Scotland Writing Immersion May 21-25, 2023

Join us for an exhilarating writing immersion in one of the world’s most writerly cities. This writing retreat is part immersion (you will generate amazing pages!) and part adventure, featuring mentored craft support and vision-making as well as “field trips” all through the writing landscape of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland Writing Immersion May 21-25, 2023

Join us for an exhilarating writing immersion in one of the world’s most writerly cities. This writing retreat is part immersion (you will generate amazing pages!) and part adventure, featuring mentored craft support and vision-making as well as “field trips” all through the writing landscape of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland Writing Immersion May 21-25, 2023

Join us for an exhilarating writing immersion in one of the world’s most writerly cities. This writing retreat is part immersion (you will generate amazing pages!) and part adventure, featuring mentored craft support and vision-making as well as “field trips” all through the writing landscape of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland Writing Immersion May 21-25, 2023

Join us for an exhilarating writing immersion in one of the world’s most writerly cities. This writing retreat is part immersion (you will generate amazing pages!) and part adventure, featuring mentored craft support and vision-making as well as “field trips” all through the writing landscape of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland Writing Immersion in Edinburgh – May 21-25, 2023

A generative and immersive writing retreat on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland

Facilitated by Carolyn Dawn Flynn, the Story Catalyst, and writer and poet Jona Kottler

In this city, writers write and readers love them. Let a city that loves writers embrace you as you immerse yourself in Edinburgh, Scotland, for five days and four nights of inspiring craft talks, mentored support and a vibrant writer community. 

This immersion is for writers at any stage of their journey. You may write fiction or creative nonfiction. Whether you’re writing essays or a book-length memoir, whether you’re writing short stories or a novel, whether you’re writing a screenplay or poetry, this immersive getaway is designed to help you deepen and refine your work-in-progress, emerging with clarity and vision.

We’ll tap into the writer-vibe of a city that has the biggest monument to a writer (Sir Walter Scott) and an imagination-stirring discoveries in the closes, circles and wynds along the Royal Mile. Whether it’s a loft in a drafty apartment, a rickety table at a cafe or the tea room at the Balmoral, where the royals go and where J.K. Rowling finished Harry Potter, you’ll find your place, and we’ll inspire and support you as you write.

We will provide a mentored critique, individual consultations and group talks on story architecture, narrative flow and craft points such as dialogue and scene-building.

Every day will launch with a series of prompts for writing with intent, building pivotal and memorable scenes that are the vital underpinning of story. 

In the afternoons, we’ll lead you on writing excursions to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish Poetry Library, as well as all the undiscovered places waiting to be written about!

The retreat offers time to generate new, focused pieces and a strategic plan for your work-in-progress.

THINKING ABOUT IT? WANT TO MEET US AND ASK QUESTIONS?

Join us for an upcoming zoom call where you can tell us about your project and get all the answers to your questions. 

WHO WE ARE

Acclaimed writer and TEDx speaker Carolyn Dawn Flynn and award-winning American writer and educator Jona Kottler are your facilitators.

 

ABOUT CAROLYN

carolynflynn.com    |     Memoirist, novelist and essayist Carolyn Dawn Flynn was longlisted for the Mslexia International Memoir Prize for Boundless, a becoming-of-age memoir, and shortlisted for the Elixir Press First Novel Prize for Searching for Persephone.

Her essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Under the Gum Tree, The Colorado Sun, The Tampa Review, The Whitefish Review (Montana Prize for Fiction), Albuquerque Journal, Sage Magazine, Albuquerque the Magazine and Wilde Frauen.

Known as The Story Catalyst, Carolyn Flynn is the winner of the 2014 Rick Bass/Montana Prize for Fiction for “Pretend”, author of “Resurrection,” published in Fourth Genre. An excerpt from Searching for Persephone (“First Cut”) appears on The Write Launch, and excerpt from her novel-in-progress I Don’t Remember It That Way appears on The Petigru Review. I Don’t Remember It That Way was a 2021 finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books.

See her TED talk, “Tell a Better Story, Live a Better Life” here.

 

ABOUT JONA

jonathakottler.com | Jonatha Kottler is an American writer and educator from Albuquerque, NM, recently based in Scotland.

Her work has appeared in Nasty Women and in publications including The Guardian and NY Magazine.

She holds an MFA in Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and graduated from the Book Project at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She is completing her first novel.

She teaches in the honors program at the University of New Mexico and serves on the board of directors of the New Mexico Humanities Council.

 

WHERE WE’LL STAY

Sign up by Nov. 15 to get the super early bird rate

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RADISSON BLU

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre is located in the heart of the historic Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s old town, just a short walk to major city center attractions. Walk to the iconic Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament, and Edinburgh’s famous shopping thoroughfare, Princes street. The hotel is also within easy reach of Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Park. Arthur’s Seat, the park’s highest point, has stunning views of the Scottish capital.

Relax and indulge in Scotland’s capital

Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre has a range of stylish rooms, family rooms, and suites with comfortable touches such as a pillow menu, 24-hour room service, and thoughtful bathroom amenities. The hotel has the rejuvenating Melrose Spa and Health Club on-site complete with indoor heated swimming pool (child-friendly), sauna, steam room, and gym equipment. Health Club access is included during your hotel stay. The Spa offers a range of treatments from relaxing massages to manicures and pedicures.

For delicious food visit the on-site Itchycoo Bar and Kitchen. Located on the ground floor of the hotel, it serves dishes prepared with fresh Scottish produce and perfect pre-dinner cocktails.

Perfect for meetings and social events

The Radisson Blu is located in the heart of Edinburgh, just 13 kilometers from Edinburgh Airport (EDI). You will love being so close to everything the city has to offer. 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

WRITING MENTORING AND SUPPORT

  • Morning workshops on writing craft, customized to your writing style and vision
  • Story mapping and scene-building exercises
  • Mentor-led group consultations on story-building
  • Writing prompts designed for your project
  • Time to write, write, write!

GUIDED WRITING EXCURSIONS

  • Mary, Queen of Scots, excursion to The Palace of Holyroodhouse, followed by writing in an Edinburgh tea shop
  • Art-inspired writing (ekphrastic writing) at the National Portrait Gallery
  • Presentation by two Scottish writers and poets at the Scottish Poetry Library
  • Evening of readings by Scottish writers and poets at an Edinburgh bookshop

LODGING, FOOD AND ACCOMMODATIONS

  • 4 nights/5 days lodging at Radisson Blu on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Hearty Scottish breakfast every morning
  • Welcome evening with heavy hors d’oeuvres at no-host bar
  • Two three-course dinners
  • One boxed lunch

TRANSPORTATION & TICKETS

  • Four-day city transit pass
  • Cab fare to Holyroodhouse
  • Admission to Holyroodhouse
  • Admission to Edinburgh Castle

* Airfare to Edinburgh NOT included!

SUPER EARLY BIRD RATE

BY NOV. 15

 

$2,595

PRETTY EARLY BIRD RATE

BY JAN. 15

 

$2,695

KINDA EARLY BIRD RATE

BY FEB. 15

 

$2,895

STANDARD RATE

AFTER FEB. 15

 

$3,195

Hurry! This retreat will fill up fast!

NONREFUNDABLE DEPOSIT OF $995 secures your spot. [If you register by Nov. 15, a deposit of $500 reserves your spot.] REMAINING BALANCE to be paid by APRIL 21, 2023.  Pay your deposit on EventBrite here to secure your spot.
All rates are based on single occupancy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s included in the tuition?

WRITING MENTORING AND SUPPORT

  • Morning workshops on writing craft, customized to your writing style and vision
  • Story mapping and scene-building exercises
  • Mentor-led group consultations on story-building
  • Writing prompts designed for your project
  • Time to write, write, write!

GUIDED WRITING EXCURSIONS

  • Mary, Queen of Scots, excursion to The Palace of Holyroodhouse, followed by writing in an Edinburgh tea shop
  • Art-inspired writing (ekphrastic writing) at the National Portrait Gallery
  • Presentation by two Scottish writers and poets at the Scottish Poetry Library
  • Evening of readings by Scottish writers and poets at an Edinburgh bookshop

LODGING, FOOD AND ACCOMMODATIONS

  • 4 nights/5 days lodging at Radisson Blu on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Hearty Scottish breakfast every morning
  • Welcome evening with heavy hors d’oeuvres at no-host bar
  • Two three-course dinners
  • One boxed lunch

TRANSPORTATION & TICKETS

  • Four-day city transit pass
  • Cab fare to Holyroodhouse
  • Admission to Holyroodhouse
  • Admission to Edinburgh Castle

* Airfare to Edinburgh NOT included!

What’s not included?

Airfare to Edinburgh

Three lunches

One dinner

What are the accommodations like?

Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh City Centre has a range of stylish rooms, family rooms, and suites with comfortable touches such as a pillow menu, 24-hour room service, and thoughtful bathroom amenities. The hotel has the rejuvenating Melrose Spa and Health Club on-site complete with indoor heated swimming pool (child-friendly), sauna, steam room, and gym equipment. Health Club access is included during your hotel stay. The Spa offers a range of treatments from relaxing massages to manicures and pedicures.

For delicious food visit the on-site Itchycoo Bar and Kitchen. Located on the ground floor of the hotel, it serves dishes prepared with fresh Scottish produce and perfect pre-dinner cocktails.

What kind of food will be served?

Breakfast will be a hearty Scottish breakfast

Canapes include options such as:

Olive bruschetta on herb roasted crostini 

Cajun salmon skewers 

Smoked salmon with shallot blini 

Seared queen scallop with fennel and tomato salsa 

Truffled devilled eggs 

Chicken and apple with Belgian endive 

Crab & chili salad 

Mini aubergine & goat cheese frittata 

Parma ham wrapped asparagus with balsamic drizzle 

Artichoke tempura with red pepper mayo 

Baked potato with smoked haddock mousse 

Grilled beef with fresh horseradish and scallion 

Blue cheese and walnut crostini 

Spicy peanut chicken satay 

Fried crab and sweetcorn risotto 

Mini spring rolls 

Three-course dinners include options such as:

MENU 1

Pressed Salmon Terrine, Spicy Beetroot Dressing 

Oven Roast Supreme of Chicken 

Served with French Beans, Buttered Shallot 

Onion, Creamed Potato & Balsamic Jus 

 

Strawberry Mousse 

Chocolate Dipped Amoretti Biscuits 

 

Freshly Brewed Tea or Coffee 

MENU 2

Roasted Tomato & Fennel Soup 

 

Roasted Fillet of Salmon 

Scallion Crushed New Potatoes & 

Champagne Cream 

 

Fresh Fruit Salad 

Vanilla Infused Sweet Cream 

 

Freshly Brewed Coffee or Tea 

Drinks are at your expense and your choice, but the options are tantalizing:

Whisky flights featuring Scottish whisky

Signature cocktails such as gin fizzes or raspberry mules

Classics such as a Scottish bramble or Scots Old-Fashioned

Ciders and ginger beers

A selection of white, rose and red wine

Beers featuring Edinburgh brew pub

When should I arrive?

We begin at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 21, with canapes and a no-host bar, featuring readings by our co-facilitators.
We strongly recommend arriving in Edinburgh earlier, by even a day or two, because of challenging air travel in the age of a pandemic, and because Edinburgh is worth it!
We’ll notify you in the zoom community builder calls if we are successful in securing a special group rate that can extend before or after your stay. 

May I check in late?

Yes, just let us know — and let the Radisson Blu know.

May I check in grumpy?

No. Only good cheer and great attitudes are welcomed here! We stand ready to give you a warm Scottish welcome and lift you up so you can do your best writing here.

When I arrange the flight, what’s my best city destination?

Most definitely choose Edinburgh International. Transportation from there to the city centre is a breeze.

You may opt to fly into Dublin, London or Belfast if you’re planning to travel before the retreat. The train from London is about five hours.

Is it necessary to rent a car?

No. Edinburgh has one of the best public transportation systems you could imagine. You can even get to Glasgow before or after by train.

A four-day transit pass is included in the cost of the retreat. 

If it’s your desire to see the Scottish landscape or further adventures after the writing immersion, you may want to rent a car. But that’s your option.

What should I pack?

Much like Ireland (where we also run writing retreats), Scotland brings new kind of weather. It’s often said that in Scotland, you can experience all four seasons in one day. For that reason, we advise dressing in light layers. And definitely bring rain gear. 

Bring a sweater or jacket for evenings. 

Bring a swimsuit if you want to take advantage of the amenities at Radisson Blue.

Pack sunscreen, and a water bottle that you fill up and drink from constantly. It’s vital to stay hydrated.

Yes, sometimes there is sun in Scotland.

The soft rains can be deceptive when it comes to the sun. Definitely bring a sun hat and sunglasses. And expect the sun to be up late as we near the Summer Solstice. That’s part of the allure of the northern latitudes in summer.

That said, we’ve seen it all in this region when it comes to weather.

Do be prepared to go outdoors in all weather. If you have an aversion to rain and wind, consider that a retreat in Scotland, even in the summer, might not be the right fit for you.

What kind of physical condition do I need to be in?

We will use cabs and public transport to get around, but do know that Edinburgh is a walkable city — and will require some walking. It also is a steep city, with a castle high on a hill. You will be going up and down if you walkabout.

If you are over 50 or have a medical issue, it’s advisable to get travel insurance.

What about the spa treatments?

Spa treatments are available at the hotel, at your own expense, but you’ll be busy writing during the immersion, so it’s best to schedule this at the beginning or end of the trip.

We advise you to book your treatment ahead of arrival.

Please do not schedule a treatment during official retreat programming time. We are building a supportive and invigorating community of writers, and with that comes both the responsibilities and privileges of being a member. 

And remember to pack your swimsuit if you’re planning to enjoy the hot tub.

Do tell. What are the other amenities on the site?

The hotel has the rejuvenating Melrose Spa and Health Club on-site complete with indoor heated swimming pool (child-friendly), sauna, steam room, and gym equipment. Health Club access is included during your hotel stay. The Spa offers a range of treatments from relaxing massages to manicures and pedicures.

What are your COVID practices and policies?

We expect you to understand that we want to provide everyone at the retreat with a safe experience, as do Radisson Blu and the country of Scotland.

We also expect you to understand that everything about this pandemic is rapidly evolving and could change in directions we cannot predict.

What we can say now is that we will ask all retreat participants to present proof of vaccination and/or a COVID-free test. (It’s likely that Scotland and the airlines will expect you to this anyhow in order to fly and enter the country.)

Keep apprised of the requirements by going to the U.S. Department of State website.

We also expect you to observe the hotel’s social distancing and masking guidelines while in public areas.

 

What is your smoking policy?

No smoking allowed

What is your refund policy?

While we recognize that life has its disruptions, we have a strict refund policy. We must do this because we commit to a contract for accommodations, food and other costs once bookings are taken for a retreat. In addition, we incur costs when we are required to re-advertize the retreat when bookings are cancelled.

So here’s the policy, and make sure you read carefully! 

All deposits are non-refundable and cannot be held over to future retreats.

If you cancel within three months of the retreat, the remainder of your payment (minus the deposit) will be refunded ONLY if a replacement is found to take your place. Naturally, you probably know that it becomes increasingly difficult and less likely as a retreat approaches to find substitutes who can both pay and travel at short notice.

No refunds are possible if you cancel within two weeks of the retreat.

If you register as an early bird, you do have more options. Though we cannot refund your deposit, you may receive a one-hour consultation with one of the retreat mentors.

If we have to cancel, all payments will be returned in full.

Is there a pub nearby?

This is Scotland! Yes, of course there are great pubs! 

Is there a teashop nearby?

This is Scotland! Yes, of course there are great teashops! 

Can I get haggis?

We’re assured it’s widely available, as are Scotch eggs.

WHAT WRITERS SAY
ABOUT OUR RETREATS

The instructors worked so well together and brought a great balance. You two were amazing!

This retreat created a powerful space for me to not only write but to also explore my writing life and perspective.

I’ve never had the nerve to read my fiction out loud in front of people. I am so grateful for the gift of being able to face that fear in a supportive environment. I felt real support.

I feel inspired, activated and valued as a writer. {Highlights of the retreat were} the connection among us, the location, the country and the resort.

The scenery enhanced everything about the writing experience.

The writing prompts made all the difference!

It was above and beyond.

I was looking to tighten my book, and I left with great ideas.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE BY APPLICATION

Are you a resident of Scotland? One generous partial scholarship is available.

Are you a resident of Ireland? One partial scholarship available.

Are you an alumnus or student of the Spalding MFA in Writing or Institute of American Indian Arts MFA in Writing program? We offer one partial scholarship to Spalding friends (because Carolyn is an alum and it was one of the top decisions she’s ever made) and IAIA friends (because Jona is an alum and considers it one of the top decisions she’s ever made).

Are you a journalist? We offer one partial scholarship to a journalist, because Carolyn has been a working journalist since she was 17 and was a longtime journalism academic at the University of New Mexico. “I know your work ethic. I know your commitment to the truth,” she says. “If you have a culturally resonant book idea, then I want to help you get it out into the world.”

TO APPLY: Please send a one-paragraph synopsis of your project and the first 10 pages. Tell us how you qualify for a partial scholarship and how this will help you get momentum for your project.

Send via the email form below.

If you are awarded a partial scholarship, we’ll send you a coupon code that you can use for checkout on EventBrite.

Apply for one of our partial scholarships here

15 + 2 =

“O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!”

Sir Walter Scott

“Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.”

Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes

“She wasn’t a person to whom things happen. She did all the happenings.”

Muriel Spark

Aiding and Abetting

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

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