Murphy Writing of Stockton University Presents
A Getaway for Poets and Writers
July 11-18, 2017
2015 program information below.
2017 registration will open
January 25, 2017. Sign
up for our email list
for a reminder.
Are you a writer who loves to travel? Join us
this summer in beautiful northern Spain to
immerse yourself in a supportive week-long
writing experience that will energize and
inspire you. Enjoy encouraging workshops,
plentiful writing time, panoramic cliff top
views and excursions to Barcelona and the town
of Vic, where the outdoor market dates back to
the 9th century.
away to write and be inspired:
||Advance your craft and energize your writing in
||Explore Spain and its spectacular landscape and
||Enjoy an encouraging community and time to recharge
You will take up residence at l’Avenc, a
beautiful rural hotel with stunning cliff top
views and a rich history dating back to the 13th
century. This recently renovated retreat center,
which has a 5-star TripAdvisor rating and has
won awards for its sustainability practices,
offers both single and double rooms. This
summer, experience living in a place where you
can reconnect with yourself and your writing, a
place where time slows. Bask in the tranquility
and silence of rural Spain. Your writing will
This writing vacation, brought to you by the
organizers of the Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway
and led by award-winning author Peter Murphy,
will offer challenging and supportive workshops,
readings by local writers and time to soak in
the atmosphere. Peter has led hundreds of
workshops and retreats for writers and teachers.
His unique prompts and insightful feedback have
helped thousands find voice and direction.
Whether you plan to begin new material or
continue an ongoing project, you will return
home from this unique adventure energized, with
a substantial body of fresh writing and ideas on
how to develop it.
but well-structured workshop was the key to a
superb experience. Peter makes you feel
comfortable to write freely, to reflect and to
acquaint yourself with your surroundings."
~ Maria Luisa, Fiction &
Memoir, Rose Valley, PA, 2014 & 2015
International writing retreat participant
¡Bienvenido a España! Welcome to Spain! For centuries, Spain has
inspired writers and artists to create their greatest masterpieces. Some of
the best-known include: painter Salvador Dali; architect Antoni Gaudi; and
writers Miguel Cervantes, Ernest Hemingway, Garcia Lorca and George Orwell.
Barcelona is home to the Dali museum and La Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s famous
cathedral that was started in 1882 and is finally scheduled for completion
in 2026, a century after his death. Scores of other artists and writers have
called Spain their home and left their mark on its rich heritage.
With miles of beaches and more than 300 sunny days per year, Spain is a
Mediterranean paradise. It is the second most mountainous country in Europe with
panoramic views overlooking exquisite valleys. The culture is as diverse as the
geography, and pride in their homeland is evident in the character and welcoming
atmosphere of every Spaniard. While in Spain, you can enjoy visiting Roman
temples, Moorish palaces, medieval castles and some of the best restaurants in
the world. From the modern to the ancient, the mountains to the sea, Spain
offers room for adventure, contemplation and awe.
Did you know?
||The quill pen is thought to have originated in
Spain 1,400 years ago
||The Spanish Empire was once the world's most
||Spanish food is known for being flavorful but is
rarely spicy hot
||Though Spain is known for its red wine, most of its
vineyards have white grapes
inspiration from the exotic location in Spain, the workshop will focus on
identity, independence and transformation. Each day you will join Peter and your
fellow writers to discuss craft issues around a packet of stories, poems and
essays chosen to stimulate your imagination. This anthology will form the
backbone of the conversation and will include work by classic and contemporary
Spanish, Catalan and American authors. Peter will guide you through freewriting
exercises relevant to the day's discussion and then give you one of his unique
writing prompts and send you off to work.
Peter's assignments are designed to challenge you to stretch your imagination
and produce new work that will surprise and please you. They are crafted to be
effective whether you are starting a new poem or prose piece, or working on a
long-term project such as a novel, memoir or other nonfiction manuscript. In
fact, Jane Street Press has published Challenges for the Delusional, which
features 20 of Peter's prompts with an anthology of the published poems they've
inspired, including work by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn, Dorianne Laux,
Kathleen Graber and James Richardson.
different genres have different demands, Peter has found that fiction writers,
nonfiction writers and poets can learn much about their own craft by working
together in a mixed-genre workshop. For example, playing with dialogue, setting
and point of view can make a poem more surprising and meaningful. Paying
attention to compression, rhythm and sound can make a work of prose stronger and
"Peter Murphy is an inspirational force of nature! He is wonderful at
fostering a warm, inviting environment in which writing comes easily. The
writing community is blessed to have his leadership and presence."
~ 2013 Shore Thing Writing Getaway Participant
Three times during the week, you will participate in supportive feedback
sessions. You will have the opportunity to share your new writing, to
reflect on what you wrote, get responses on what worked well and receive
suggestions for strengthening the next draft. You will have one feedback
session with each of our faculty–Peter, Roberta and Christine. (Bios below.)
Mornings will be devoted to the workshop, which includes guided discussions,
freewriting and feedback sessions. Afternoons and evenings are free for you to
use as you wish:
||Write to your heart’s content
||Soak in the breathtaking view and revitalizing
||Relax by l’Avenc’s beautiful indoor pool
||Watch exotic birds in flight from your private
||Explore the pristine countryside on one of the
rental bicycles or hike along the cliffs to a nearby lookout where
you can see from the Mediterranean to Montserrat
Sample daily schedule
||Workshop and feedback sessions (Break for refreshments at 11:00 a.m.)
||Free time for writing and other activities
View the full
"I think you, Peter, are one of the best
writing teachers around, certainly the best I've
ever had, the proliferation of MFA programs
notwithstanding. You create a space where
writers can REALLY GROW, and my manuscript and I
are very happy to have been in it for a week."
~ Kate, Memoir, New York, NY, 2010 International
writing retreat participant
Peter E. Murphy has led hundreds of workshops for writers and
teachers. He was born in Wales and grew up in New York City where he operated
heavy equipment, managed a nightclub and drove a cab. He is the author of seven
books and chapbooks including Stubborn Child, a finalist for the 2006
Paterson Poetry Prize. His recent essays and poems appear in The Common,
Diode, Guernica, The Hawaii Pacific Review, The
Lindenwood Review, Mead, The New Welsh Reader, Passager,
Rattle and Rhino. He has received fellowships and awards for
writing and teaching from The Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Folger
Shakespeare Library, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The New Jersey
State Council on the Arts, Yaddo and the White House Commission on Presidential
Scholars. Peter is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University which
includes the Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway and other programs for poets, writers
and teachers. Read a
brief interview with Peter.
Additional Faculty - Feedback Session and Tutorial Leaders
Clipper has published two novels-in-stories under the name Robbie Clipper
Sethi, The Bride Wore Red (Picador, 1997) and Fifty-Fifty (Silicon Press, 2003),
as well as short stories in The Atlantic Monthly, Mademoiselle, the
Inquirer and a number of literary magazines and anthologies. Her fiction has won
a National Endowment for the Arts award and two fellowships from the New Jersey
State Council on the Arts. Robbie teaches fiction, poetry, expository writing
and literature at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ and on a Fulbright-Nehru
Fellowship spent a "monsoon semester" (August-December 2009) teaching creative
writing at the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad,
India. To read some of her work, visit
E. Salvatore received her MFA from The University of New Orleans. She
currently teaches literature and creative writing at The Richard Stockton
College of New Jersey, Egg Harbor Township High School and in the MFA Program at
Rosemont College. One of her poems was chosen by the editors of The Southeast
Review as a finalist in this year’s Gearhart Poetry Contest. Her poetry has
recently appeared or will appear in Mead Magazine, The Literary Review,
Cortland Review, Prime Number Magazine and in The Edison Literary Review, as
well as others. She is the recipient of a 2005 Fellowship from the New Jersey
State Council of the Arts. Listen to
Christine reading some of her poetry.
"Thank you. You did a great job in putting
together a week well balanced in writing, workshopping and touring, but what
made it really stand out was our involvement with the locals as we became
part of the culture and experienced it from the inside."
~ Patricia, Fiction and Nonfiction, Allendale, NJ, 2013
International writing retreat participant
You will have the option to select a private single room or share
with another person.
||Most rooms have private bathrooms and stunning
||Each room has a writing desk and an outdoor patio
||There is a common sitting room where you can enjoy
wi-fi internet access
If you would like to bring a spouse, significant other,
friend or family member, these non-participating guests are
welcome to share your room and attend all activities other than
Rooms will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to
get your first choice!
L’Avenc’s nutritious meals focus on fair trade, local and organic
ingredients. The mouthwatering menu will give you a real flavor for the
cuisine of the region. Meals will be served buffet style with a variety of
choices including vegetarian options, and one night the group will dine
off-site at a nearby restaurant. If you have dietary restrictions you will
be able to indicate them on the registration form.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of cultural activities
and excursions, which will help you develop a sense of the place where you will
be spending the week. The La Collsacabra region, which is off the well-worn
tourist path, is part of Catalonia. It shares many traits with Spain yet
maintains a distinct identity of its own. While none of our excursions will be
"extreme," they will involve walking and moderate physical activity.
Introduction to Catalan Culture and Language
L’Avenc, the retreat center, is run by the Parris family. Belinda Parris will
welcome us with an overview of the Catalan culture. She will acquaint you with
some basic pronunciation and teach you a handful of Catalan words.
Historic "Masia" House Tour
While the oldest part of l’Avenc dates back to the 13th century, the primary
architectural influence is from the 16th century. The Parris family discovered
the abandoned ruins of l’Avenc while hiking in 1997. Looking back they describe
it as "brave or foolish enough to fall in love with it," to buy, restore and
expand it into a rural eco-friendly hotel. In 2013, they added a modern wing
with an indoor pool, more hotel rooms, common areas and workshop rooms. The
Parris family will open up the private section of l’Avenc, their home, and share
its history and their story on how they saved this beautiful historical site.
Special Guest Session
We are pleased to announce that writer Gemma Gorga will be our special guest,
joining us for lunch and a reading during the retreat. Gemma has published five
collections of poetry, most recently Diafragma (2012, with photographer
Joan Ramell). She has also published a book of nonfiction, Within the Natural
Kitchen: Health, Tradition and Pleasure at the Table
(2004, with Antoni Lozano). Following a residency with the Sanskriti Foundation
in New Delhi, she translated the contemporary anglophone Indian poet Dilip
Chitre (Vint esmorzars cap a la mort, Twenty Breakfasts Towards Death,
2013). Her poems, translated into English, have been included in Pere Ballart’s
anthology Six Catalan Poets (2013). Gemma has a PhD in Philology from the
University of Barcelona, where she teaches Ancient Literature.
Excursion to Vic and Monastery of Sant Pere de Casserres
Halfway between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, the city of Vic is
considered the heart of the Catalan region. Tradition and modernity coexist in
this medieval city. You will enjoy a walking tour of the city center and have
free time to visit the open air market, which dates back to the 9th century. You
will eat lunch at a local restaurant before heading to an 11th century
Benedictine monastery, which offers beautiful views of the nearby river valley.
Barcelona Bus Tour
You will depart l’Avenc after breakfast and take in the sites of Barcelona.
After reaching the city, you will have the opportunity to stretch your legs and
take photos. Then you will enjoy a bus tour of the city that points out some of
the best-known sites including La Sagrada Família and Las Ramblas. At the end of
the bus tour, you can take advantage of either drop off option–La Placa
Catalunya for those staying the night (or longer) in Barcelona, or El Prat
"The program was one of the most enjoyable vacations I ever had. The
friendships, the creativity, the entire experience of the workshop, guest
speakers and excursions amounted to a trip I will never forget. It helped me as
a writer, as a potential novelist, and I'll be back."
~ Walt, Novelist, Linwood, NJ, 2013 & 2009 International writing retreat participant
July is one of the warmest months with average temperatures in
the low 80s during the day and 60s at night. You will enjoy
long, sunny, summer days and can expect 15 hours of daylight, as
the sun won’t set until 9:30 pm.
If you are looking for more feedback on your writing, you will have
the option to add a one-on-one tutorial which will offer a
constructive critique on a work in progress. These
one-on-one-sessions will last 30 minutes and you may request
general feedback or seek assistance on a specific question or
problem you are having. Led by: Roberta Clipper for prose and
Christine E. Salvatore for poetry.
||You and your tutor will select a mutually convenient time during
||No need to send your writing ahead of time; the tutors are
experienced at providing constructive and supportive feedback in
the time allocated.
||You may choose to bring something you wrote before the retreat
or something you write during the week.
||Fee: $100 for a 30 minute one-on-one session
I write both poetry and fiction. Do I need to have a project in mind to
No, a number of our participants write both poetry and prose. It's not
uncommon for someone to decide what form their writing will take after Peter
gives the prompt.
How big will the workshop be?
Our international writing retreats generally have 15-20 participants. Plus several travelers typically bring
I've been to dozens of workshops. What will I get out of this one?
Peter challenges experienced writers to push beyond their usual limits. If
you have been writing for decades, he will compel you to go deeper, take
more risks and experiment with form and content. We know that experienced
writers benefit from our programs based on the fact that hundreds of
"re-PETERs" have attended three or more of our writing getaways.
Try one of
Peter's prompts from Challenges for the Delusional.
I'm new to writing workshops. Will I fit in?
Absolutely! Peter's unique prompts will allow this supportive program to
benefit both beginning and experienced writers. We pride ourselves on
building an encouraging community of writers where all feel welcome.
"Attending was a big deal for me since I'd never been to a writing
retreat before. It turned out to be fabulous—the atmosphere was perfect for
writing and Peter was an excellent teacher. His lessons were unique and
helped uncork my writing, getting me to think and use my writing time
wisely. I highly enjoyed the trip and would recommend a Murphy Writing
retreat to absolutely anybody, whether a novice or pro."
~ Michelle, Poetry, Huntsville, TX, 2012 International writing
The 2015 program is filled. 2017 registration will open
January 25, 2017. Sign up for our
for a reminder.
2015 Program Fee — As low as $2,115 — Includes the following:
||Writing workshop and feedback sessions
||Accommodations for 7 nights/8 days
||20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
||Morning and afternoon refreshments on non-excursion
||Round trip transportation from El Prat Airport in
||3 cultural activities and 2 excursions
(Transportation, admissions, tours and gratuities. A brown bag lunch
will be provided on one of the excursion days. The other will offer
a lunch stop which is not included in this fee.)
||Use of wi-fi, pool, sitting rooms, library, gardens
and hiking trails
||Private trip website providing travel
recommendations and a packing list
Room Package Options
||Program Fee with Double Room Package - $2,190 - A
double room can be a great way to save money. Let us know if you'd
like us to match you with a roommate.
||Program Fee with Single Room Package - $2,490
||Program Fee with Shared Room Package (With
non-participating guest) - $3,590 - If you are bringing a guest, they
may join us for meals and all non-workshop activities.
Fees do not include airfare, college credit, one-on-one tutorials,
travel insurance, additional accommodations, meals, gratuities or personal expenses.
Save as much as $150!
● "Early Bard" Discount
($75) if you pay in full by Apr. 1
● "re-PETER" Discount ($75) if you've attended any of our
We are offering a $1,000 scholarship to a
first-time participant in one of Murphy Writing’s international programs. A
panel of judges will review the submissions and make their selections based
on a combination of merit and need. Application Deadline: March 9, 2015,
and the recipient will be announced on this page by March 29, 2015.
4/3/15 Update: Congratulations to our scholarship recipient!
It was a tough choice, but after considering more than 25 applications, the
panel has selected Heather Lang of Seattle, WA. We look forward to
writing with her in Spain.
The Fine Print
● To receive the "Early Bard" Discount ($75), you must pay in full by Apr. 1
● To receive the "re-PETER" Discount ($75), you must have attended at least
one of our other programs
● A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your place
● Balance due in full by May 1. If you register after May 1, your full payment is due when you register.
● Change Fee ($25) will be charged to make changes to your registration after May 1
● Discounts are not available for guest fees
● By Mar. 15 — 100% refund minus non-refundable $500 deposit
● By May 1 — 50% credit toward one of our upcoming programs
● After May 1 — Sorry, no refund will be issued
Workshop size is strictly limited.
Our programs fill quickly.
Register today. You won't regret it.
"My time in Wales was definitely worth every penny."
~ Louisa, Memoir and Personal Essay, Washington, DC, 2014 International writing
For maximum flexibility, airfare is not included. You will be responsible
for making your own round-trip travel arrangements which will allow you to
choose your airports and make it easy to extend your trip. We will assist
you in identifying budget-conscious flights. For best fares, you should
purchase your ticket in the spring, no later than May 1.
It is very important that you follow these suggested times. The retreat
location is approximately 2 hours from the airport and very rural. If you do
not follow these times, you will need to make your way there on your own,
which you will find very difficult to do without renting a car.
Tuesday, July 14. The program is designed so you can arrive in Spain the
day the retreat begins. We recommend you fly to El Prat Airport
in Barcelona. If you are flying from the US, depart on the evening of July
13 and you will land early the next morning. We suggest you arrive at the
airport by 10:00 am so you have time to clear customs, pick up your luggage
and meet the group at 11:45 am. If you wish to arrive in the country prior
to July 14, plan to make your way to the airport in time to meet the group.
We will send details on where to meet at the airport and emergency contact
numbers approximately two weeks before the program.
Departure: Tuesday, July 21. We will depart after breakfast and head
to Barcelona. We will make a brief stop when we reach Barcelona to stretch
our legs and take photos. Then we will enjoy a bus tour of the city that
points out some of the best known sites including La Sagrada Familia and Las
Ramblas. At the end of the bus tour, we will offer two drop off options,
approximately 1:15 pm at La Placa Catalunya for those staying the night in
Barcelona and 2:00 pm at El Prat Airport.
Do not book a flight before 5:00 pm on July 21. Most flights to the US
depart in the morning. If you can’t book a flight after 5:00 pm, plan to
stay the night in Barcelona and fly out the next day, July 22. If you plan
to stay the night (or longer) in Barcelona, consider hotels in the Eixample
neighborhood, which is a short walk from La Placa Catalunya, has many good
hotel options and offers easy access to public transportation.
Travel Note: You will have access to our private trip website, which
will provide you with additional travel recommendations. We will also
provide the opportunity to connect with other participants before the
writing retreat. Each year this leads to people traveling together before
and after the retreat. This can be especially helpful if you are not an
experienced overseas traveler.
You will need a passport, but US citizens will not need a visa to enter Spain.
Double check that your passport is up to date, and if not, renew it today!
You may also want to buy travel insurance to protect yourself before and during
your trip, but we do not require it.
Take a look at the photos from our most recent
international writing retreat or view our
full collection of
Writing Getaway photos.
video highlights of our 2012 writing retreat in Wales, created
by participant Nicole Zuckerman. Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod.
Try and say that three times fast.
"I thought the feedback would be the most valuable part of the workshop,
but actually it was the prompts and the new material they led me to write. I
accomplished everything I set out to do and devised a plan for finishing my
manuscript. I feel freed—thank you!"
~ Terri, Novelist, Philadelphia, PA, 2009 International writing
came to write, and Wales was a super setting in which to do it. I am
impressed with your knowledge and the breadth of your experience, Peter, and
I am thankful for the community of writers I encountered at the Wales
~ Merrill, Memoir & Poetry, Middlesfield, CT, 2009
International writing retreat participant
"Peter, you strike a balance I find most helpful and enjoyable, between
drawing out our responses and knowledge and offering your own input. Thank
you so much for another wonderful week in Wales. I hope it's not the last!"
~ Bobbie, Poetry, Chatham, NJ, 2009 and 2010 International writing
"The program couldn't have been better. I especially enjoyed the feedback
sessions, with their warm atmosphere and an environment of trust which
helped us listen to each other, to really hear what the reader was saying
and venture a thought or two. Thank you for everything."
~ Belinda, Short Fiction & Memoir, Barcelona, Spain, 2012
International writing retreat participant
"The fun and engaging prompts encourage writers, and there's a great sense
of caring for the individual. Thank you for giving me the excuse/opportunity
to write and at the same time visit a part of the world I wouldn't otherwise
~ Barbara, Nonfiction and Poetry, Summit, NJ, 2013 International
writing retreat participant
Read more testimonials.
Participants will receive a professional development certificate of
participation upon request. Stockton University is recognized by the New Jersey
Department of Education to provide Professional Development credit hours,
which many other states are willing to accept. You may check with your
district or employer to see if it will work for you.
Questions? Call 609-626-3594 or email