Retreat West is all about reading and writing fiction. Learn with great authors on residential writing retreats and online courses; get published and paid in the competitions; and improve your skills with the courses and editorial reviews.
Our Author Members also get ongoing motivation and inspiration via email; discounts on the courses and retreats; free entries to the comps and free copies of the books we publish; a supportive online community; and priority booking when new courses are launched.
Retreat West Books (Winner Most Innovative Publisher 2020 Saboteur Awards) publishes short story collections, novels and memoirs.
Submit your short stories, flash fictions and micro fictions for the new journal from Retreat West.
See the full guidelines here: https://westword.uk/submissions/
FIRST CHAPTER COMPETITION
Send the opening chapter of your novel to win feedback from top publishing industry professionals. Extra benefit added to the prize this year: a 30-minute Zoom meeting with our literary agent judge!
2024 Judge - Eli Keren
Eli Keren is a literary agent at United Agents in London. See his full profile on the agency website here.
Eli Keren started his publishing career at Curtis Brown before joining United Agents as an assistant in 2016. In 2021 he became an associate literary agent, representing a growing list of clients across fiction and non-fiction, actively seeking books that are going to make a positive impact in the world in some way, big or small. Before working in books, Eli was a research scientist designing and synthesising novel drugs (white coat and everything), and science books remain a particular passion of his. He is also very interested in LGBT-themed books in both fiction and non-fiction. In 2023 he was elected treasurer of the Association of Authors’ Agents.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS CONTEST IS FOR YA AND ADULT FICTION NOVELS ONLY. WE DO NOT ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS OF CHILDREN’S NOVELS.
Submission package (cover letter, synopsis and first three chapters) review and written feedback from Eli Keren and a 30-minute Zoom meeting to discuss your work.
Feedback on first three chapters from Amanda Saint, author, creative writing tutor and publisher at Retreat West Books (winner Most Innovative Publisher 2020 Saboteur Awards).
Short feedback from Eli Karen on the first chapter he reads during the judging process. This is provided in the blog announcing the results.
Deadline: 28th January 2024
Entry fee: £10 or £50 with detailed feedback on the first chapter you submit
See full contest T&Cs here: https://www.retreatwest.co.uk/competitions/first-chapter/
From 2023, we have an ongoing Writer-in-Residence Programme for the Retreat West Community.
What does the residency entail?
It's a 6-month programme for writers of fiction who want to develop their teaching skills alongside their writing and be part of a friendly and welcoming online community. It's open to all writers around the world as long as they are fluent speaking and writing in English. We welcome applications from all regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.
During the 6-month period you will:
- Teach two 1-hour Zoom workshops for community members on topics to be agreed with Retreat West founder, Amanda Saint. These will take place at 7pm UK time on a weekday evening so if you are in a different timezone please ensure this is doable for you.
- Host four 1-hour Zoom feedback sessions for community members to get feedback on their flash fictions. These will take place at 3pm UK time on a weekday afternoon so if you are in a different timezone please ensure this is doable for you.
- Write 3 craft development blog posts for the community site on topics to be agreed.
- Be an active member of the online community - starting conversations and responding to other members' posts.
In return you will get a benefits package with a value of approx. £1320
- A monthly stipend of £50, which will be paid once a month for the 6-month period. You will need to invoice for this. Value: £300 for the 6-month period
- One year’s Community Collaborator membership to the Retreat West community. Value: £35
- Tickets to all events we host, including the Flash Fiction Festival and our Saturday workshop series during the year of membership. If you can’t attend live you can get the recordings for them all. Approx. value of package: £405 (based on us running 3 Zoom workshops a month and 2 Flash Fest a year)
- Monthly Zoom mentoring chats with Amanda Saint to help you further develop your writing and teaching skills; and learn about running a creative venture if this is also of interest to you. Value: £450
- One year's subscription to the Retreat West Substack and Amanda Saint's Mindful Writer Substack. Value: £130
You will need:
- A publication history in fiction - this can be novels, short stories, or flash/micro fictions - and have been published in the past 2 years. You will need to provide links to demonstrate this.
- To have taught at least 1 creative writing workshop previously and be able to provide either a link to watch a snippet of you teaching, or a recommendation from someone who has taken a workshop with you.
When does it start?
It is a rolling programme starting every 6 months. The first residency starts in September 2023 and we are now reading applications for this. Applications are now open for:
- Next start date: 1st March 2024 - 31st August 2024
- Deadline for applications: 14th January 2024
- Application processing fee: £10
How to apply
- Applications are via Submittable only and must be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on the deadline date.
- Send a 1-page writer CV and a 1-page covering letter detailing why you'd like to be the Writer-in-Residence and give a brief summary of a workshop you'd deliver and a craft article you'd write. Please include these in one document.
- Links to publication history in the past 2 years.
- A link to a video of you teaching, or you can include a recommendation from someone who has taken a workshop with you.
If you have any questions, please message us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.