The Retreat

River Pretty Writers Retreat is a writing intensive program that offers generative workshops in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and graphic narrative for registered participants. You will be led by dedicated writers who are committed to sharing their love of the craft. We believe that when a community of writers come together to create new work, we are able to break through old habits and generate a product that is much stronger and truer than before.

Panel discussions, informal talks, as well as all readings (by participants, faculty, and featured writers) are free and open to the general public.

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Featured visting writers for RP15 October 5th-7th, 2018: 

SOPHFRONIA SCOTT grew up in Lorain, Ohio, a hometown she shares with author Toni Morrison. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She began her career as an award-winning magazine journalist for Time, where she co-authored the groundbreaking cover story “Twentysomething,” the first study identifying the demographic group known as Generation X, and People. When her first novel, All I Need to Get By, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2004 Sophfronia was nominated for best new author at the African American Literary Awards and hailed by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as “potentially one of the best writers of her generation.”

Her latest novel is Unforgivable Love (William Morrow). She’s also the author of an essay collection, Love’s Long Line, from Ohio State University Press’s Mad Creek Books and a memoir, This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World, co-written with her son Tain, from Paraclete Press. Her essays, short stories, and articles have appeared in Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Saranac Review, Numéro Cinq, Ruminate, Barnstorm Literary Journal, Sleet Magazine, NewYorkTimes.com, More, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Her essay “Why I Didn’t Go to the Firehouse” is listed among the Notables in Best American Essays 2017.

Sophfronia teaches at Regis University's Mile High MFA and Bay Path University's MFA in Creative Nonfiction. She’s also delivered craft talks and held workshops at the Yale Writers’ Workshop, Meacham Writers’ Workshop, and the Hobart Festival of Women Writers. She lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

ROBERT VIVIAN was born in Denver, Colorado in 1967 and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He teaches at Alma College and in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College Of Fine Arts. Dozens of his plays have been produced in New York City and elsewhere, and his poems, essays, and stories have appeared in many literary journals including Georgia Review, Harper’s, Ecotone, Creative Nonfiction, and others. He has published four novels—The Tall Grass Trilogy (The Mover Of Bones, Lamb Bright Saviors, and Another Burning Kingdom), Water And Abandon, and two books of meditative essays, Cold Snap As Yearning and The Least Cricket Of Evening. His first book of dervish essays (or prose poems) Mystery My Country will be published in 2016 by Anchor & Plume. He has visited and taught in Turkey several times and has been heavily influenced by the works of Rumi. In the summer he tries to fly fish in northern Michigan every day and when he can’t, he dreams about it anyway.

RICHARD JACKSON is the author of fifteen books of poems including the forthcoming Broken Horizons (Press 53, March 2018), Traversings with VCFA faculty Bob Vivian (Anchor and Plume, 2016), Retrievals (C&R Press, 2014), Out of Place (Ashland, 2014), Half Lives: Petrarchan Poems (Autumn House, 2004), Unauthorized Autobiography: New and Selected Poems (Ashland, 2003), and Heartwall (UMass, Juniper Prize 2000), as well as four chapbook adaptations from Pavese and other Italian poets.

He is the author of Dismantling Time in Contemporary American Poetry (Agee Prize), and Acts of Mind: Interviews with Contemporary American Poets (Choice Award). He was awarded the Order of Freedom Medal for literary and humanitarian work in the Balkans by the President of Slovenia for his work with the Slovene-based Peace and Sarajevo Committees of PEN International, and his editing of the journal mala revija as well as his Slovene Poetry Chapbook series. He has received Guggenheim, NEA, NEH, and two Witter-Bynner fellowships, a Prairie Schooner Reader's Choice Award, the Crazyhorse prize, and he is the winner of five Pushcart Prizes and has appeared in Best American Poems ‘97 as well as many other anthologies.

Recently he edited The Heart’s Many Doors featuring 41 American poets responding to Slovene artist Metka Krašovec's sketches based on Emily Dickinson lines (Wings Press, 2017). Originator of VCFA’s Slovenia Program, he was a Fulbright Exchange poet to former Yugoslavia and returns to Europe each year with various groups of students. He has been teaching at the River Pretty Writers’ Conference, The Prague Summer Workshops, and regularly at UT-Chattanooga (since 1976) where he directs the Meacham Writers' Conference. He has taught at VCFA since 1987. He has won teaching awards at UT-Chattanooga where over 20 of his former undergrads have gone on to publish over 50 books, and at VCFA. In 2009 he won the AWP George Garret Award for teaching, writing and arts promotion.