Murphy Writing of Stockton University and Swansea University Present
A Getaway for Poets, Fiction and Nonfiction Writers
July 8-15, 2014 - Filled!
The 2014 program has finished. Sign
up for our email list to
be notified about future dates and our other writing retreats.
Are you a writer who loves to travel? Join us this summer as we
head to Wales to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Dylan
Thomas' birth. Thomas, one of the 20th century's most famous
poets and Wales' most celebrated writer, is best known for his
literature of place, often conjuring images of vast seascapes,
remote villages and eccentric urban life. Immerse yourself in
the literary landscape immortalized in his poetry and prose.
away to write and be inspired:
||Advance your craft and energize your writing in supportive
||Explore Wales, a spectacular, lesser known Celtic gem
||Enjoy an encouraging community and socializing with local
You will take up residence on Swansea University's beachfront
campus in a comfortable single room with a private bath. Swansea
Bay's stunning coastal scenery will be on your doorstep, yet you
will only be two miles from the city center which offers a
thriving cultural scene and all the perks of city life.
This writing vacation, brought to you by the organizers of the
Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway and led by award-winning author Peter Murphy,
will offer challenging and supportive workshops, readings by
local writers and time to soak in the atmosphere. Peter has led
hundreds of workshops and retreats for writers and teachers. His
unique prompts and insightful feedback have helped thousands
find voice and direction. Whether you plan to begin new material
or continue an ongoing project, you will return home from this
unique adventure energized, with a substantial body of fresh
writing and ideas on how to develop it.
In addition to stimulating writing workshops, you will have the
chance to visit Swansea's cozy cafes and pubs, learn about the
country's rich literary heritage and enjoy excursions along the
beautifully rugged coastline to quaint villages, world-renown
beaches and Dylan Thomas sites including his famed boathouse in Laugharne.
"I think you, Peter, are one of the best writing teachers
around, certainly the best I've ever had, the proliferation of
MFA programs notwithstanding. You create a space where writers
can REALLY GROW, and my manuscript and I are very happy to have
been in it for a week."
~ Kate, Memoir, New York, NY, 2010 Wales Getaway Participant
Welcome to Wales! /
Croeso i Cymru! While Wales is often thought of as one entity with the rest of Britain, it
is different in landscape, culture, tradition and language. Wales is a
bilingual country; everyone speaks English but you will have fun learning to
pronounce some Welsh basics and reading the signs which are written in both
languages. A safe and modern country, Wales is a short flight from Europe
and seven hours from the East Coast of the US.
In addition to Dylan Thomas, Wales' rich literary heritage includes
connections to Roald Dahl, Bertrand Russell, Doctor Who and Hay-on-Wye,
known as "The Town of Books." Wales has been inspiring poets and writers
since the 6th century. Its breathtaking landscape introduced the legend of
King Arthur, and Tintern Abbey is perhaps best known from Wordworth's great
You will be astounded by Wales' natural beauty. Like its better known
Celtic neighbors, Ireland and Scotland, Wales is full of friendly people and
beautiful open space to breathe. Just a short drive from Swansea, you will
find flowery, green landscapes, rolling hills, dramatic waterfalls and
Did you know?
||Swansea, with a population of a quarter million, is the second
largest city in Wales and is on the shortlist to be the UK's next
City of Culture.
||Swansea University is home to the Richard Burton Archives.
||Wales has 641 castles, 3 million people, 3 national parks and 11
million sheep. Bah...
||Wales was a pioneer of the "Eat Local" movement and its
restaurants are proud to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Using our exotic location in Wales, the workshop will focus on
place—geographical, imaginative and emotional. Each day you will join Peter and
your fellow writers to discuss craft issues around a packet of stories, poems
and essays chosen to stimulate your imagination. This anthology will form the
backbone of the conversation and will include work by classic and contemporary
British and American authors including, of course, popular and lesser-known
selections by Dylan Thomas. Peter will guide you through freewriting exercises
relevant to the day's discussion and then give you one of his unique writing
prompts and send you off to work.
Peter's assignments are designed to challenge you to stretch your imagination
and produce new work that will surprise and please you. They are crafted to be
effective whether you are starting a new poem or prose piece, or working on a
long-term project such as a novel, memoir or other nonfiction manuscript. In
fact, Jane Street Press has published Challenges for the Delusional, which
features 20 of Peter's prompts with an anthology of the published poems they've
inspired, including work by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn, Dorianne Laux,
Kathleen Graber and James Richardson.
Several times during the week, you will participate in supportive feedback
sessions. You will have the opportunity to share your new writing, to reflect on
what you wrote, get responses on what worked well and receive suggestions for
strengthening the next draft.
While different genres have different demands, Peter has found that fiction
writers, nonfiction writers and poets can learn much about their own craft by
working together in a mixed-genre workshop. For example, playing with dialogue,
setting and point of view can make a poem more surprising and meaningful. Paying
attention to compression, rhythm and sound can make a work of prose stronger and
"Peter Murphy is an inspirational force of nature! He is wonderful at
fostering a warm, inviting environment in which writing comes easily. The
writing community is blessed to have his leadership and presence."
~ 2013 Shore Thing Writing Getaway Participant
Afternoons are free for you to use as you wish:
||Time to write.
||Stroll on the seaside promenade adjacent to campus.
||Visit Swansea's castle, markets, museums and "high
street" shopping area.
||Explore the unspoiled countryside and sandy beaches
where you can hike, swim, surf or simply relax.
In the evenings you can continue writing, socialize or partake in
Swansea's cultural scene and nightlife. You will even have the opportunity
to participate in a local literary tradition: The Crunch, Swansea's
long-running open mic.
Sample Daily Schedule
||Free Time for writing and other activities
View the full
Peter E. Murphy has led hundreds of workshops for writers and
teachers. He was born in Wales and grew up in New York City where he operated
heavy equipment, managed a nightclub and drove a cab. He is the author of seven
books and chapbooks including Stubborn Child, a finalist for the 2006
Paterson Poetry Prize. His recent essays and poems appear in The Common,
Diode, Guernica, The Hawaii Pacific Review, The
Lindenwood Review, Mead, The New Welsh Reader, Passager,
Rattle and Rhino. He has received fellowships and awards for
writing and teaching from The Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Folger
Shakespeare Library, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The New Jersey
State Council on the Arts, Yaddo and the White House Commission on Presidential
Scholars. Peter is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University which
includes the Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway and other programs for poets, writers
and teachers. Read a
brief interview with Peter.
Alan Bilton teaches literature, film and creative writing at Swansea
University. He is the author of two novels, The Known and Unknown Sea
(Cillian, 2014) and The Sleepwalkers' Ball (Alcemi, 2009), the latter
described by one critic as "Franz Kafka meets Mary Poppins." He is also the
author of Silent Film Comedy and American Culture (2013), An
Introduction to Contemporary American Culture (2002) and co-editor of
America in the 1920s (2004).
Quinn and Les Mills write, animate and produce creative and commercial
films. Their first collaboration was the animated short Girl’s Night
Out, which introduced their recurring character Beryl and successfully
launched Joanna’s career as a world-class animator. Two of their films,
Famous Fred (1996) and The Wife of Bath (1998) have received Oscar
nominations. Joanna’s masterpiece, Britannia, a brilliantly biting view of
British Imperialism, won the prestigious Leonardo Da Vinci award, which
ironically was presented by Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. They are
best known commercially for creating the Charmin Bear characters and
commercials. They currently teach master classes are are working on
pre-production for the next Beryl film in the "Dreams & Desires" series
Affairs of the Art.
Watch one of Joanna and Les' short films.
"Thank you. You did a great job in putting
together a week well balanced in writing, workshopping and touring, but what
made it really stand out was our involvement with the locals as we became
part of the culture and experienced it from the inside."
~ Patricia, Fiction and Nonfiction, Allendale, NJ, 2013
Scotland Getaway Participant
You will be housed in comfortable student apartments, centrally located on
the University of Swansea campus.
||Each apartment has 8 en-suite bedrooms and a shared
||You will have your own bedroom with a twin bed,
private bathroom and a writing desk.
||Bed linens and towels will be provided, but there
will not be a daily housekeeping service.
||Internet access is available throughout the campus
and you will be able to use the University's coin operated laundry
and computer labs.
Several travelers typically bring non-participating guests. These guests are
spouses, significant others, friends and family members. The standard set up is
for a guests to have their own single room with private bath in a room adjoining
yours. For couples, there are a limited number of shared rooms available on a
first come, first served basis.
Contact us for details.
The group will dine together for breakfast, lunch, most dinners as well as
morning coffee breaks. Meals will be served buffet style with a variety of
choices including vegetarian options. If you have dietary restrictions you
will be able to indicate them on the registration form. Swansea University
achieved recognition as Wales' first Fair Trade University in May 2004 and
remains committed to incorporating Fair Trade products in all aspects of its
catering. The University also uses locally sourced produce wherever possible
to create a unique and truly mouthwatering menu that gives you a real flavor
You will embark on two excursions to cultural and historical sites. While neither
of the trips will be "extreme," they will involve walking and moderate physical
activity. The trips will tie into the writing you are doing and will take you
Excursion 1: Swansea and Rhossili Bay
We will start with a walking tour of Swansea.
Our guide will share literary, cultural and historical highlights to help you
develop a sense of the place where you will be spending the week. Then we will head to Rhossili Bay, which is considered the third best beach in Europe according to a
TripAdvisor survey. In Rhossili, you will have free time to enjoy the beach and
village. Before heading home, you may choose to walk out on the magnificent
Worm's Head or dine on fresh seafood at the gourmet Worm's Head Hotel with its
spectacular cliff-top view.
Excursion 2: Dylan Thomas' Wales
This literary excursion will start with a visit to Dylan Thomas' birthplace
before heading to the Dylan Thomas Centre to view an exhibition on his life and
work. Then the bus will head west to his famous Boathouse at Laugharne, where he
composed Under Milkwood. You will have free time to explore the village
and its castle. Before returning to Swansea, we will stop at a traditional pub
where you can indulge in a Sunday roast or fish and chips.
"The program was one of the most enjoyable vacations I ever had. The
friendships, the creativity, the entire experience of the workshop, guest
speakers and excursions amounted to a trip I will never forget. It helped me as
a writer, as a potential novelist, and I'll be back."
~ Walt M., Novelist, Linwood, NJ, 2009 Wales Getaway Participant
Swansea is on the coast and summer temperatures average a low of
58 to a high of 68 F, but it's not uncommon for it to be in the
high 70s some days. July is the driest month but you will want
to pack your "Mackintoshes" and "Wellies" just in case. With 16
hours of daylight, the sun will not set until 9:30 at night.
I write both poetry and fiction. Do I need to have a project in mind to
No, a number of our participants write both poetry and prose. It's not
uncommon for someone to decide what form their writing will take after Peter
gives the prompt.
How big will the workshop be?
Our international writing retreats generally have about 15 participants. Plus several travelers typically bring
I've been to dozens of workshops. What will I get out of this one?
Peter challenges experienced writers to push beyond their usual limits. If
you have been writing for decades, he will compel you to go deeper, take
more risks and experiment with form and content. We know that experienced
writers benefit from our programs based on the fact that hundreds of
"re-PETERs" have attended three or more of our writing getaways.
Try one of
Peter's prompts from Challenges for the Delusional.
I'm new to writing workshops. Will I fit in?
Absolutely! Peter's unique prompts will allow this supportive program to
benefit both beginning and experienced writers. We pride ourselves on
building an encouraging community of writers where all feel welcome.
"Attending was a big deal for me since I'd never been to a writing
retreat before. It turned out to be fabulous—the atmosphere was perfect for
writing and Peter was an excellent teacher. His lessons were unique and
helped uncork my writing, getting me to think and use my writing time
wisely. I highly enjoyed the trip and would recommend a Murphy Writing
retreat to absolutely anybody, whether a novice or pro."
~ Michelle, Poetry, Huntsville, TX, 2012 Wales Getaway Participant
The 2014 program is filled. View
photos from the retreat and sign up for our
email list to find out
about future writing retreats in the US and abroad.
Program Fee — $2,195 — includes the following:
||Accommodations for 7 nights/8 days (single room
with private bath) in shared apartment
||17 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
||Morning coffee breaks during the writing workshop
||Pick up and return transportation from Swansea bus
||2 excursions (Transportation, admissions, tours and
gratuities. A brown bag lunch will be provided on excursion days.
Both trips will offer a dinner stop which is not included in this fee.)
||Cultural activities including readings with local
||Use of Swansea University library and computers
||Private trip website providing travel
recommendations and a packing list
||Suggested itineraries for additional travel in
Wales and London
Fees do not include airfare, transportation to Swansea,
college credit, additional meals, additional gratuities or personal
Take advantage and save:
● "re-PETER" Discount ($75) if you've attended any of our
Several travelers typically bring spouses, significant others, friends or family members.
The standard set up is for a guest to be in an adjoining room.
For couples, there are a limited number of shared rooms available on a
first come, first served basis.
Contact us for details.
Guest fee: $1,195 — Includes everything above except the workshop.
We are offering a $1,000 scholarship to a
first-time participant in one of Murphy Writing’s international programs. A
panel of judges will review the submissions and make their selections based
on a combination of merit and need. Application Deadline: Mar. 15, 2014.
4/4/14 Update: Congratulations to our scholarship recipient!
It was a tough choice, but after considering more than 20 applications, the
panel has selected Caitlin Reid from Washington, DC. We look forward to
writing with her in Wales.
The Fine Print
● To receive the "Early Bard" Discount ($75), you must pay in full by Apr. 1
● To receive the "re-PETER" Discount ($75), you must have attended at least
one of our other programs
● A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your place
● Balance due in full by May 1
● Change Fee ($25) will be charged to make changes to your registration after May 1
● Discounts are not available for guest fees
● Registration deadline: June 1
● By Mar. 15 — 100% refund minus non-refundable $500 deposit
● By May 1 — 50% credit toward one of our upcoming programs
● After May 1 — Sorry, no refund will be issued
Workshop size is strictly limited.
Our programs fill quickly.
Register today. You won't regret it.
maximum flexibility, airfare is not included. You will be responsible for
making your own round-trip travel arrangements which will allow you to
choose your airports and make it easy to extend your trip. We will assist
you in identifying budget-conscious flights. For best fares, you should
purchase your ticket in the spring, no later than May 1.
Arrival: Tuesday, July 8. The program is designed so you can arrive
in the UK the morning the writing retreat begins. We recommend you fly to
London Heathrow Airport. If you are flying from the US, depart on the
evening of July 7 and you will land early the next morning. We suggest you
arrive in the UK by 9 a.m. so you have time to retrieve your luggage and clear
If you wish to take advantage of our transportation to campus, plan to
arrive at Swansea bus station by 3:15 p.m. The 11:10 a.m. bus direct from
London Heathrow will get you there in time. We will post details on how to
book the suggested airport transfers approximately one month before the
Departure: Tuesday, July 15. We will depart campus at 11:30 a.m.
after the closing workshop and drop you off at Swansea bus (or train
station) so you can make the 12:15 p.m. bus that will get you to Heathrow at
4:35 p.m. Should you wish to fly home that day, we recommend a 7:00 p.m. or
later departure. Or, if you wish to extend your trip, you can book your
onward travel for anytime after 12:10 p.m. (via bus) or 12:20 p.m. (via
train) to give yourself some leeway. We will offer you suggested itineraries
for additional travel in Wales and London.
Travel Note: You will have access to our private trip website, which
will provide you with additional travel recommendations. We will also
provide the opportunity to connect with other participants before the
writing retreat. Each year this leads to people traveling together before
and after the retreat. This can be especially helpful if you are not an
experienced overseas traveler.
You will need a passport, but US citizens will not need a visa to enter the UK.
Double check that your passport is up to date, and if not, renew it today!
You may also want to buy travel insurance to protect yourself before and during
your trip, but we do not require it.
Take a look at the photos from our most recent
international writing retreat or view our
full collection of
Writing Getaway photos.
video highlights of our 2012 writing retreat in Wales, created
by participant Nicole Zuckerman. Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod.
Try and say that three times fast.
"I thought the feedback would be the most valuable part of the workshop,
but actually it was the prompts and the new material they led me to write. I
accomplished everything I set out to do and devised a plan for finishing my
manuscript. I feel freed—thank you!"
~ Terri, Novelist, Philadelphia, PA
came to write, and Wales was a super setting in which to do it. I am
impressed with your knowledge and the breadth of your experience, Peter, and
I am thankful for the community of writers I encountered at the Wales
~ Merrill, Memoir & Poetry, Middlesfield, CT
"Peter, you strike a balance I find most helpful and enjoyable, between
drawing out our responses and knowledge and offering your own input. Thank
you so much for another wonderful week in Wales. I hope it's not the last!"
~ Bobbie, Poetry, Chatham, NJ, Two time Wales Getaway participant
"The program couldn't have been better. I especially enjoyed the feedback
sessions, with their warm atmosphere and an environment of trust which
helped us listen to each other, to really hear what the reader was saying
and venture a thought or two. Thank you for everything."
~ Belinda, Short Fiction & Memoir, Barcelona, Spain
"The fun and engaging prompts encourage writers, and there's a great sense
of caring for the individual. Thank you for giving me the excuse/opportunity
to write and at the same time visit a part of the world I wouldn't otherwise
~ Barbara, Nonfiction and Poetry, Summit, NJ
Read more testimonials.
Participants will receive a professional development certificate of
participation upon request. Stockton University is recognized by the New Jersey
Department of Education to provide Professional Development credit hours,
which many other states are willing to accept. You may check with your
district or employer to see if it will work for you.
Call 609-626-3594 or email
The 2014 program is filled. We travel to a different
destination each summer. Sign up for our
email list to find out about future writing retreats.