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Live Free and Write
A New Hampshire Getaway for Writers

August 13-18, 2017
Sunapee, NH

The 2017 program has finished. Sign up for our email list to be notified about future dates and our other writing retreats.

Treat yourself. Combine an extended writing retreat with a relaxing summer vacation in the picturesque mountains of New Hampshire. This getaway blends our trademark challenging and supportive workshop experience with plenty of free time for you to write and bask in the refreshing New England summer.

You will enjoy encouraging workshops, homemade meals and good company. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, you will return home from this writing vacation energized by the tranquil setting and excited to continue writing.

"I've never done an overnight writing retreat before and was amazed at how much writing happened just being away from home. The atmosphere was perfect: open, honest, sincere and so encouraging. Definitely worth the money, the drive and the time!"
   ~ Anne, Belmont, MA

Space is limited.
     Our programs fill quickly.
          Register today so you're not disappointed!

Workshops | Schedule | Faculty | Location | Pricing | Registration | Travel


Our retreats revolve around the belief that when writers leave behind the distractions of their busy lives to gather in an encouraging community, they are able to make important breakthroughs in their writing. Each workshop will meet for at least 20 hours and will offer craft discussion, writing prompts, writing time, feedback, motivation and inspiration. By spending the entire week in one workshop, you will venture deeper into your writing, making more progress than you thought possible.

You may choose to spend the week working on your memoir or poetry.

Writing Your Story
Two writing platitudes are "show, don’t tell," and "write what you know." In memoir, it sounds as if these would work, but there’s more to it. In this inspiring workshop, we will examine models from contemporary memoirists and use generative writing exercises to practice the technique of discovering what we don’t already know. We will explore meaning and connections in our memories and learn how to deepen our stories. You will be guided in your writing, focusing not just on what happened, but also on voice, structure and storyline. You are welcome to bring a work in progress or generate something brand new. Supportive feedback will help you move toward a polished, publishable piece.
     Limited to 10 participants—Led by Laura McCullough

Poetry and Wanderlust: Taking the Long Way
Have you ever dreamed of dropping off the grid or taking the long way home? This supportive poetry workshop will focus on association rather than logic and emphasize the value of the messy process over the polished, predictable product. We will learn to trust and follow our wandering minds. Although we rarely notice it, most poets have a harmonizing theme in their writing—a subject that continues to resurface. We will work together to discover our own themes. The week will offer discussion of contemporary models, exploratory prompts, opportunities for sharing and warm feedback. Come to write fresh, new work or use this process to revitalize stale pieces.
     Limited to 12 participants—Kathleen Graber

"I went to two Live Free and Write retreats in Sunapee and I know my writing has improved. Good news: the book I’ve been working on has found a publisher and is due out in April. Thanks!"
   ~ Heidi, Norwich, VT

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: Laura McCullough for prose (memoir, nonfiction and fiction) and Kathleen Graber 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.


The program starts with dinner on Sunday night and concludes Friday morning before lunch.


  3:00 p.m. Check in anytime after 3:00 and settle in
  7:00 Dinner
  8:15 Welcome, Orientation and Craft Discussion

Monday - Thursday

  8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  9:30 Workshop
  12:30 p.m. Lunch
  1:30 Writing and free time
  5:30 Workshop
  7:00 Dinner
  8:15 Free time for writing, relaxing and socializing (Optional activities some nights including participant readings and a game night.)


  8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  9:30 Workshop and Closing
  11:30 Depart

View the full schedule.


Writing Your Story workshop leader
Laura McCullough is the author of The Wild Night Dress, a collection selected by Billy Collins as winner of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize. She has published eleven books including Panic, which won the Kinereth Genseler Award. Laura’s essays, memoirs, stories and poetry have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Guernica, Pank, Gulf Coast, The Writer's Chronicle, Best American Poetry and others. She has been awarded fellowships and scholarships from numerous organizations including Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference and the NJ State Arts Council. Laura is the founding editor of Mead: The Magazine of Literature and Libations, and is on the faculty of the Sierra Nevada low-residency MFA, while also teaching full time at Brookdale Community College in NJ. Visit her website:

Poetry and Wanderlust workshop leader

Kathleen Graber is the author of two collections of poetry including The Eternal City, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry. The recipient of numerous honors, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. As well as working on a third book, Kathleen is currently an Associate Professor of English in the MFA Program at Virginia Commonwealth. She also teaches in the low-residency MA Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the low-residency MFA Program at Bennington College. Read her poem, “The Magic Kingdom,” published in The New Yorker.

Retreat host

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

"The week in NH has changed who I am: changed how I see myself, changed what I will do next, changed where I am going and who is going with me. I see writing differently too. Writing and listening to what others have written connects us, powerfully, core to core. I’m so glad I was at Live Free and Write. If this were a notebook and not an email I would be drawing little hearts in the margins."
   ~ Marjorie, Philadelphia, PA


This writing vacation will take place at Dexter's Inn, a country inn, set on an idyllic hilltop estate in the lovely and unhurried Lake Sunapee region of New Hampshire. The panoramic views of Mount Kearsarge, Mount Sunapee and the surrounding countryside will provide a private, peaceful backdrop for our workshops.

The guest rooms are comfortable and welcoming. Each uniquely decorated room has a charming New England colonial feel and private bathroom. Chef Rolf serves up delicious homemade meals buffet style with vegetarian choices. If you have dietary restrictions, you'll be able to note them during the registration process.

During your free time you may wish to enjoy the tranquil grounds or explore the quaint New England countryside with its antique shops and unique covered bridges. On-site amenities include:

   ● Cozy common rooms with fireplaces and a library
   ● Swimming pool, tennis courts and hiking trails
   ● Free wi-fi internet access in common rooms and bedrooms
   ● Indoor recreation room with ping pong and pool tables

Dexter's Inn is just 45 minutes from Concord, 90 minutes from Boston and 4.5 hours from New York and North Jersey. See the Travel section below for the address, directions and other travel information.

“Murphy Writing brings passionate, serious writers together in a community that manages to be equally welcoming and challenging. Great artists who are also wonderful human beings attend to support and cultivate each other’s work.”
   ~ Joe, Marmora, NJ


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

Take advantage and save
    ● "re-PETER" Discount ($50 off) if you've attended any of our other programs!

Registration Update (As of June 2017)
The single rooms at the inn are full, but don't let it stop you from participating. Here’s what you can do:

   ● Register for the workshop of your choice, selecting "Commuter Package"
   ● Book a nearby B&B (All within a 10 minute drive)
    ● Twin Doors Bed & Breakfast
    ● Blue Goose Inn Bed & Breakfast
    ● Lake Inn at Mt Sunapee
   ● Optional: Email us at if you wish to add-on any of the 5 dinners at Dexter's. We recommend you add at least the Opening and Closing Dinners. Dinners are served buffet-style and cost $32 per person per night, inclusive of tax & gratuity. In your email, please tell us how many dinners you would like to add and for which days.

Special commuter option includes

   ● 6 day writing workshop

   ● Homemade meals: 4 lunches (Option to add-on breakfasts and dinners)
   ● Morning and afternoon snack breaks
   ● Endless beverages: Hot drinks, soft drinks, bottled water
  Use of wi-fi, outdoor pool, library, gardens, tennis courts, hiking trails, ping pong and pool tables
   ● Tuition with Commuter Package - $775

Commuter option does not include overnight accommodations, breakfasts, dinners, transportation, college credit, one-on-one tutorials, gratuities or personal expenses.

All-Inclusive fee with room package includes

   ● 6 day writing workshop

   ● 6 days/5 nights accommodation with private bathroom

   ● Homemade meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
   ● Morning and afternoon snack breaks
   ● Endless beverages: Hot drinks, soft drinks, bottled water
   ● Use of wi-fi, outdoor pool, library, gardens, tennis courts, hiking trails, ping pong and pool tables

Room package options

   ● Tuition with Double Room Package - $1,255 - 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.

   ● Tuition with Single Room Package

   ● Tuition with Shared Room Package (With non-participating guest) - $1,895 - If you are bringing a guest, they may join us for meals and all non-workshop activities.

Fees do not include transportation, college credit, one-on-one tutorials, gratuities or personal expenses.

One-on-one Tutorials (Optional)

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

The Fine Print

   ● "Early Bard" Discount ($50 off) if you pay in full on or before July 1
   ● "re-PETER" Discount ($50 off) if you've attended any of our other programs
   ● 50% deposit due upon registration
   ● Balance due by July 15
   ● Change Fee ($25) will be charged to make changes to your registration after July 15

Cancellation Policy

   ● By June 1 — 100% refund minus a $50 processing fee
   ● By July 15 — 50% credit toward one of our upcoming programs
   ● After July 15 — Sorry, no refund will be issued

Workshop space is strictly limited.
     Our programs fill quickly.
          Register today so you're not disappointed!

"Live Free and Write is brilliantly organized. Freedom is offered to just write, talk about writing, think about writing and read others' writing–so refreshing, restorative and encouraging. Amanda is hardworking and delightful. And Peter, how he puts us all at ease, so inclusive and open, such an energetic thinker, an enthusiastic and experienced teacher. He creates an atmosphere of friendliness that makes the whole thing work. Thank you!"
   ~ Jerri, Meyersdale, PA

Wait List Information
Interested in a workshop or room package that's already full? Please complete our wait list form.


We are offering a $500 scholarship to a first-time participant of Live Free and Write. A panel of judges will review the submissions and make their selection based on a combination of merit and need. Application Deadline: June 8, 2017, and the recipient will be announced on this page by June 27, 2017.

Update: Congratulations to our scholarship recipient! It was a tough choice, but the panel has selected Bonnie Minick-Beneszewski from Glen Gardner, NJ. We look forward to writing with her in New Hampshire.


Dexter's Inn
258 Stagecoach Rd
Sunapee, NH 03782

Sunday, August 13. You may arrive at Dexter's Inn after 3:00 p.m. to settle in. Dinner will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m.

Driving Directions
Dexter's Inn is close to I-89 and I-91. Although other routes may be shorter in terms of mileage, they find that using the I-91 and I-89 combination is less stressful and provides significantly less risk of getting lost. View the route Dexter's Inn recommends.

When you arrive, please pull into the driveway in front of the "Welcome" sign. Follow the wooden walkway at the end of the driveway to the porch door. The Inn staff will greet you and assist you with unloading your bags. After you check-in, you can move your car to the parking lot.

If arriving via Public Transportation
Your best bet is to take Amtrak to Boston's South Station or fly to Boston's Logan Airport. From there, you can take Dartmouth Coach to New London, NH, which is approximately 10 minutes from Dexter's Inn. We can arrange to have someone pick you up there if you follow the times below and let us know in advance. Recommended Stations/Airports:
   ● Bus: New London, NH
   ● Train: Boston's South Station
   ● Airport: Boston's Logan Airport

If you decide to take the Dartmouth Coach to New London, NH, plan to take one of these buses:
   ● Depart from Logan Airport at 12:55 p.m. or 2:55 p.m.
   ● Depart from Boston South Station at 1:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.

Book your bus ticket directly through Dartmouth Coach and email us to let us know which bus you selected.

Note: Other public transportation options may be available, but these routes are the most direct options for getting to the program without driving.

Friday, August 18. Please plan to vacate your room by 9:30 a.m. before the final workshop begins. The program will end at 11:30 a.m. and you are welcome to depart after that.

If departing via Public Transportation
If you take the bus from from New London, NH, plan to depart on the 11:50 a.m. bus. Book directly through Dartmouth Coach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm new to writing workshops. Will I fit in?
A: Absolutely! Our experienced workshop leaders plan their sessions 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: Our faculty challenge experienced writers to push beyond their usual limits. If you have been writing for decades, they 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.

"The best few days of writing I’ve had in years."
   ~ Christine, Linwood, NJ

Photo Gallery

Take a look at the photos from one of our previous Live Free and Write programs or view our full collection of Writing Getaway photos.

Testimonials about our Writing Getaways & Retreats

"Thank you once again for your lively, challenging workshop. You provided a great program in a cozy environment with wonderful people. I thoroughly enjoyed the retreat and my wife enjoyed the R&R. We look forward to another Murphy escape in New England."
   ~ Jim, Providence, RI

"From the moment we arrived, the tone you set established an extremely supportive environment—enough structure and focus to keep us invested in our work, yet flexible enough to foster creativity and enjoyment. Thank you!"
   ~ Susan, River Edge, NJ

"I just wanted to say that it was really fabulous and wonderful. I was a first-timer and it’s really true—everyone was welcoming, the writing and feedback were both challenging and fun and the caliber of work was amazing. Thanks for a great event! And please put me on any mailing lists for Murphy Writing and the Getaway—I definitely would like to stay updated."
   ~ Liz, Plainview, NY

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.


Call 609-626-3594 or email

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