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Live Free and Write
A New Hampshire Getaway for Writers

August 14-19, 2016 - Filled!
Dexter's Inn, Sunapee, NH

The 2016 program has finished. Sign up for our email list to be notified about future dates and our other writing retreats.

Treat yourself to a writing vacation. 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 enjoy 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 | FAQ | 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 chapbook.

Reimagining Memoir
Memoir begins with a rush of memory—retold in fragments that surprise us on the page. Sometimes the voice and shape feel right at the start, requiring only minor tweaks. More often, we must re-enter the work, looking for missing pieces of complexity and nuance. During this workshop, we will focus on strategies for reimagining memoir, personal essays and family stories, using prompts to help shape our experiences into narratives that are both interesting and true. If you have work in progress, bring it along to use as a springboard for insights into voice, structure and storyline with the goal of turning those drafts into polished work.
     Limited to 10 participants—Led by Mimi Schwartz, author of two prize-winning books of creative nonfiction: Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed and Good Neighbors, Bad Times and co-author, with Sondra Perl, of Writing True, the Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction

Poetry Chapbook
In this intensive but supportive workshop, we will learn how to move a batch of poems into a well-crafted chapbook-length manuscript. Working as each other’s editors and collaborators, we will explore methods to order, group and title our poetry collections to maximize thematic impact. We will consider what to include and what to exclude. We will also discuss how and where to submit our “book” for publication. Be ready to send 20-25 pages of poetry (30 line maximum per page) by July 20 (or if registering after that date, within a week of registering). The workshop leader and participants will read each manuscript before the retreat. There is a $100 surcharge for this workshop.
     Limited to 8 participants—Led by Lois Marie Harrod, author of 16 books of poetry

"As a first-time attendee, I was very impressed. My workshop leader was full of energy, interesting, encouraging and inspiring. I would come back just for her, but I very much enjoyed the whole experience!"
   ~ Susan, Newtown, PA


Reimagining Memoir workshop leader
Mimi Schwartz is the author of five books including Good Neighbors, Bad Times – Echoes of My Father’s German Village (winner of a Foreword Magazine Award for Memoir in 2008), Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed (a JCC book club pick for 10 best nonfiction, 2002) and Writing True, the Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, currently taught in 250+ undergraduate and MFA programs (co-authored with Sondra Perl). Recent essays have appeared or will appear in Creative Nonfiction, Post Road, Prairie Schooner (upcoming) and Writing on the Edge (upcoming). Others have appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Writer—and seven have been Notables in Best American Essays. A MacDowell Fellow and Geraldine R. Dodge Fellow, she is Professor Emerita at Stockton University and lives in Princeton, New Jersey. You can read her essay on moving forward after her husband's passing, "Who Will Tell My Story?"

Poetry Chapbook workshop leader

Lois Marie Harrod is the author of 16 books. Her most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appears in May 2016 and her chapbook And She Took the Heart was published in January. Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) were released in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). Lois is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. To read some of her work, visit

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 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.

“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 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.


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


  3:00 p.m. Check in anytime before dinner 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
  4:00 Workshop for Chapbook participants
  5:30 Workshop for Memoir participants
  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.

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm new to writing workshops. Will I fit in?
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.

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

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


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

All Inclusive Fee — As low as $665

   ● Tuition with Commuter Package - $665 - Includes 6 day workshop, lunches, snacks, taxes and gratuities.

Options with room packages
Includes 6 day workshop, 6 days/5 nights accommodation with a private bathroom, three meals per day, snacks, taxes and gratuities.

   ● Tuition with Double Room Package - $1,235 - 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 - $1,535
   ● Tuition with Shared Room Package (With non-participating guest) - $1,855 - If you are bringing a guest, they may join us for meals and all non-workshop activities.

Please note: Tuition does not include the $100 surcharge for the Poetry Chapbook workshop.

Take advantage and save
    ● "Early Bard" Discount ($50) if you pay in full on or before July 1
    ● "re-PETER" Discount ($50) if you've attended any of our other programs!

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 9, 2016, and the recipient will be announced on this page by June 27, 2016.

6/27/16 Update: Congratulations to our scholarship recipient! It was a tough choice, but the panel has selected Sarah Chaves from Revere, MA. We look forward to writing with her in New Hampshire.

The Fine Print

   ● "Early Bard" Discount ($50) if you pay in full on or before July 1
   ● "re-PETER" Discount ($50) 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

"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

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.


Dexter's Inn
258 Stagecoach Rd
Sunapee, NH 03782

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.

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 about 10 minutes from Dexter's Inn. We can arrange to have someone pick you up there if you let us know the times in advance.
   Recommended Stations/Airports
   ● Bus: New London, NH (Served by Dartmouth Coach)
   ● Train: Boston's South Station
   ● Airport: Boston's Logan Airport

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

Upon Arrival
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.

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

For Educators

    ● Earn Professional Development Credit. 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.

    ● Your school may pay for you. Many educators are sponsored or reimbursed by their school districts and colleges for our workshops. Purchase orders are welcome.


Call 609-626-3594 or email

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