chet’la Sebree is a poet, editor, and educator. Sebree is the author of Field Study (FSG Originals, June 2021), winner of the 2020 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is also the author of Mistress, selected as the winner of the 2018 New Issues Poetry Prize and nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry (2020).

The application process is competitive, and participants will be chosen based on the merit of their work. If selected, the fee for the Retreat, is $325, which includes a private room and most meals. The Virden Center is a tobacco-free facility.

Workshop Leaders

Tara Campbell Headshot Photo by Anna Dewitt Carson

Tara Campbell, Prose leader

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, fiction co-editor at Barrelhouse, and graduate of American University’s MFA in Creative Writing. She’s the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers’ Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018 – 2022. Campbell’s publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and CRAFT Literary. She’s the author of a novel and four multi-genre collections including her newest, Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection. She teaches fiction with American University, Johns Hopkins University’s Advanced Academic Programs, the Writer’s Center, Politics and Prose, Catapult, and the National Gallery of Art’s Virtual Studio.

Chet'la Sebree Headshot

Chet’la Sebree, Poetry leader

Chet’la Sebree is the author of Field Study, winner of the 2020 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Mistress, winner of the 2018 New Issues Prize and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from American University and has been awarded fellowships from Baldwin for the Arts, the Delaware Division of the Arts, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, the Stadler Center, the Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo. Her poetry and prose have been published in journals and magazines including The Yale Review, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, and Guernica. Currently, she is working on her debut essay collection as she directs the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts and teaches in the Creative Writing program at Bucknell University.

Eligibility

The Division of the Arts is pleased to support this low-cost multi-day retreat for Delaware writers. The application process is competitive, and participants will be chosen based on the merit of their writing submissions. Work samples will be juried in an anonymous review process to select up to 20 attendees from the pool of applicants split between poetry and prose.

Writers at all levels of experience are invited to apply. While newcomers will be given special consideration, previous attendees of the Division’s Writers Retreats are welcome to apply. A needs-based partial scholarship for new attendees may be available upon acceptance into the Retreat.

Applicants must be Delaware residents for at least one year, over the age of 18, and not enrolled in a degree or certificate granting educational program.

Please note, applicants must select between poetry and prose and submit only one application.

Applications will be available May 23, 2022 in smARTDE and must be submitted by the deadline of July 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. 

Applicants must choose between poetry and prose and submit only one application.

Prose work samples requirements:

  • submit prose in a single document (in PDF format)
  • 10 pages maximum
  • samples may be from more than one work
  • include the title(s) of the work at the beginning
  • pages must be numbered
  • must be double-spaced
  • use 12 point font
  • do not include your name in the sample

Poetry work sample requirements:

  • submit poetry in a single document (in PDF format)
  • 10 pages maximum
  • no more than one poem per page
  • pages must be numbered
  • include the title of the poem
  • poems may be single-spaced
  • use 12 point font
  • do not include your name in the sample

Schedule for application, notification and payment:

July 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Applications due
September 1 All artists are notified by email
September 15

October 15

Payment of $50 deposit due to Division of the Arts along with a copy of your Delaware driver’s license or identification card to reserve your spot

Balance of $275 due

COVID Contingency Plan

If there are COVID-related circumstances that prevent us from meeting in person, the Retreat will be held in a virtual format. If the Retreat goes virtual, the fee will be significantly reduced. We will notify all accepted applicants as soon as possible.

Participants will be required to follow the University of Delaware’s Conference Services and State of Delaware’s health protocols. Not following protocols may be a basis to decline admittance or request a participant to exit from the Retreat and facility. No refunds will be given in such instances.

Meals

The Division will be coordinating with Virden Center staff and a caterer to provide most meals. Accepted participants will be asked to provide information about medical allergies that will be sent to the caterer. The caterer will do its best to accommodate dietary restrictions, and these will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in advance of the Retreat. Participants who have special diets or food intolerances may prefer to bring their own food – each room is equipped with a small refrigerator and microwave to store and heat up food.

Apply now on smARTDE

 

Important Dates

Applications Open: May 23, 2022

Deadline: July 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

All Artists Notified: September 1

Deposit Due: September 15 (non-refundable)

Balance Due: October 15

Retreat Dates: November 3-6, 2022

 

Artist Resources

Grants for Artists

Delaware Artist Roster

Addt’l Resources

 

 


Previous Writers Retreats

2020 Delaware Writers' Retreat participants in Zoom window

Thirteen writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2020 Delaware Seashore Poets and Prose Writers Retreat. In addition to giving writers time to write, the Retreat featured guest instructors Lise Funderburg and Lauren Grodstein who led workshops and gave craft talks.

Writers critiqued each other’s work and generated new writing. Lise and Lauren gave craft talks on conceiving plot, removing obstacles to productivity, and the business of writing. While acknowledging the challenges of the virtual format, one participant noted, “This retreat was excellent and the teachers were amazing. I enjoyed everything and feel that I learned a lot.”

 

 

Group photo from the 2018 Writers' Retreat

Twenty-two writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2018 Delaware Seashore Poets and Prose Writers Retreat. In addition to giving writers time to write, the Retreat featured guest instructors Sandra Beasley and Leslie Pietrzyk who led workshops and gave craft talks.

A collection of poetry and prose written by the 2018 Delaware Seashore Poets and Prose Writers Retreat attendees is currently being edited by Billie Travalini and John Newlin.

Here’s what some of the writers said of the experience…

“I was able to work with diverse participants, obtain really constructive feedback on my work and learn new frameworks for improving my skills.”

“I loved the retreat, sharing work with other writers and having that time to immerse myself in my work. I wrote for hours and hours, happily.”

“I came home feeling uplifted, like I’d accomplished something important and new in my own writing and I felt very connected to the other writers and think this will be a lasting thing as we meet again during the coming year at readings, workshops, etc.”

The 2018 anthology, Rooster in the Henhouse, is for sale on Amazon.

Group photo from the 2016 Writers' Retreat

Twenty-two writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2016 Delaware Seashore Poets and Prose Writers Retreat from November 3-6, 2016, at the Cottages at Indian River Marina, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. One attendee summarized the experience, “Amazing weekend of focusing on writing and interacting with other writers. Did wonders for my confidence in my writing skills.” Workshops were led by novelist, H. G. Carrillo and poet, Diana Goetsch.

Twenty-one writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2014 Cape Henlopen Poetry and Prose Writers Retreat from October 16-19, 2014, at the Virden Conference Center, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate, JoAnn Balingit and Alice Elliott Dark, a short story author and novelist.

Sixteen writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2012 Poets and Writers Retreat at Cape Henlopen from September 27-30, 2012 at the Biden Center, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate, JoAnn Balingit and Frank Giampietro; and Tama Baldwin, creative nonfiction.

Fifteen writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2010 Poets and Writers Retreat at Cape Henlopen from October 21-24,2010 at the Biden Center, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate, JoAnn Balingit and poet, Frank Giampietro.

Sixteen writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2008 Poetry and Fiction Writers Retreat at Cape Henlopen from October 23-26, 2008 at the Biden Center, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate, JoAnn Balingit novelist, Dr. Cruce Stark.

Sixteen writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2006 Poetry and Fiction Writers Retreat at Cape Henlopen from October 19-22, 2006 at the Biden Center, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate, Dr. Fleda Brown  Balingit and novelist, Dr. Cruce Stark.

Sixteen writers from around the state attended the Division’s 2004 Poetry and Fiction Writers Retreat at Cape Henlopen from October 14-17, 2004 at the Biden Center, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate, Dr. Fleda Brown  and novelist, Dr. Cruce Stark.

Twelve poets from around the state attended the Division’s inaugural Poetry Writers Retreat at Cape Henlopen from October 3-6, 2002 at the Biden Center, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, Delaware. Workshops were led by former Delaware Poet Laureate,  Dr. Fleda Brown.

 


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