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

I’m a huge fan of events, and love to speak at writers conferences. Rarely do I get invited to an actual writing 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 or an active effort to talk to literary agents; 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.) A retreat is a great way to polish your writing before you go looking for a book agent.

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



This writers 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 query letters and novel 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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