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WSP 100 B — Creative Writing Retreat at Djerassi

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesday - Monday
Course Format: Off-campus
Duration: 6 days
Date(s): Jan 30—Feb 4
Drop Deadline: Dec 26
Units: 2
Tuition: $2600
Instructor(s): Malena Watrous
Limit: 4
Status: Pre-approval required
prior to enrollment
Wednesday - Monday
Jan 30—Feb 4
6 days
Drop By
Dec 26
2 Units
Malena Watrous
Pre-approval required
prior to enrollment
To apply, please first sign up on the Wait List. Then, submit a brief writing sample for review. Writing submissions should be 500 – 1,000 words and emailed to: Amy Tollafield at tollafie@stanford.edu with “Djerassi Retreat Writing Submission” in the Subject Line. Please note that this is just a chance for us to read a short portion of your writing, and not (necessarily) the writing you will submit to be workshopped on the retreat—although it's fine if you want to submit a portion of your workshop submission as your sample. Please choose something that is representative of what you like to write and intend to keep working on at Djerassi. Writing sample submission deadline is: Wednesday, December 12th, at 5:00 pm PT. Acceptance notifications will be sent by: Wednesday, December 19th. If accepted, your full piece to be workshopped at Djerassi (up to 7500 words) will be due via email January 5.

Set in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains above the town of Woodside, the Stanford Continuing Studies Creative Writing Retreat at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program offers the opportunity to recharge your creative energies, recenter your projects, and gain a head of steam for your next phase of writing. Over six nights and five days, we will begin each day with optional exercise, then breakfast, and then a good morning’s writing with plenty of trips to the “creative library.” Students will meet again for lunch and then our shared workshop. Afternoons will feature individual conferences with an instructor, plenty of writing time and optional activities such as a sculpture tour and nature hikes. We will meet again as a group for a wine hour, then dinner. Evenings will host communal readings in the gorgeous natural environment.

Our workshops will focus on narrative, fiction or nonfiction, long or short. Students are welcome to submit short stories, personal essays, or excerpts of novels, memoirs, or narrative nonfiction books (maximum 7,500 words). Submissions will be made in advance so that participants can prepare to workshop each other’s manuscripts before arriving. Though we will be workshopping these pieces with a keen eye, our focus will be not on cutting criticism, but on encouraging the writer’s creativity in the narrative. We will ask questions and hopefully help each other to see new opportunities inherent in our work. In addition to a carefully read manuscript and workshop, students should leave the retreat with a better understanding of the opportunities and possibilities of their current project and their writing in general.

About lodging, meals, and location:
The Djerassi Resident Artists Program is located one hour south of San Francisco, nestled in redwood trees and coastal grasslands overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are over sixty sculptures and five miles of private hiking trails to inspire and renew you. Chef Dan Tosh prepares a locally sourced dinner every evening; other staff prepare a simple breakfast and lunch, with communal cleanup. There are eleven rooms available: in the Artists’ House, four bedrooms share two adjoining bathrooms; in the Artists’ Barn, three loft bedrooms share two ground-floor bathrooms; and each of the four Middlebrook Studios has a private bathroom. Accommodations are rustic, and the view is spectacular.

Please note: Students registered for sections A and B will all participate in the same retreat. Those enrolled in section A will have access to a shared bathroom, and those in section B will have private bathrooms.

Tuition includes room, board, and airport pickup at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Please note: tuition discounts are not available. Airport pickup is dependent on students arriving and departing within certain time windows on the first and last days. Otherwise, students must arrange their own transportation.

This course offers an intensive workshop experience and is designed for intermediate to advanced writing students who have completed one or more Creative Writing courses with Stanford Continuing Studies. Admission is by application only. Before enrolling, students must write a brief submission for review.

Malena Watrous, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; Online Writing Lead Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me and co-author of the novel Sparked. She has contributed to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, Allure, Real Simple, and many other magazines. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.