Cape Cod, MA

The Summer retreats have been suspended until further notice.

The optional summer retreat offers students a chance to focus intensively on the development of their writing in a one-week writing workshop. The group meets in the mornings in plenary sessions with a focus on craft and technique, followed by small discussion groups where each participant is able to work intensively on her/his writing projects. Individual consultations with faculty members can also be arranged. Afternoons, evenings, and all day Wednesday are free for recreation, independent work, and collaboration with colleagues. Students have found that they have been able to accomplish substantial work in this relatively brief (six day) time frame. Participation in the retreat is open to incoming students.

Past writing instructors have been Deirdre Callanan and Sara Taber:

Deirdre Callanan joined the New Directions’ faculty in 2006. Her roles have included co-leading writing groups, as well as working with writers at both the summer and winter retreats. Deirdre wrote her first poem at age six and has been writing ever since. She has published poems, fiction, essays, and journalism articles. Her manuscript and photos about a Tampa streetcar, which since 1947 has been a Fish Camp on Casey Key, was serialized in the Venice, Florida paper. Her most recent book is Water Dreaming, a haunting portrayal in a series of poems of the flooding and destruction of the Swift River Valley in Western Massachusetts during the 1930s to build a reservoir for Boston. While Deirdre relishes her summer hours harvesting beach plums, she’s most content when helping other writers hone their pieces.

Sara Mansfield Taber is a writer of essays, memoirs, commentary, and literary journalism. Raised in Asia and Europe as the daughter of a C.I. A. covert operative, she recently spent ten years sorting out her exotic, itinerant childhood. Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir of a Cold War Spy’s Daughter, was published in 2012. She has also published two books of people and place, Dusk on the Campo: A journey in Patagonia and Bread of Three Rivers: The Story of a French Loaf. Most recently, she published Chance Particulars, A Writer’s Field Notebook. A past William Sloane Fellow in Nonfiction for the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, she has received fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has taught creative nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins University and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has been part of New Directions for nine years.

In the past, we have started with a welcoming reception the evening of Saturday, August 3. The actual working retreat begins on Sunday and ends on Friday evening with a final dinner and group reading. To get a sense of what it feels like to go to the Retreat, you can read about prior retreats here: Summer Retreat 2013 and Summer Retreat 2014.

The cost of the retreat is determined in the Spring.  We have a policy of no cancellations after July 1. You slot is not reserved until you have paid the registration fee. Sara and Deirdre will also be available – schedules and time permitting – for individual consultation and editing sessions at a rate of $100 an hour.

July and August are high-season on the Cape and accommodations get booked up early, so if you are considering attending you’ll want to make reservations for your housing now. The Retreat will be held at Deirdre’s home: 65 North Road, West Harwich, MA 02671.  Googling her address will give you an idea of location with regard to how close or far away the different towns, lodgings, and house rentals are.  For starters, here are some inns nearby within walking distance: The Beach Breeze InnThe Commodore Inn, and The Tern Inn.

You can also look on Tripadvisor or Airbnb and search on West Harwich or Harwich to see more options, especially if you will have a car. Another option is to form groups and share a house; houses typically rent from Saturday to Saturday, also searchable on Tripadvisor as well as other websites, e.g., Vacation Cape Cod and Cape Cod Ocean View Realty   For those of you interested in finding others to share a house with, you can let us know and we will make a list of everyone’s contact information to circulate.

The closest airport to West Harwich is Hyannis, though Boston would obviously offer more flights/options.  Generally speaking, flights in/out of Boston are cheaper than Hyannis, and car rentals are cheaper in Hyannis than they are in Boston. Provincetown is another option. Please be aware that driving on- and off-Cape on Saturdays is a arduous undertaking. Try to arrange your travel to arrive at the bridges as early as possible, if you are not flying onto the Cape.

If you have any questions, and/or are interested in attending a future Summer Retreat, please contact Gail Boldt.