Looking for a Writing Retreat? Check Out the Ocean Park Writing Event in Maine

I’m a huge fan of writers conferences, and attend a bunch as a presenter. Rarely do I get invited to an actual writing retreat, which is something similar yet different. A retreat is a longer event with classes and such, but there’s also plenty of time to write with some actual small assignments each dayand the whole thing is typically located in a beautiful setting. There typically isn’t pitching; it’s more about writing and relaxation. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy for a getaway to recharge your writing batteries, check out the Writers Conference at Ocean Park, which is held in Ocean Park, Maine, not far from Saco or Old Orchard Beach. (I know they call it a “conference,” but trust me, it’s a retreat.)

(Check out this page if you’re looking for a list of writers conferences.)


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I actually took this photo when
I was on the faculty in 2007.
Just such a beautiful place.



This retreat happens from Aug. 15–19, 2011 in Ocean Park, Maine, which is in York County (southernmost coastal county) on the coast about 30 minutes south of Portland (where you fly into), and about 1 mile south of Old Orchard Beach. Saco is not far. Kennebuckport is not far. The event is ridiculously affordable. It’s held right near the beach, and the Maine shore in August is a fantastic place to be and clear your mind.


I will be there teaching a lot on getting an agent, writing a query, and the business of getting published. Besides me, the faculty includes several others, including:

  • Kate Flora, author of nine mystery novels including Finding Amy, nominated for the Edgar Award; and Stalking Death, the newest Thea Kozak mystery.
  • Steve Luttrell, appointed Poet Laureate of Portland, Maine in June 2009 and editor of The Café Review a quarterly journal of poetry, art and reviews. 
  • Maria Padian,freelance writer, essayist and author of young adult novels. Her debut novel, Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress (Knopf, 2008) was selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults 2009. Maria’s second book, Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best, was published by Knopf Books for Young Readers in March, 2011.



There are writing contests in different categories. For an extra fee, critiques of queries and synopses are available.

Basically you learn stuff and make friends during the day, then walk on the beach and write at night. If you’re looking for a joint retreat/vacation, I can vouch for this small, intimate event. Learn everything and sign up here.


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2 thoughts on “Looking for a Writing Retreat? Check Out the Ocean Park Writing Event in Maine

  1. Henri

    I lived in Maine for almost 15 years and have never heard of this event though I am well aware of the fine publication, called the Cafe Review. For those, who have not been to Maine before the coastline is not all rocks and lighthouses. In fact, southern Maine, especially York County has many wide sandy beaches. There is even a popular pier and amusement park at Old Orchard, along with the mandatory ice cream stands, seafood restaurants, pizza joints and saltwater taffy outlets. Definitely worth a visit especially at tist price.


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