Murphy Writing of Stockton University offers challenging & supportive workshops


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Writing in the Pines
A One Day Writing Getaway

Saturday, April 8, 2017 - Filled
9:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Stockton University, Galloway, NJ

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

Tired of winter? Tired of being cold? Tired of writing the same thing or not writing at all? Leave your winter doldrums at home and join us in the heart of the New Jersey Pinelands, where spring will be breaking through the sandy soil. Let this getaway revitalize and inspire you as you set some new writing into motion. Choose from workshops in memoir, fiction or poetry. Learn more.

"Re-PETERs" welcome! Prompts, readings and craft discussion will differ each time.

"I was surprised at how easily the writing came to me in this setting! I really enjoyed the unique writing prompts and the opportunity to share my work with my group."
   ~ One Day Writing Getaway Participant

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


Our retreats are centered on 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 6 hours and will offer craft discussion, writing prompts, writing time, sharing and inspiration.

Spend the day writing in one of the following workshops.

Inventive Intensive: A Poetry Writing Mini-Boot Camp
Want to start at least four new poems in six hours? This workshop was made for you. Using models (by Lucille Clifton, Thomas Lux, Yehuda Amichai, Yusef Komunyakaa, Margaret Atwood, Tony Hoagland and others), you will be guided in composing poems that begin with a very specific object or concept and move outwards in the direction of a discovered truth, ideally revealing something you didn’t know you knew. Our day-long session will include some sharing and feedback time, but the real focus of the workshop will be on inspiring you to create at least four new pieces. Arrive rested and curious; leave exhausted and happy.
     Led by BJ Ward


Children's Books: Planning and Plotting
Learn what it takes to write for children in this intensive yet friendly workshop. The day will begin with conversations about craft, taking into account the ages of those in your audience and their span of reading levels. This will include an overview of successful children’s books and their broad scope. Then you will write to an exercise and receive instructive feedback. This sequence will be repeated throughout the day. You can use the writing prompts to develop ideas for a new project or to strengthen a work in progress. Head home with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and purpose in writing for children.
     Led by Pamela Curtis Swallow


The Truth, The Whole Truth & A Few Lies: A Memoir Workshop
"Everything I write is true, especially the stuff I make up." (Peter E. Murphy)
When writing about our lives, it’s impossible to remember every pleasure, pain and conversation—yet it is our job as memoirists to be true to our experience. This workshop will show you how to use the tools of the fiction writer to tell your story in a way that is engaging and meaningful. After leading a craft discussion based on short memoir excerpts, Peter will give you several prompts to help you discover the heart of your story. He will guide you in your writing, focusing not just on what happened, but also on setting, tone, dialogue and point of view. Your memoir does not need to be earth-shattering to be compelling; it just needs to be well written. Spend the day immersed in this supportive community, writing and sharing some of your new drafts. You may bring previously-written work or start something new.
     Led by Peter E. Murphy

Schedule (Tentative)

  9:15 a.m. Arrive and sign in
  9:30 Welcome, Craft Discussion, Prompts, Writing Time
  12:15 p.m. Lunch
  1:00 Craft Discussion, Prompts, Writing Time, Sharing
  4:15 Closing
  4:30 Head Home


Poetry workshop leader
Peter E. Murphy writer headshotBJ Ward is the author of four books of poetry, including Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems 1990-2013, which received the Paterson Prize for Literary Excellence. His poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, The New York Times, The Normal School and The Sun. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts. He has received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education from the State of NJ and was named Teaching Artist of the Year by the NJ Writers Project. He has been on the faculty of The Frost Place Festival, The Controlled Burn Seminar and the NJ Governor’s School for the Arts. He co-founded and teaches year-round in the Creative Writing program at Warren County Community College. Read some of his work:

Fiction workshop leader
Pamela Curtis Swallow is the author of 11 books. She’s been publishing since 1986 for a wide audience—elementary, middle grade and young adult and adult. Pam’s fiction and non-fiction books include: Groundhog Gets A Say (Putnam/Scholastic); It Only Looks Easy (Roaring Brook Press/Scholastic); the Melvil and Dewey Series (Libraries Unlimited), which includes an activity guide entitled Melvil and Dewey Teach Literacy; A Writer’s Notebook (Scholastic); Wading through Peanut Butter (Scholastic); No Promises (Putnam/Scholastic); and Leave It to Christy (Putnam/Scholastic). She recently completed The Remarkable Life and Career of Ellen Swallow Richards: Pioneer in Science and Technology. In addition to writing, Pam spent many years as a teacher and as a school librarian. Her website is:

Memoir 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


Writing in the Pines will take place at Stockton University’s Campus Center in the heart of the Pinelands National Reserve. Located near the intersection of the AC Expressway and the Garden State Parkway, Stockton is just 1 hour from Philadelphia, 95 minutes from Princeton and just over 2 hours from North Jersey and New York. See the Travel section below for the address, directions and parking info.

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.

"This program offered a lot of valuable information and inspiration. Time and money well invested. Thank you."
   ~ Richard A. Herman, author of
Laszlo's Fire


Tuition for April 8 — $80 - Filled
     Includes a sandwich, salad, soft drink, chips and dessert for lunch.

Take advantage & save:
    ● "re-PETER" Discount ($10 off) if you've attended any of our other programs
    ● Stockton Discount ($40 off) for students, alumni, faculty, adjuncts or staff with a Z number

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

-+-+-  -+-+-+-  -+-+-
The Fine Print
    ● Full fee due upon registration
    ● "re-PETER" Discount ($10 off) if you've attended any of our other programs
    ● Stockton Discount ($40 off) for students, alumni, faculty, adjuncts or staff with a Z number
    ● Sorry, only one discount per person
    ● Change Fee ($25) will be charged to make changes to your registration after March 25

Cancellation Policy
    ● By March 25 — 50% credit toward one of our upcoming programs
    ● After March 25 — No refund

We are not currently offering scholarships for this program. Sign up for our email list to be notified about future scholarship opportunities.

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

"I loved how welcoming the retreat was. I truly felt among a community of writers rather than people promoting themselves. The workshop was encouraging and informative. I'm really looking forward to the next one."
   ~ Jenna, Lanoka Harbor, NJ

Photo Gallery

Take a look at the photos from one of our previous Writing in the Pines programs or view our full collection of Writing Getaway photos.


Stockton University
Campus Center - Board of Trustees Meeting Room (New location for 2017)
101 Vera King Farris Drive
Galloway, NJ 08205

Driving Directions
Important Update – 2/1/17
The "Rest Stop Exit" on the Garden State Parkway is permanently closed. Please follow these new directions to Stockton: Stockton’s driving directions, or view Google's directions.

Stockton University offers free parking on weekends. There is a big construction project on campus. You may want to allow a few extra minutes to park. Park in Lot 3 or 4 (near the Unified Science Center) and enter the Campus Center through the center doors. Download the campus map for more details.

Once inside the Campus Center, turn right and walk down the long hall. The Board of Trustees Meeting Room will be on your left. If you reach the stairs going down to the food court, you've gone too far.

If you have trouble finding the Campus Center or the Board of Trustees Meeting Room, please ask. The Stockton community is quite friendly and will be glad to help.

Accommodations (Optional)
Stockton Seaview Hotel, a 4-star hotel with excellent reviews, is only a 10 minute drive. This Holiday Inn Express also has good reviews on TripAdvisor. Spring weekends may be in high demand and if it's tough to find a bargain, you can look into other hotels in Egg Harbor Township, Absecon and Galloway, all of which are within a 20 minute drive.

Although you may find a good deal at an independent motel, we suggest you stick with the major hotel chains and check reviews on a site such as TripAdvisor before you book.

Note: If you are coming from out of town and prefer a Writing Getaway where we make the hotel and meal arrangements for you, consider one of our other upcoming writing retreats.

Testimonials about our Writing Getaways & Retreats

"This was my first time attending and I truly grew. I loved the low-key, relaxed nature and appreciated the thoughtful assignments. Thanks for the great experience."
~ Christine, Philadelphia, PA

"I loved this event. Peter offered great insight into the craft of writing in an honest, down-to-earth way. The reading selections were great examples and the prompts were perfectly challenging."
  ~ Farrah, Manahawkin, NJ

"Peter, magically, has the ability to sweep away doubts, excuses and the static in my head–until all that is left is the opportunity to write. Another great experience!"
   ~ Joe, Marmora, NJ

"There is so much positive energy, which creates a welcoming environment–and this is all thanks to Peter and Amanda: two good souls who genuinely care about the participants and disarm any pretense the minute they walk in the door. Thank you, Peter, for inspiring and cultivating a nurturing climate packed with creativity and free imagination."
   ~ Ben, Allentown, PA

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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