The Magic of Magnetic Island

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Oh yes, it really is that beautiful! I arrived home last night from a wonderful extended stay on Magnetic Island, just off the coast from Townsville in North Queensland. Wish you could have been there too! Traditional home of the Wulgurukaba People and a true piece of paradise.

We had so much fun on retreat. A fabulous group of writers, from absolute beginners to those with books under their belts. Now freshly-minted mermaids!img_3710.jpg

It all started with drinks on the verandah with tame blue-winged kookaburras eating out of our hands. Those beaks were a bit scary!

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Champagne still in hand, workshops started and writing dreams began to take shape.

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Then dinner up at the Amaroo restaurant with all the gang : )

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Mornings were filled with yoga and dance with our resident dancing queen Lalita Lakshmi!

Then we got stuck into the business at hand – writing! With two writing workshops covering all the basics and focusing in on character development to shape plot we were plenty busy enough. We got lots of writing done and had masses of information to absorb, so we needed our princess naps in the afternoon.

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Some  retreaters took advantage of the extended break and explored the beautiful island and had a walk and a swim.

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Dinner on Saturday night was at Bikini Tree Restaurant where my friends Jen and Dan had prepared a delicious and plentiful Indian feast.

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Even though we were stuffed to the gills (as mermaids get very hungry!) we managed to rouse ourselves for my personal highlight of the retreat  — candle dancing on the beach! The photo is blurry but you get the general idea of the fun of it. Lalita led us all in a joyful and playful celebration of life. I’m definitely keeping Lalita and dancing as part of the retreats.

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Sunday and more yoga and dancing and deep relaxation, some goal setting and another favourite part of the retreats, collage! Some collages were fun, some surprising, and others full of wonderful wishes that I hope all come true.

After farewelling all the lovely retreaters, my friend Vahida and I stayed on at Magnetic for another week, working on our own projects. Then Vahida left too, and I worked on in paradise editing a book for a friend of mine who lives on the island. Took the manuscript to the beach and worked on the sand : ) Yes! It’s not a bad life.

So now I’m home and back in the saddle, ready for more.

Life Writing Workshop this weekend at the CYA Conference Everything is a Genre Day. For the weekend (or day) ticket you get as many fabulous workshops as you can handle.

The following weekend I’m presenting Building Your Career as a Writer, at the QLD Writers Centre. You can come along in person or particpate online as the session is streamed. I call this workshop – Many Fingers Many Pies, because it’s all about how to make money writing or doing things related to writing. We all have bills to pay, but it’s very nice to pay them by doing what we love.

And on Saturday 20 July I’m at Sunnybank Hill Library for a FREE WORKSHOP on the basics of creative writing. Would love to see you there. Come along and say hi : )

While I was away I also received feedback on my feature film screenplay from a Los Angeles script editor, so I’ll be busily redrafting over the next few months. Cross fingers it makes it to the big screen.

Coming soon is the launch of Bjelke Blues, a book of stories about life in Queensland under Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, that I’ve been collecting and editing for AndAlso Books. Super excited about that. It’s heading to the printers very soon. As soon as I have the cover I’ll be showing it off. Launch is booked for Friday August 23. More on that later,

Next retreat is set for November 8 – 10 at Burleigh Heads. I’m designing it as dual purpose.

A planning and writing retreat to super boost people doing NANOWRIMO.

And for those women with a finished manuscript (or almost finished) already done, a feedback and redrafting weekend, with personalised feedback from me on the first 10 pages and your synopsis and also feedback from a small group of your peers. That way you get to talk about the book you’re working on with people who understand just how much work you’ve done and how precious your project is.

If you’d like more information about the Burleigh Retreat, would like to secure your spot, or just sign up for newsletters to keep you up to date with the retreats or to receive my hints, tips and opportunities GET IN TOUCH.

Hope to see some of you soon at one of the workshops.

Happy Writing till then!

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Lots of love,

Edwina xx

 

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FREE MEMOIR WORKSHOP IN TOWNSVILLE! YAY!

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Yes! Not long now and I’m flying up to Townsville for the Queensland Writers Centre to facilitate a day-long workshop on using the techniques of fiction to bring your memoir to life. And best of all, it’s FREE!

My father’s family is from far north Queensland, so I always enjoy travelling up to the cane fields, tropical sunshine and reef. Such a beautiful part of the world where wonderful people somehow manage to thrive in all that heat.

You can register HERE

WHEN?

Sat., 11 May 2019

10:30 am – 4:30 pm AEST

WHERE?

Aitkinvale Library

4 Petunia Street

Aikenvale

Townsville, QLD 4814

See the map HERE

So if you have a story from your life you’re itching to tell, come along and write up a storm!

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A full day workshop for FREE! YIPPEE!

Keen writers and beginners all welcome.

Book HERE

Hope to see you there 🙂

Edwina x

LAST CHANCE TO RELAX AND WRITE IN THE MOUNTAINS!

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Only two more weeks until we’re up in the hills running and dancing, arms spread wide, singing and laughing! Well, maybe it’ll be more like walking and writing and enjoying some gentle stretches and deep relaxation, but you get the idea.

If you’ve been um-ing and ah-ing about whether to come, now’s your chance. This is the sign you’ve been waiting for.

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The weekend starts with welcome drinks and nibbles, then dinner and our first writing session, getting to know each other and exploring what stories we really want – or need –  to write.

Saturday is jam-packed with yoga first thing, then two writing workshops.

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After dinner it’s bonfire time with marshmallows and singalongs and whatever special talents everyone would like to share. Jude is famous for her bawdy jokes so watch out!

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Sunday finishes with more yoga and another writing workshop which includes advice on editing your own work and then developing a plan to follow up on all the new story ideas you’ll have in progress by then.

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Amy the Camp Koojarewon cook is creating a fantastic vegetarian menu especially for us.

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We have the whole retreat centre to ourselves. So even though we’re in dorms we can spread right out and make ourselves cubby-house rooms within them. The grounds are lovely with giant trees and fantastic views, lots of places to walk and write and relax. Coffee shops are nearby for those who need a strong brew in the mornings.

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Not only that, my friend Monique is joining us to provide massages! Yes, go the whole hog and book yourself in for an hour-long pampering and healing massage. Contact Monique HERE to book your spot.

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I’m so excited to be hosting this wonderful weekend of writing, yoga and fun. Come along and join our merry band of mermaids, scribes and wood-sprites.

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Contact me HERE to book or for more information. But hurry. Places are strictly limited to no more than 15 participants. Only two spots left! $400 for the whole weekend including accomodation and all meals. Special deals for locals who want to sleep in their own beds. BOOK NOW!

Treat yourself to a weekend of creative fun with like-minded women in beautiful surroundings.

We all deserve some time out now and then.

Lots of love

Edwina x

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TWO FREE WRITING WORKSHOPS!

 

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I’m thrilled to announce that I’m facilitating two free creative writing workshops in March. I love it when things are free so everyone can come!

2nd MARCH 2019: DEVELOPING PLOT THROUGH CHARACTER 10 am – 12:15pm
ROBINA LIBRARY

On the Gold Coast in Queensland, at Robina Library, I’ll be running a session how to craft a meaningful plot based on your characters’ scars, secrets and desires. Delve deep into the art of writing with this workshop. Whether you’re writing fiction or memoir, it will help you know your story people better and develop a compelling and emotional narrative.

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9th MARCH 2019: INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING 1pm – 2:30pm
NUNDAH LIBRARY

In Brisbane’s inner northern suburbs, at Nundah Library, I’m facilitating a class covering the basics of creative writing – Character, Setting, Plot, Point of View and Voice. Suitable for both beginners or for those wanting to refresh their writing practice.

To book see HERE and call the library directly on 07 3407 8701 to reserve your place.gympie-workshop-october-2018.jpg-writing.jpgThese sessions are always a lot of fun and you’ll come away with at least part of a story done, your mind racing with ideas and your hand sore from writing so much!

 

Every workshop I teach includes a deep relaxation designed to quieten your inner critic and free your creative voice. You’ll be surprised the difference it can make.

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And, because it’s important for writers to keep moving, we’ll even do some simple yoga moves to straighten out those sore shoulders and hands from all that writing.

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Come along and say hello, get that story idea out of your head and onto the page. Make sure you let me know you’re there!

These workshops will give you a taste of what it’s like on my retreats, where we cram in so much relaxation, writing and fun you can’t help but feel inspired and motivated to get stuck into your writing projects.

The next retreat is in the mountains near Toowoomba – see HERE for all the details.

 

Any questions about any of these workshops or my retreats? Or want to get regular writing hints and tips, and keep up to date with writing opportunities? Contact me HERE. I’d love to hear from you.

Hope to see you at one of these workshops. Book your spot soon as places for these freebies fill fast!

Lots of love
Edwina xx

RELAX AND WRITE IN THE MOUNTAINS!

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Is your creative spirit crying out for a little TLC? Come along and regain your love of writing and life at the next Relax and Write Retreat at Camp Koojarewon in the mountains near Toowoomba, Queensland.

From 2pm FRIDAY 26 APRIL – 1pm 28 APRIL 2019

Join like-minded women in a fun and supportive environment discovering just how much some deep relaxation can ignite your imagination and get you writing again. Relax and unwind with gentle morning yoga sessions and get writing with innovative workshops that use yoga and drama techniques to help move those stories out of your head and onto the page.

The program includes two full yoga sessions and four creative writing workshops covering the basics of story development, whether you’re writing memoir, fiction or screenplays, as well as hints and tips on editing and submitting your work to publishers.

Cost includes two nights basic dorm accommodation –we have the run of the whole camp so no one will have to sleep on a top bunk unless they want to and we’ll have plenty of room to spread out (a couple of ensuite rooms are available for those with health issues or special needs) — plus delicious vegetarian meals, morning and afternoon teas and suppers.

Come along and join the fun, make new writing buddies and rekindle your love of writing.

Contact Edwina for more info and bookings.

COST
Includes basic dorm accommodation, all meals, two yoga classes and four creative writing workshops.
$400 for the weekend of yoga, writing, fun and feasting – Or pay your $200 deposit before 8 March 2019 for EARLY BIRD $360

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Edwina Shaw has been writing and publishing since 2002. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of QLD and is also an experienced yoga teacher. Her book Thrill Seekers was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and has recently been released as a new imprint through Raven Books UK. Her feature film project M is under development with a producer attached. She is a registered teacher and runs workshops at schools and writers’ festivals through Speakers Ink and the QLD Writers Centre and also works as an editor and mentor. She lives in Brisbane where she can most often be found writing, doing yoga, or daydreaming. She loves helping other women rediscover their creative spirits and get their bodies moving again.

TEN GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR WRITERS plus DATES FOR RELAX AND WRITE 4!

 

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Here’s my pick for great gifts for the writer in your life – or as a special treat for yourself if you’re the one scribbling away like a fury.
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.artists way

 

I recommend this book to just about everyone I meet. It was the book that got me finally acting towards my long-held dream of being a writer. It’s practical, uplifting and guaranteed to get you writing or painting or dancing – or whatever creative pursuit brings you joy.

2. A room with a door that closes – or at the very least a screen to close off a corner of another room. That’s what I have, and it works just fine. Writers need a space of their own and plenty of privacy – we often do quite crazy things when we’re writing, and it can scare other people!
3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – another wonderful book about the writing life that’s bird by birdwritten with humour and understanding of the ups and downs of the hard yakka of getting stories written.
4. Stationery. It doesn’t have to be fancy leather-bound journals or gold-plated pens – though they’re really glorious, but simple journals and pens and coloured pencils and all sorts of paper and writing tools usually make writers drool. We sometimes just hang out in Officeworks fondling nicely bound notebooks.

 

5. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – this is the most recent edition to my collection of big magic.pngbooks to uplift my writing sprit when battling an onslaught of rejections. By the author who wrote Eat Pray Love this book makes you believe in the magic of writing.

6. A new laptop – that’s if you’re very flash with cash. The writer in your life will love you forever.

7. Writing software such as Scrivener or for the screenwriters – Final Draft. But do check with your writer first – they may want to choose the program themselves.

8. For the more old-fashioned writer – a thesaurus or dictionary or reference book on myths or fairy tales in hard copy.

9. A book by your writer’s favourite author – or perhaps the collected works. You can get Penguin classics at very reasonable prices these days, so you could buy a few master works to inspire great writing.

10. A retreat – shout your writer to a week or a weekend away to nurture their creative spirit and network with other writing folk. Retreats range in price and duration from luxurious weeks in Fiji to retreats like mine coming up in Toowoomba where the accommodation isn’t posh, but the creativity, fun and camaraderie is real. Check out the fancy retreats here and dream on!!

Which leads me to the grand announcement –

Are you ready for more? It’s Relax and Write 4!

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Dates and venue are now locked in for the next retreat:
WHEN? 26 – 28th APRIL 2019

WHERE? Camp Koojarewon in the mountains just north of Toowoomba in Highfields.

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WHAT? – a combined yoga and writing retreat for women.

The program includes four writing workshops covering the basics of setting, character and structure with lots of writing activities and deep relaxation to help quiet the inner critic and free your imagination. workshop helena STAR
It also includes two gentle morning yoga sessions suitable for even the creakiest bodies – focusing on breathing and calming the mind, with every posture adjusted to your individual needs (you can do it on a chair if you like). There’s also plenty of quiet time to do your own writing, explore the surroundings, or just catch up on some shut-eye.

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Plus ALL MEALS! In fact, the lovely folk at Koojarewon are planning to stuff us like pate geese with delicious vegetarian meals, as well as morning and afternoons teas and even suppers!

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WHY? Because writers usually work alone and empty out their tanks of inspiration and determination. A retreat like this one is perfect for renewing your love of writing, and life, and for connecting you with kindred spirits and new writing buddies.

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HOW MUCH? For two nights’ rustic accommodation and all meals, plus all workshops and yoga classes only $400!

And, if you’re very clever and pay your deposit before the 8th March it’s only $360 early bird price.

HOW? By clicking HERE and filling in the form for more information.

Bring a friend or make new friends when you come. A warm welcome awaits you.

I’d really love to have you along. Treat yourself to a retreat for Christmas – you’ll have lots of fun!

Wishing you all a fabulous festive season and the best year yet in 2019!
Edwina xxx

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KOOJAREWON!

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Yesterday I drove up the range to Koojarewon, the site of the forthcoming retreat and this is the glorious view that awaited me at the top. Koojarewon is an Indigenous word meaning “top of the range” – it was an important waypoint on the local people’s way to a scared celebration site nearby.

The camp is in a beautiful spot – that’s a picture of the view! It has 16 acres of old growth trees and while I was there the only sound was birdsong and leaves rustling. An owl hoo-hooted throughout my visit, so calming.

 

I met Jodie and Dallan, the lovely workers there, who are super excited to be hosting writers and yogis and are preparing vegetarian feasts for us to enjoy. Behind me in this shot is the fire pit for Saturday night’s festivities. Jodie has promised us marshmallows! YAY!

The dorms are actually quite pleasant. And, as we have the run of the entire campsite, we can spread out through them, making little private rooms for ourselves with a few sarongs strung up here and there. The  communal bathrooms were inside and lovely and clean with plenty of sinks and showers.

There are also a couple of private rooms with ensuites – but only a couple. If you have health issues or a terrible snore do let me know and we’ll see if one of them has your name on it! Koojarewon me

What I liked best, apart from the trees, the fire pit,  and the view, was the cosy sitting room with couches, beanbags and a kettle – just perfect for settling in to do some quiet writing of your own. Jodie also told me about a wonderful place to visit for sunset drinks with a magnificent view of the Western Plains.

It took me about an hour and a half to drive up from Brisbane. My Sat Nav lady sent me through Murphy’s Creek which was actually gorgeous – much more pleasant than the highway. I felt like I was driving back in time 🙂

Or if you’d like to ask me anything email me HERE

Spoil yourself with a weekend of writing and gentle yoga and relaxation in the mountains. We all need a little time out now and then. Come and roast some marshmallows with me 🙂

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New Review!

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New review just in from the fabulous Jenni Mulligan – she’s the one in the fancy chequered flares!

Last year I subconsciously made a commitment to attend a Relax and Write Retreat having seen a few enticing event invitations and images float through my Facebook feed.

When the Evans Head event notice popped up I decided to go for it even though it involved a complicated calendar reshuffle. This effort was rewarded a thousand-fold.
Edwina’s blog post covers the details and structure of the retreat, so I’ll just summarise my highlights.

I loved the daily yoga and meditation sessions, was at the edge of my seat during the fascinating, emotional and hilarious writing sessions, was in awe listening to the writing of my fellow retreaters, partied at Saturday’s Open Mike Night and felt so pampered having a wonderful dinner cooked for me each evening. As a bonus, the retreat was located across the road from the beautiful Evans Head beach… so was able to have early morning and sunset walks.

I feel confident saying that the long weekend will be in the top 2 of my annual 10 Great Things I Did This Year… and I’ve had a bloody amazing year.

My thanks to Edwina and Helena for not only sharing their experience, industry insights and talent with us, but also for creating a safe and loving space and time for creativity, open heartedness and laughter. Suffice to say, Relax and Write Retreat at Evans Head 2019 is already in my calendar.

Jenni Mulligan.

Thanks so much Jenni! See you next year 🙂 xx

Next retreat is in the mountains near Toowoomba. See here for more details.

Come along and join the fun!

RETREATS AHOY!

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Only a few weeks until Relax and Write 3 at Camp Koinonia in beautiful Evan’s Head northern NSW. There are still a few spots free, if you’d like to come along and join the fun. We always have a wonderful time.

It’s on from Friday 31st August until Monday the 3rd of September with prices starting at only $440.  Check out all the details here or drop Helena a line at helenapastor2@gmail.com for more info and to book.

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Can’t wait to get onto this beautiful beach again!

In other news, we’re running a very special retreat in partnership with the Unleash the Beast Writing and Wellness Symposium in Toowoomba west of Brisbane, from October 5 – 7th at Camp Koojarewon in Highfields looking out from the top of the range. It’s fully catered and by the looks of things they plan to stuff us like geese. We’ll have the run of the whole place too, so although we’ll be in dorm-style accommodation, we’ll have plenty of space and privacy and, most importantly, toilets inside within easy reach!

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Like our other retreats it’s a great blend of yoga, relaxation exercises and creative writing workshops guaranteed to refresh your spirit and get you writing stories that surprise you.

For further details and to book, please see HERE

I’m so excited about doing a retreat in the mountains 🙂 Come along and relax and unwind among the trees with me.

Looking forward to sharing my love of writing and yoga with you!

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YAHOO! YIPPEE! RELAX AND WRITE 3!

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This Spring, forget the housework – SPRING CLEAN YOURSELF!!

Come and join our merry band of mermaids and scribes at the next Relax and Write Retreat from Friday 31st August until Monday 3rd September 2018 at beautiful Camp Koinonia by the sea at Evans Head Northern NSW.

Bookings are now open for Relax and Write 3 with early bird prices in effect until the 31st July. Places are filling fast so make sure you put your hand up soon by contacting Helena at helenapastor2@gmail.com for more info and a booking form.

The program includes a fun mix of yoga in the mornings,

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and informative and inspiring creative writing workshops throughout the day.

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With lots of time for relaxing, swimming, walking, meditating, chatting and little lie downs 🙂

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PROGRAM FOR RELAX AND WRITE 3

FRIDAY
Arrival from 2 p.m. Check-in
5:30 p.m. Welcome, drinks and nibbles, intro
6:30 p.m. Deep relaxation and introductory
writing exercises
7:30 p.m. Dinner

SATURDAY
7:30 – 9 am Gentle morning yoga and breathing
exercises with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 p.m. Writing Your Way into a Story – Helena
FREE TIME FOR LUNCH AND
BEACH ACTIVITIES
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Using yoga and drama techniques for
developing your characters – Edwina
7pm Dinner
OPEN MIC NIGHT If you’re up to it, please bring
along a song or other musical item,
a poem, a short performance piece
or whatever else you would like to share…

SUNDAY
7:30 – 9 am Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30p.m. Structuring for Suspense – Edwina
EXCURSION TO CHINAMANS
BEACH FOR PICNIC LUNCH AND
FREEWRITING
4pm – 6 pm Writing Dialogue – Helena
7pm Dinner

MONDAY
7:30 – 9 am Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 p.m. Pitching your work – from bios to synopses
to grant applications – E and H
Feedback and farewells.

COST

We’ve done our best to keep prices for the retreat reasonable – we know women often don’t have much cash to spend on themselves. We also know they really need some time out to nurture themselves and their writing.

$470 for single room in ensuite cabin
$430 for twin share in ensuite cabin

EARLY BIRD $440/$400 if booked and deposit of $150 received before 31st July 2018

The cost includes:
• 3 x yoga sessions
• 6 x writing workshops.
• 3 x nights accommodation
• 3 x healthy vegetarian dinners

If you have any ideas for workshops you ‘d like to see included, please let us know.

For more information and to book please contact Helena

We’d love to have you come along and join the fun. We always have a wonderful time 🙂

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Helena and Edwina