Does the idea of five days and six nights in a spectacular Nova Scotia seaside setting – where you can indulge in private writing time, participate in workshops with fellow writers, and get feedback from Peter Carver and Kathy Stinson – appeal to you? (Peter is children’s book editor for Red Deer Press, former teacher of writing for George Brown College, and recipient of the Claude Aubry Award for “distinguished contribution to the field of children’s literature.”)
Several participants in this seaside workshop have gone on to secure publishing contracts and to see their manuscripts become books. One participant even won a Governor General’s Award for the project she worked on there and another a GG nomination.
Applications are being accepted for this year’s retreat and workshop, taking place September 8-14, 2013.
The workshop/retreat will once again be held at Peter’s farmhouse property at Sandy Bay (near Port Joli, between Shelburne and Liverpool) on the south shore of Nova Scotia. The recently refurbished house contains a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms, one main floor bedroom, and four upstairs bedrooms. The property also has several outbuildings including a rustic fish-house close to the seashore, fields, woods, rocky shoreline, and a white-sand beach about a mile long and full of wonders waiting to be discovered. Thomas Raddall Provincial Park begins at its far end. Supper will be catered each day and food will be available for participants to fashion their own breakfasts and lunches.
Arrival date for the retreat/workshop participants (maximum of 6) will be Sunday, September 8. Departure date Saturday, September 14. Participants will be responsible for getting themselves to and from Port Joli. Plan on a two-day drive from Toronto or a less than two-hour flight from Toronto to Halifax. It is recommended that participants flying into Halifax coordinate a car rental for the two and a half hours drive from the airport to Port Joli. Keisha, the wonder dog will welcome you on arrival. She has been a key member of the workshop experience since its inception, but tends to sleep during actual workshop sessions. Cost for attending this workshop, including meals, accommodation, and tuition, will be $995. ($25 with application, $125 on acceptance, balance by July 31.)
Deadline for applications is April 30, 2013.
Applicants will be notified (acceptance or not) by May 31.
Here are comments from a few recent participants:
Kathy — your feedback and my time at Nova Scotia (I went twice!) is a HUGE part of Greener Grass. Your insight and experience really helped me find my protagonist Kit and get to know her. You and Peter are fantastic supports and inspirations. I have attended numerous workshops and conferences over the years and by far this one is the most productive and inspiring. The small group format allows us to really delve into the craft and to receive insightful and relevant feedback. The daily personal writing helps me apply what I am learning while it’s still fresh. Uninterrupted writing time… what a gift! Three years later and I still draw upon what I learned at the PJ Workshop, I am still in touch with the writing friends I met there, and I am still planning on returning. What a week! I encourage all authors to apply.
- Caroline Pignat, Kanata ON
Considering I wasn’t sure I could even dedicate myself to writing for three hours at a stretch (or survive without internet), I really surprised myself! I found out so many things: that I need to be involved with a writing group; that I need to learn more about writing for children and, especially, that writing is really something I must do. I felt emotionally overwhelmed in a strange way a couple of times when walking back from the fish house; I guess it was a feeling of fulfillment, satisfaction with looking for the right words for three hours, and occasionally finding them! Because I’m fairly quiet, I think writing provides an alternative outlet for my thoughts. I so enjoyed being part of your community of writers; the sharing of food, the laughs, sharing writing (even being critiqued) and just generally talking about books and a mutual love of words. It was a unique experience for me, and I will carry it with me for a very long time. I so appreciated your generosity in sharing your expertise and experience, to say nothing of your stunning property.
– Jan Coates, Wolfville NS
First of all I want to thank you for your kindness and the time you took to have this workshop. The value of the personal critiquing was enormous and I can’t think of any other way I’d have had it at this point in the progress of my novel. It was what I needed to learn how to deepen and strengthen my characters. I’m grateful for your perceptive comments Kathy and also to both you and Peter for generously sharing your own experiences. So kind of you Peter to set me up in the barn, thus enabling me to have a pretty good bear story to tell my grandchildren.
The group sessions were also helpful, and relationships within the group were very supportive. The atmosphere around the house, including the bear, was a perfect setting for the workshops. Such an opportunity for us to spend time on that coast.
– Beryl Young, Vancouver BC
Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in the workshop. It was more than I could have hoped it to be and I walked away feeling totally moved by the whole experience. I really wasn’t prepared to fall in love with the setting as much as I did nor did I expect to form real friendships and deepen acquaintances in such a short time. I have finally connected to my writing and I now understand that writing is part of who I am rather than part of what I sort of do sometimes. Thank you both for your feedback on my story (especially Kathy), and your encouragement to keep writing it. Now if only the whole world would abide to quiet time for three hours each morning…
– Jenn Ryan, Toronto ON