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Hot News: How-To Workshops On Memoir & Travel Writing

With participants and authors from Germany, the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland taking part, our inaugural Virtual Writing Retreat kicked-off last weekend with lively minds focusing on a wide-range of topics, from the key elements of flash fiction to finding a literary agent, with vital input from authors, Vanessa Fox-O'Loughlin and Matthew Schofield.

We were delighted to receive praise from the participants to the first Virtual Writing Retreat:


My second 'Ireland Writing Retreat’ was another fun and fruitful experience,” said Renee Ozburn, a retired judge in Michigan. “Sean and Columbia do a great job creating intimate workshops that spark creative juices and bond its participants. I especially appreciate the time and consideration Sean gave to providing individual written critiques for multiple pieces of writing submitted during the workshop. That is invaluable.


I had a blast,” said Carmen Dunn, an accountant in Nova Scotia, Canada. “The event was well organized with timely communications. Sean Hillen created a comfortable learning environment as the host. We received professional feedback on our writing, and Sean facilitated the sharing and peer discussion of each participants’ work. I loved discovering various styles and approaches by the other participants. Meanwhile, the opportunity to meet two published authors in a casual Q&A format was equally inspiring and informative. Thank you, Ireland Writing Retreat!"


Our series of virtual retreats continue this upcoming weekend (starting Saturday afternoon) with practical workshops focusing on the specific skills required for strong memoir writing. There are several places still available so sign up now and enjoy the benefit of formal critiques of your own work by published memoirists. You will also enjoy live virtual meetings with authors - a leading Irish historian and archaeologist who has penned fifteen (15) books and a Scottish author who overcame a debilitating illness and whose memoir focuses on being an organic gardener and a pioneer natural medical practitioner.

Book your place for the ‘From Memories to Memoir’ Weekend


In other news, ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ will host a two-hour workshop on Saturday, April 10 focusing on how to become a successful travel writer.


With vaccines for Covid now being distributed and the travel industry gearing up for business again, there’s no better time to polish your skills and build your portfolio to take advantage of free ‘fam’ (or ‘familiarization’) trips that will soon be offered to travel writers and bloggers by hotels, museums, restaurants, airlines and regional and national tourism agencies keen to get publicity.

Few better people to guide you on this journey than Sean Hillen.


Aside from working at the United Nations Media Center and being national chairperson of a US Fulbright commission, Sean has been a foreign correspondent over the last 35 years for prestigious newspapers and magazines such as The Times London and Time magazine. He began specialising in travel writing over the last nine years, initially by launching his own travel blog, World Itineraries.


Using various social media platforms, Sean raised the profile of his travel blog which led to ‘fam’ invitations overseas from such key organisations as Atout France, the leading French tourism promotion agency, as well as writing projects ranging from Fodor’s travel books to newspapers and magazines in Europe and the US and online publications. To date, Sean has written more than 400 travel articles, the latest being a series during a three-week ‘fam’ trip to Scotland. Sean has since expanded his writing platform to include entertainment, ranging from theater and music concerts to dance performances, key elements of any enjoyable holiday.

Here are some of the benefits you will gain as a participant on our Virtual Travel Writing Retreat:

  • guidance on the the do’s and don’ts of travel writing to increase your success in pitching your stories to publications;

  • key strategies for developing your own travel blog and using best social media platforms to promote it;

  • writing skills that could be applied to other specialised areas such as food writing, product reviews, arts and entertainment;

  • one of your own travel articles comprehensively critiqued in advance of the workshop.

This two-hour practical workshop includes in-class assignments so be prepared to write.

Virtual Travel Writing Retreat

Cost of participation - 79 euro.

We are offering an ‘early bird’ participation fee of 59 euro

for registrations on or before Sunday, March 21.


And finally on the news front, please remember to enter our ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ competition, with 1,000 euro in prize money offered in flash fiction and creative nonfiction categories. Multiple entries welcome.

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