May 13-19, 2019

Whether you seek the reflective solitude of a retreat or writing time combined with consultations, group discussions, and more, the VCFA Novel Retreat enables you to craft an experience best suited to your individual needs. No matter what stage you’re at with your project—beginning, drafting, middle, or final edit—the retreat is designed to accommodate all aspects of the writing process.

Located amid the beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains on the VCFA campus, retreat participants gain the added benefit of working with our renowned faculty. Our 2019 faculty includes Connie May Fowler, Miciah Bay Gault, Robin MacArthur, Ellen Lesser, Crystal Wilkinson, and special guest literary agent Jeff Kleinman, founding partner at Folio Literary Management in New York City.

While participants and faculty write each morning, afternoons and evenings offer a variety of optional sessions, including craft and process discussions, generative writing classes, manuscript clinics, and agent advice.

Throughout the retreat, impromptu gatherings spontaneously bloom, inspiring insights and discoveries. This is perhaps one of the retreat’s greatest gifts: the invaluable friendships forged when living among a collective of writers.

Unique Features

  • Focused solely on prose-based literary long forms such as novels, memoirs, and collections of short stories or essays
  • 24-hour access to private writing studios
  • Distinguished VCFA Novel Retreat faculty in residence
  • The option to avail oneself to discussions, clinics, readings, and more

Typical Day

The day starts with breakfast, during which a faculty member gives a short reading from a favored text and speaks briefly about what they most admire in the piece, followed by lively discussion. Participants then disperse across the campus to write in their private studios.

Craft presentations, panel discussions, generative sessions, conversations with faculty mentors, manuscript clinics, and more writing take place after lunch. The afternoon sessions are optional, allowing participants to remain focused on their work or take advantage of the retreat offerings. After dinner, participants gather for faculty and participant readings and casual conversation.

Mentorships

For an additional fee, participants are invited to apply for Novel Retreat Mentorships. Each participant in the mentorship program will submit a book-length project (not to exceed 350 pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, default margins). A faculty member will read the manuscript, provide written critique, and conduct two private conferences during the course of the retreat. Participants with manuscripts over 350 pages will be accommodated at the discretion of the director and faculty. An additional fee will apply based on the number of pages submitted.

Accommodations

Most attendees opt for on-campus housing, both for the convenience and the camaraderie. These are simple dormitory accommodations, with a choice of single or shared rooms, and shared baths except in special-needs situations (and subject to availability).

Full meal service through the meal plan is provided by the on-campus eatery, Café Anna. As part of Vermont’s artisanal food movement, they specialize in locally sourced ingredients, offering fresh, seasonal food prepared with care. There also are special outdoor dinners catered during the week and for opening and closing receptions.

Tuition & Fees

The fee includes accommodations (single or double occupancy) in VCFA dorms for six nights.

  • Retreat tuition: $950.00
  • On-campus room & board: $370.00 (single room), $200.00 (shared room)
  • Meal plan (May 13 dinner through May 19 breakfast): $310.00
  • Mentorship: $900.00 for manuscripts under 250 pages; $1100.00 for manuscripts over 250 pages and a maximum of 350.
  • Non-refundable deposit, due at time of registration: $200.00

Balance of payment due March 13.

Special Note: Retreat participants may extend their writing retreat by coming early or staying longer for a nominal additional daily fee.

Registration

Writers may enroll for the retreat as of October 1, 2018; first priority will be given to VCFA MFA in Writing alumni and Novel Retreat alumni.

After October 10, novelists who are not graduates of VCFA or who have not attended previous VCFA Novel Retreats may apply as follows:

Submit for review an approximately 10-page, double-spaced excerpt from a work-in-progress and a statement of intent, not to exceed one page, regarding the project. Email the materials to [email protected]. Upon review, applicants will be notified of the status of their application.

Once the retreat is full, interested writers will be placed on an active waiting list. We welcome and encourage late inquiries, as spaces occasionally reopen due to emergency cancellations.

Cancellation Policy

If you need to withdraw from the retreat, inform the director no later than March 13. The retreat will refund any payments to date, minus the non-refundable $200 deposit. If you cancel your participation after March 13, the program will refund all fees for room and board as applicable; the program will refund your tuition (minus $200) only if a new participant fills the space. Late cancellations create a hardship for the retreat organizers; while we understand that emergencies arise, please inform the program at your earliest opportunity.

Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of a small group of private donors, we have limited funding available for partial Novel Retreat scholarships, which we work to spread among many deserving applicants.

If you require tuition support to make your participation possible, please email Novel Retreat Director Connie May Fowler at [email protected] to request a scholarship. Please state your level of need, related background, and retreat goals, along with a five-page sample manuscript, if you’re not already submitting these materials due to your status as a VCFA MFA in Writing or Novel Retreat alum.

Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis, so early requests are encouraged.

Registration Deadlines

Registration for May 2019 is now open. Early registration is recommended because spaces fill rapidly. Likewise, if you are new to VCFA, please submit your application as early as possible.

Faculty

The VCFA Novel Retreat is proud to announce its 2019 faculty. The College brings in acclaimed novelists and industry professionals who are also dedicated educators from VCFA and beyond. Our 2019 faculty are award-winning novelists, short story writers, memoirists, and poets, along with one of publishing’s top literary agents.

Participant Testimonials

“Without exaggeration, this retreat has changed my life as a writer.”

“Having big blocks of uninterrupted time to write was a godsend. Because of that, I had a couple of major breakthroughs, not only with my work, but with some deep soul searching about who I am as writer.”

“It was a powerful and transformative week for me as a writer.”

“The retreat provided a beautiful opportunity to get re-immersed in my novel and my writing life. The conversations about craft and process nourished my apparently starving artist. There was no stress—except the mild anxiety of facing the page every day. Which I did: three hours every morning and two every afternoon, I sat down in my beautiful writing studio and thought and wrote and did the work. I also loved the feeling of all being in it together, participants and faculty all working. This retreat model is exactly what post-graduate writers need to continue to grow and form community.”

“The peace and quiet and beauty of the campus was a balm to my tired body and spirit so that I could connect my creative voice again.”

“The seeds of the craft sessions that were sown at VCFA have helped me create new passages and improve ones that had already been written. The sessions, prompts, conversations (formal or informal), and social events during the retreat have informed my work since then. In other words, I brought the retreat home with me.”

Contact

Connie May Fowler
Retreat Director
[email protected]