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Get Away to Write - Spain
A Getaway for Poets and Writers
July 11-18, 2017
Catalonia, Spain

Filled.

***
The 2017 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 in beautiful northern Spain to immerse yourself in a supportive week-long writing experience that will energize and inspire you. Enjoy encouraging workshops, plentiful writing time, panoramic cliff top views and excursions to Barcelona and the town of Vic, where the outdoor market dates back to the 9th century.


Get away to write and be inspired:

   ● Advance your craft and energize your writing in supportive workshops
   ● Explore Spain and its spectacular landscape and culture
   ● Enjoy an encouraging community and time to recharge

You will take up residence at l’Avenc, a beautiful rural hotel with stunning cliff top views and a rich history dating back to the 13th century. This recently renovated retreat center, which has a 5-star TripAdvisor rating and has won awards for its sustainability practices, offers both single and double rooms. This summer, experience living in a place where you can reconnect with yourself and your writing, a place where time slows. Bask in the tranquility and silence of the rural Catalonia. Your writing will thank you.

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.

"With a book in the works, I wanted to supercharge my creative skills, and listening to Peter Murphy for seven days certainly achieved that. The night before we left, we toasted Peter and lamented leaving one another. I began planning for next year's excursion to Scotland. If you are a writer or want to become one, I invite you to join us."
~ Jane Yepez, Cherry Hill, NJ - Memoir - Adapted from her Huffington Post blog

 


Workshop

Taking inspiration from the exotic location in Spain, the workshop will focus on identity, independence and transformation. 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 Spanish, Catalan and American authors. 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.

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 more credible.

"The relaxed but well-structured workshop was the key to a superb experience. Peter makes you feel comfortable to write freely, to reflect and to acquaint yourself with your surroundings."
   ~ Maria Luisa, Rose Valley, PA - Fiction and Memoir

Feedback sessions
Three 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. You will have one feedback session with each of our faculty–Peter, Roberta and Christine. (Bios below.)

One-on-one Tutorials (Optional)
If you are looking for more feedback on your writing, you will have the option to add a one-on-one tutorial which will offer a constructive critique on a work in progress. These one-on-one-sessions will last 40 minutes and you may request general feedback or seek assistance on a specific question or problem you are having. Led by: Roberta Clipper for prose (memoir, nonfiction and fiction) and Christine E. Salvatore for poetry. Limited quantity of one-on-ones available.

   ● You and your tutor will select a mutually convenient time during the week.
   ● No need to send your writing ahead of time; the tutors are experienced at providing constructive and supportive feedback in the time allocated.
   ● You may choose to bring something you wrote before the retreat or something you write during the week.
   ● Prepare for your tutorial by bringing two copies of a printed sample of your writing that is representative of a larger problem you are facing. For example, your challenge might have to do with plotting, point of view, tone or writing dialogue. The piece of work (or excerpt) you bring should be no more than 1,000 words so your tutor can offer you constructive advice within the 40 minute time period. In lieu of a writing sample, you may bring questions and concerns about your work or broader questions about writing and publishing.

Schedule
Mornings will be devoted to the workshop, which includes guided discussions, freewriting and feedback sessions. Afternoons and evenings are free for you to use as you wish:

   ● Write to your heart’s content
   ● Soak in the breathtaking view and revitalizing mountain air
   ● Relax by l’Avenc’s beautiful indoor pool
   ● Watch exotic birds in flight from your private patio
   ● Explore the pristine countryside on a hike along the cliffs to a nearby lookout where you can see from the Mediterranean to Montserrat

Sample daily schedule

  8:00 a.m. Breakfast
  9:00 Workshop and feedback sessions (Break for refreshments at 11:00 a.m.)
  1:00 p.m. Lunch
  2:00 Free time for writing and other activities
  4:30 Afternoon refreshments
  7:00 Dinner
  8:00 Free time

View the full schedule (PDF).

“Peter is simply one of the finest writing teachers I have ever encountered. His craft talks were inventive, astute and insightful. His imaginative prompts often inspired startlingly fresh and innovative writing. In short, Peter empowers his students to write, while offering instruction and feedback that allows them to make leaps and bounds in their writing.”
~ Patty Paine, Doha, Qatar - Poetry and Personal Essay - Founding editor of Diode Poetry Journal and author of four books


Faculty

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 seven books and chapbooks including Stubborn Child, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. His recent essays and poems appear in The Common, Diode, Gravel, Guernica, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Lindenwood Review, The New Welsh Reader, Rattle, Word Riot and elsewhere. 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. Enjoy a brief interview with Peter and read some of his work at peteremurphy.com.

Feedback Session & Tutorial Leader
Roberta ClipperRoberta Clipper has published two novels-in-stories under the name Robbie Clipper Sethi: Fifty-Fifty (Silicon Press, 2003) and The Bride Wore Red (Picador, 1997), as well as short stories in The Atlantic, Mademoiselle, the Philadelphia Inquirer and a number of literary magazines and anthologies. She has also written an adaptation of Samuel Richardson’s 18th-century novel Clarissa for musical theater. Her fiction has won a National Endowment for the Arts award and two fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Robbie teaches creative writing and literature at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ and on a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship spent a "monsoon semester" teaching at the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad, India. Currently, Robbie is focusing on writing nonfiction. To read some of her work, visit robbieclippersethi.com.

Feedback Session & Tutorial Leader
Christine E. Salvatore
Christine E. Salvatore
received her MFA from The University of New Orleans. She currently teaches literature and creative writing at Stockton University, Egg Harbor Township High School and in the MFA Program at Rosemont College. One of her poems was chosen by the editors of The Southeast Review as a finalist in the Gearhart Poetry Contest. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Cortland Review, The Literary Review, Mead Magazine, Prime Number Magazine, The Edison Literary Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2005 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. To read some of her work, visit christinesalvatore.com.

Cultural Liaison
María Luisa Guardiola was born and raised in Barcelona, which is in the Catalonia region of Spain. She moved to the US after college and did her graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. María Luisa is currently a Professor at Swarthmore College where she teaches Spanish language and literature. She started writing when she was very young. She has enjoyed participating in several Murphy Writing getaways in the US and abroad, noting the engaging prompts and collaborative atmosphere as her favorite elements. María Luisa lives between cultures and looks forward to opening the doors of Catalonia to her fellow writers.

María Luisa will act as your local guide. She will introduce you to Catalan culture, acquaint you with basic pronunciation and teach you a handful of Catalan words. She will also guide some of the tours and will be available each morning to answer your cultural and travel questions.

Special Guest
Laia Fàbregas will be our special guest, joining us for lunch and a reading during the retreat. Her books Landing (2016 in English, 2010 Dutch), Yellow Days (2013), and Girl with the Nine Fingers (2008) have been translated widely into languages including Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish, Dutch and English. Laia has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona. Since 2012, she has taught creative writing at the writing school Laboratori de Lletres in Barcelona. She is also partner and co-director of the school with founder Laia Terrón.
 

"The retreat was all I had hoped it would be. Visiting a different country, meeting new people, and working with Peter Murphy and his impressive faculty has enhanced my writing and offered a very pleasant life experience. I’m bringing back new ideas to the creative writing class I teach."
~ Bobbe, Oceanside, CA - Nonfiction, Blogs and Memoir


Setting

¡Bienvenido a España! Welcome to Spain! For centuries, Spain has inspired writers and artists to create their greatest masterpieces. Some of the best-known include: painter Salvador Dali; architect Antoni Gaudi; and writers Miguel Cervantes, Ernest Hemingway, Garcia Lorca and George Orwell. Barcelona is home to the Dali museum and also La Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s famous cathedral that was started in 1882 and is finally scheduled for completion in 2028, more than a century after his death. Scores of other artists and writers have called Spain their home and left their mark on its rich heritage.

With miles of beaches and more than 300 sunny days per year, Spain is a Mediterranean paradise. It is the second most mountainous country in Europe with panoramic views overlooking exquisite valleys. The culture is as diverse as the geography, and pride in their homeland is evident in the character and welcoming atmosphere of every Spaniard. While in Spain, you can enjoy visiting Roman temples, Moorish palaces, medieval castles and some of the best restaurants in the world. From the modern to the ancient, the mountains to the sea, Spain offers room for adventure, contemplation and awe.

Did you know?

   ● The quill pen is thought to have originated in Spain 1,400 years ago
   ● The Spanish Empire was once the world's most powerful country
   ● Spanish food is known for being flavorful but is rarely spicy hot
   ● Though Spain is known for its red wine, most of its vineyards have white grapes


Cultural Activities and Excursions

You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of cultural activities and excursions, which will help you develop a sense of the place where you will be spending the week. The La Collsacabra region, which is off the well-worn tourist path, is part of Catalonia. It shares many traits with Spain yet maintains a distinct identity of its own. While none of our excursions will be "extreme," they will involve walking and moderate physical activity.

Cultural Liaison
Cultural Liaison María Luisa Guardiola will enrich your experience, acting as your local guide. She will introduce you to Catalan culture, acquaint you with basic pronunciation and teach you a handful of Catalan words. She will also guide some of the tours and will be available each morning to answer your cultural and travel questions. See her bio.

Historic "Masia" House Tour
L’Avenc, our retreat center, is owned and operated by the Parris family who will open up the private section of their remarkable home to share its history and the story of how they saved and restored it. You will travel back in time as Belinda Parris guides you through the historic "Masia" house at l’Avenc. While the oldest parts date back to the 13th century, the primary architectural influence is from the 16th century. The Parris family discovered the abandoned ruins of l’Avenc while hiking in 1997. Looking back they describe it as "brave and foolish to fall in love with it," to buy, restore and expand it into a rural eco-friendly hotel.

Special Guest Session
We are pleased to announce that writer Laia Fàbregas will be our special guest, joining us for lunch and a reading during the retreat. See her bio.

Excursion to Vic
Halfway between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, the city of Vic is considered the heart of the Catalan region. Tradition and modernity coexist in this medieval city. You will enjoy a walking tour of the city center and have free time to visit the open air market, which dates back to the 9th century. You will eat lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to L’Avenc to enjoy the afternoon siesta.

Excursion to Barcelona
You will depart l’Avenc at noon to take in the sites of Barcelona. After reaching the city, you will have the opportunity to stretch your legs and take photos. At the end of the excursion, you can take advantage of either drop off option–La Placa Catalunya for those staying the night (or longer) in Barcelona, or El Prat Airport.

"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, Linwood, NJ - Novelist


Weather

July is one of the warmest months with average temperatures in the low 80s during the day and 60s at night. You will enjoy long, sunny, summer days and can expect 15 hours of daylight, as the sun won’t set until 9:30 pm.


Accommodations

Lodging

You will have the option to select a private single room or share with another person.

Amenities:

   ● Most rooms have private bathrooms
   ● Most also have a writing desk and an outdoor patio or terrace with stunning views
   ● Enjoy the swimming pool, yoga room (equipped with loaner mats), library, gardens and hiking trails
   ● There is a common sitting room with free wi-fi internet access
   ● Option to treat yourself to a massage

If you would like to bring a spouse, significant other, friend or family member, these non-participating guests are welcome to share your room and attend all activities other than workshops.

Rooms will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to get your first choice!


Meals

L’Avenc’s nutritious meals focus on fair trade, local and organic ingredients. The mouthwatering menu will give you a real flavor for the cuisine of the region. Meals will be served buffet style with a variety of choices including vegetarian options, and one night the group will dine off-site at a local restaurant. If you have dietary restrictions you will be able to indicate them on the registration form.

"Everyone was blown away by the beauty and hospitality at L'Avenc. It's going to be hard to top such a location. However, what most struck me again this year (as it did last year in Wales) was not just the excellent workshops, but the spirit of camaraderie among the participants. It's truly impressive, and that camaraderie can be traced back directly to the leadership and example you set."
~ Rich Youmans, North Falmouth, MA - Poetry and Short Story


Get Away to Write - Spain is featured in TheWriteLife.com's
"Incredible Writing Retreats to attend in 2017"

 


Pricing

"re-PETERS" save $75!
    ● $75 discount if you've attended any of our other programs

Program Fee Includes

   ● Writing workshop and feedback sessions
   ● Accommodations for 7 nights/8 days
   ● 20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
   ● Morning and afternoon refreshments on non-excursion days
   ● Round trip transportation from El Prat Airport in Barcelona
   ● 2 cultural activities and 2 excursions (Transportation, admissions and tours. A brown bag lunch will be provided on one of the excursion days. The other will offer a lunch stop which is not included in this fee.)
   ● Travel medical insurance*
   ● Use of wi-fi, pool, yoga room, library, gardens and hiking trails
   ● Private trip website providing travel recommendations and a packing list


Room Package Options

   ● Program Fee with Double Room Package - $2,265 - A double room can be a great way to save money. Let us know if you'd like us to match you with a roommate.
   ● Program Fee with Single Room Package - $2,565
   ● Program Fee with Shared Room Package (With non-participating guest) - $3,665 - If you are bringing a guest, they may join us for meals and all non-workshop activities.

Fees do not include airfare, college credit, one-on-one tutorials, travel insurance (non-medical), gratuities, additional accommodations, meals or personal expenses.

* Unfortunately, the University’s contract for travel medical insurance group coverage is only able to cover individuals through age 74. If you will be 75 or older at the time of travel, you must purchase individual coverage and provide a copy of the policy for us. Please call 609-626-3594 before you register to discuss the coverage requirements and to allow us to answer your questions.


One-on-one Tutorials (Optional)

To get even more out of your Spain experience, you can add-on the following tutorials.
Tutorial in Prose — $100
Tutorial in Poetry — $100
Detailed descriptions


Registration Options

***
This program has finished. Sign up for our email list to find out about future writing retreats.
***

Please note: After you register, we will follow up with you within three days to answer any questions you may have. If you have trouble registering online, or if you don't receive an email confirming your online registration within 24 hours, call us at 609-626-3594 or email us at info@murphywriting.com.

The Fine Print
● To receive the "Early Bard" Discount ($75 off), you must pay in full by Apr. 1
● To receive the "re-PETER" Discount ($75 off), 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. If you register after May 1, your full payment is due when you register.
● Change Fee ($25) will be charged to make changes to your registration after May 1
● Discounts are not available for guest fees

Cancellation Policy
● 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.

"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, Huntsville, TX - Poetry


Scholarships
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. 9, 2017.

Update: Congratulations to our scholarship recipient! It was a tough choice, but after considering 23 applications, the panel has selected Patricia Anne Jackson of Littleton, CO. We look forward to writing with her in Spain.


Travel

For 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 the best fares, you should purchase your ticket in the spring, or within a week of registering.

5/18/17 Update: Great news! Flights are currently cheaper than we have seen in 10 years. Nonstop round-trip flights from Philadelphia / the East Coast to Barcelona are approximately $900. This is 40% less than what we paid last time we went to Spain! You may be able to save even more if you chose to add in a layover.

It is very important that you follow these suggested times. The retreat location is approximately 2 hours from the airport and very rural. If you do not follow these times, you will need to make your way there on your own, which you will find very difficult to do without renting a car.

Arrival: Tuesday, July 11. The program is designed so you can arrive in Spain the day the retreat begins. We recommend you fly to El Prat Airport in Barcelona. If you are flying from the US, depart on the evening of July 10 and you will land early the next morning. We suggest you arrive at the airport by 10:00 am so you have time to clear customs, pick up your luggage and meet the group at 11:45 am. If you wish to arrive in the country prior to July 11, plan to make your way to the airport in time to meet the group. We will send details on where to meet at the airport and emergency contact numbers approximately two weeks before the program.

Departure: Tuesday, July 18. We will depart l'Avenc at noon and head to Barcelona. After reaching the city, we will have the opportunity to stretch our legs and take photos. At the end of the excursion, we will offer two drop off options: 4:15 pm at La Placa Catalunya for those staying the night in Barcelona and 5:00 pm at El Prat Airport.

Do not book a flight before 8:00 pm on July 18. Most flights to the US depart in the morning. If you can’t book a flight after 8:00 pm, plan to stay the night in Barcelona and fly out the next day, July 19. If you plan to stay the night (or longer) in Barcelona, consider a hotel or Airbnb in the "Eixample" or the "Barri Gotic" neighborhood, which are both a short walk from La Placa Catalunya, offer many good hotel options and easy access to public transportation.

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. Most years, people make plans to travel together before or after the retreat. This can be especially helpful if you are not an experienced overseas traveler.

"This was just the boost I needed to get experimental, take risks and discover more of what’s inside that could become interesting writing. A valuable exploration of perspective and surprise. Thank you!"
~ Ida, Los Angeles, CA - Poetry and Nonfiction


Special Preparations

   ● Passport: It is essential that your passport does not expire until after January 2018 or Border Control may not allow you to enter Spain. Please check and renew it today!
   ● Visas: US citizens do not need a visa to enter Spain. If you are a citizen of a different country, please check if you need a Spanish visa.
   ● Travel medical insurance: This is included in your program fee for most participants.*
   ● Additional travel insurance: We encourage you to buy traditional travel insurance to cover things like lost bags, delayed flights or trip cancellations, but it is not required. Check with a broker such as InsureMyTrip, which is recommended by Consumer Reports.

* Unfortunately, the University’s contract for travel medical insurance group coverage is only able to cover individuals through age 74. If you will be 75 or older at the time of travel, you must purchase individual coverage and provide a copy of the policy for us. Please call 609-626-3594 before you register to discuss the coverage requirements and to allow us to answer your questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

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

Q: How big will the workshop be?
A: Our international writing retreats generally have 17-22 participants. Plus, sometimes travelers bring non-participating guests.

Q: I'm new to writing workshops. Will I fit in?
A: Absolutely! Peter's unique prompts 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.

Q: I've been to dozens of workshops. What will I get out of this one?
A: 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.


Photo Gallery

Take a look at the photos from last summer's international writing retreat or view our full collection of Writing Getaway photos.


Testimonials

"Peter Murphy truly cares about others’ writing. This shines through in all of his teaching, and in the program as a whole. Amanda Murphy is a brilliant and generous manager, organizer and caretaker of the group. Together they craft a remarkably effective and pleasurable writing/travel experience that works for all levels of writers."
~ Rich, New Paltz, NY - Poetry and Nonfiction - 2016 International writing retreat participant

"As a young writer, I benefitted by being surrounded by writers from all walks of life. I learned so much about myself as a writer while I was here, and I’m excited to bring this experience home with me."
~ Hannah, South Portland, ME - Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction - 2016 International writing retreat participant

"I recommend this program to everyone who loves writing."
~ Beqa, Tbilisi, Georgia - Fiction - 2016 International writing retreat participant

"The program was an overall wonderfully rewarding experience."
~ Ian, Mexico City, Mexico - Poetry - 2016 International writing retreat participant

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 employer to see if it will work for you.



Questions?

Call 609-626-3594 or email info@murphywriting.com.


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