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Get Away to Write - Scotland
August 8-15, 2013
- Filled!

The 2013 program is filled. View photos from the retreat and sign up for our email list to find out about future writing retreats.

Get away from the grind to write and be inspired. Using Dundee as your home base, you will spend a week writing, relaxing and exploring this beautiful country, heading beyond the wellworn tourist path, and getting to know the real Scotland. Dundee, a university city of 150,000, bustles with Scottish arts and culture, set alongside a centuries-old seafaring community and 12th-century history.

In the country made famous by Braveheart, where clans once warred, medieval writers argued for independence and self-rule as far back as 1320. You will follow the trails of scholars and trains of thought that have inspired classic authors like Sir Walter Scott, poets like Carol Ann Duffy, the U.K.'s poet laureate, and modern storytellers like Alexander McCall-Smith, Ian Rankin and J.K. Rowling.

Plunge into it all—plentiful writing time, excursions to remote castles, fishing villages and the city of Edinburgh, a program featuring readings by local writers and an option to extend your Getaway for even more writing time and a day trip to the Highlands.

Join Peter Murphy for a writing retreat in the country that gave the world an Enlightenment, an international fringe festival of the avant-garde and some of the strongest voices in contemporary literature.

Peter's unique assignments and insightful feedback have helped thousands find voice and direction. He will challenge you to stretch your imagination as you explore personal archetypes, history and your foreign surroundings to produce new writing that will surprise and please you. Whether you plan to begin new material or continue an ongoing project, you will return home from this adventure energized, with a substantial body of fresh writing and ideas on how to develop it.

"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


Each morning you will join Peter and the other writers to discuss craft issues around a packet of stories, poems and essays. Then Peter will give you one of his imaginative assignments and send you off to work. These writing prompts are designed to challenge you 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.

Peter's writing prompts are effective at connecting with all genres and levels of writers. If you are a beginner, they will get you started. If you have decades of experience, they will compel you to go deeper, take more risks and experiment with form and content.

"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

Afternoons are free for you to use as you wish:
    ● Keep writing and revising.
    ● Share your new writing in optional, supportive feedback sessions. These are not workshops per se, but an opportunity for you to reflect on what you wrote during the day and get responses on what worked well and suggestions for the next draft.
    ● Delve into Dundee's rich legacy of kings and queens, adventurers and inventors by visiting its museums, historic buildings and monuments.
    ● Take a day trip to Glasgow, known for its art and Art Nouveau architecture, or visit nearby St Andrews, the seaside town famous for its Scottish links golf course, which also has the battered ruins of a medieval castle and a quaint city center with an aquarium.
    ● Explore the unspoiled countryside—Highlands northward, borderlands southward—woven in history, tradition and culture.

Evenings will offer opportunities to socialize, enjoy cultural activities and meet with local writers. Or you can always choose to keep writing.

Sample Daily Schedule

  8:30 a.m. "Travel Talk" Office Hours for travel and sightseeing questions
  9:00 Workshop and Writing Time
  12:00 p.m. Free Time for writing, relaxing and exploring
  1:30 Optional Feedback Session (Selected days)
  3:30 Free Time or Optional Reading/Activity (Selected days)

Need more inspiration in your life? The Scots invented the bicycle, the telephone, the TV and radar. J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter book in the back room of an Edinburgh coffee shop overlooking the Castle. And the first ship to sail to Antarctica was built right here in Dundee Harbor. Seize that spirit—book your slice of inspiration for Summer 2013.


Workshop Leader
Peter E. Murphy writer headshotPeter 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 Stubborn Child, a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize, and three poetry chapbooks, Thorough & Efficient, Mr. Nobody and Atlantic City Lives (Forthcoming in 2015). His unique poetry writing assignments have been collected in Challenges for the Delusional. He has received fellowships 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 in the U.S. and abroad. Read a recent interview with Peter.

Cultural Liaison
Juliet Fletcher, statehouse reporter for the Bergen Record, reports on Governor Chris Christie and New Jersey state policy with a focus on economic growth, campaign promises and lobbying. A UK native born to a Scottish mother, Juliet lived in Scotland while earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Aberdeen. She has had years of experience helping Americans uncover the real Scotland after marrying an American and acting as a tour guide to his large extended family. During our program, she will guide some of the tours and make herself available each morning to answer your travel and sightseeing questions.

Program Bonus

Juliet will lead a special session, "Freelancing Feature Stories," focusing on travel writing that will help you turn your Get Away to Write - Scotland experience into a publishable article.

Frequently Asked Questions

When I have attended other workshops there were separate groups for people writing novels, memoir, poetry, etc. Will we all be in the same workshop on this trip? How will I benefit from this program?
While different genres have different demands, Peter has found that fiction writers, nonfiction writers and poets can learn much about their own craft by reading, discussing and experimenting with the craft of others. 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 more credible.

I write both poetry and fiction. Do I need to have a project in mind to attend?
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.

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.


Dundee has been recognized as having more hours of sunshine, the purest air quality, and more green spaces than any other Scottish city. During the trip, you will enjoy long days of 15+ hours of sunlight. The weather tends to be cooler and damper than the typical muggy Mid-Atlantic summer, but it's always refreshing. However, it is Britain, so you'll want to pack your "Mackintosh" and "Wellies" just in case.


You will be housed in the modest but comfortable Belmont Flats (student apartments), centrally located on the University of Dundee campus, a 10 minute walk from the city center. You will be adjacent to the city's cultural quarter with theaters, art-house cinema, restaurants, galleries, bars, boutiques, markets and craft shops all within an easy walk.

    ● Each flat has 6 bedrooms, a shared kitchen, dining and sitting areas.
    ● You will have your own bedroom with a twin bed, private bathroom and a writing desk. Bed linens and a towel will be provided, but there will not be daily housekeeping service.
    ● Your kitchen is equipped with a stove, refrigerator, microwave and tea kettle. A basic supply of crockery, cutlery, cooking pots and utensils will also be supplied.
    ● Internet access is available throughout the campus, and you will be able to use the coin operated laundry.
    ● You will be given access to the University's libraries and computers.

Optional: Couples are welcome to share adjoining rooms or can make their own arrangements at a nearby hotel. For this reason, accommodations are priced as an "optional add-on."


Other than the Opening and Closing Dinners, which are included in the program fee, you will be responsible for your meals and will be free to choose your own balance of eating out and cooking at home. Dundee has 50 restaurants, coffee shops and pubs in walking distance of campus. There are a number of inexpensive options on Nethergate and Westport streets where you can get a meal for less than 5. If you enjoy people watching, you can get some meals to "take away" and dine al fresco in historic Dundee City Square. When you're looking for a quieter night, you can shop at one of the local markets and prepare food in your flat. And of course, throughout the program, you will have the opportunity to connect with other participants and dine together.


The 2013 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 — $1,295 — includes the following:
    ● Workshop
    ● Welcome and Closing Dinners
    ● A walking tour of Dundee
    ● Cultural activities including meetings/readings with local writers
    ● Use of University of Dundee library and computers
    ● Private trip website or Google Group providing travel recommendations
    ● Fees do not include airfare, transportation, accommodations, college credit, additional meals, excursions, gratuities or personal expenses.

Take advantage & save:
    ● "re-PETER" Discount ($75) if you've attended any of our other programs!

Add-ons (Optional)
You are encouraged to select your add-ons when you register, but if necessary, you will be able to add them on until June 1 at no additional charge.

    ● $300 — Accommodations for 7 nights/8 days (single room with private bath) in shared apartment

    ● $163 — Excursions: This fee covers both of the optional trips to cultural and historical sites including transportation, guides and admission. While none of our planned 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 to:
        ● Trip 1: Dundee Law, Glamis Castle, the coastal town of Arbroath: Friday, Aug. 9: Our private bus will take us to the top of Dundee Law, the city's extinct Volcano, to enjoy the view overlooking the city and the North Sea. Then we'll head to the countryside to Glamis Castle, home of the late Queen Mother, and finally to the coastal town of Arbroath with its abbey built in 1178. Before heading back to Dundee, we'll stop at The Golden Haddock where you can indulge in a true Scottish delicacy, Arbroath Smokies, or enjoy traditional fish and chips.
        ● Trip 2: Edinburgh: Monday, Aug. 12: Traveling by train to Edinburgh, we will start with a walking tour of the city before heading to the National Library of Scotland to enjoy its public exhibitions. Afterward, you will have free time when you might take a tour of Edinburgh Castle, visit The Elephant House coffee shop where J.K. Rowling wrote her famous first novel, go shopping on the Royal Mile, catch a performance at the world-famous Fringe Festival or kick back and enjoy the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour.

    ● $292 — Extend your stay in Dundee three extra nights and enjoy a day trip to the Highlands, Glencoe and Loch Ness. Enjoy extra time for exploring or writing while taking advantage of the budget-friendly accommodations as you stay in your same room.
        ● Three nights additional accommodation, departing on August 18
        ● Highlands Day Trip on August 16: You will embark on a 12-hour tour of Scotland's most iconic sites, a day designed to sample the best of what the Highlands have to offer in a short amount of time. You will visit dramatic Glencoe, the site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan, and take in the stunning mountain scenery on our way to visit the infamous Loch Ness.

    ● $120 — Transportation to/from Edinburgh Airport: Pick up on 8/8 at 12:00 p.m., Drop off on 8/15 at 2:30 p.m. or 8/18 at 12:15 p.m.

    ● $295 — Non-participating Guest Program Fee (Includes all non-workshop activities and select meals). If your guest would like to take advantage of the add-ons, be sure to select those choices on the registration form as well.

Unfortunately, we do not currently have scholarships available for Get Away to Write - Scotland.

The Fine Print
● To receive the "Early Bard" Discount ($75), you must register by May 1 and pay in full within 1 month of registering
● 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 June 1
● Change Fee ($25) will be charged to make changes to your registration or add-ons after June 1

Cancellation Policy
● By Apr. 15 — 100% refund minus non-refundable $500 deposit
● By June 1 — 50% credit toward one of our upcoming programs
● After June 1 — Sorry, no refund will be issued


For maximum flexibility, airfare is not included. You will be responsible for making your own round-trip travel arrangements. The program organizers will assist registered participants in identifying budget-conscious flight options. For best fares, you should purchase your ticket in the spring, no later than June 1.

Arrival: You will get the most out of the program if you arrive in the UK a day or two early to adjust to the time change and get over jetlag. The program will start in the afternoon of Thursday, August 8. If you wish to take advantage of the optional transportation, plan to arrive at Edinburgh Airport on the morning of August 8. Public transportation from the airport to Dundee will take approximately two hours, or you can choose the option to add-on round-trip airport transfers when you register, which will save you time and energy.

Departure: Thursday, August 15 (or Sunday, August 18 for those extending their stay). You can make your way to your next destination or take advantage of the optional transportation to Edinburgh Airport.

Travel Note: You will have access to our private trip website, which will provide you with travel recommendations and give you the opportunity to connect with other participants before the trip. 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.

Special Preparations

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.

Photo Gallery

Take a look at the photos from our most recent international writing retreat or view our full collection of Writing Getaway photos.

View 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.


"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

"I 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 Getaway!"
   ~ 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

"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

Read more testimonials.

Professional Development Credits

Participants will receive a professional development certificate of participation. 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 2013 program is filled. We travel to a different destination each summer. Sign up for our email list to find out about future writing retreats. +++

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