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Success in Donegal, Now Paris Here We Come

Strange to say, especially as we organise writing retreats, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

So here, in vivid color, are images from our fully-booked Autumn Writing Retreat last week in Donegal, on the famous ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ in northwestern Ireland, attended by participants from Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, Scotland and the US.

Among the highlights were: accommodation and lovely food in a family-owned, boutique hotel, Teac Jack; exclusive uilleann pipe and harp concert; food tastings and storytelling in a century-old thatched cottage; and adventurous excursions to a medieval castle and a stunning island, as well what we call a ‘Wine & Cheese Conversation Corner’ with a well-known Irish historian-cum-archaelogist at his home in the shadow of magical Errigal Mountain.

The week’s activities continued on a high note with a lively singalong evening, with full-throated participant participation, in the charming venue where well-known singer, Enya, started her illustrious career, ‘Leo’s Tavern, her father’s rustic countryside pub-restaurant.

Many thanks to Irish journalist, publisher and author, Sean Hillen, and American author and professor Dr. Kathleen Shine Cain for their excellent tutoring on subjects as wide-ranging as dialogue and story arc to hands-on guidance on memoir writing.

Professor Emeritus, Kathy has led a very impressive career, including 35 years as professor at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, where her responsibilities included faculty liaison in the Office of Global Education. Her academic papers and books are manifold, including ‘Rough Drafts Activity Book’ for Simon and Schuster, ‘Leon Uris: A Critical Companion’ and ‘Exploring Literature: A Collaborative Approach.’

This dynamic lady - passion personified about teaching creative writing - holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in American Literature from Marquette University and a post-Doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies from the University of Kansas. Author as well as professor and tutor, Kathy was also general editor, Mercury Reader and Pearson Custom Introduction to Literature at Pearson Custom Publishing for more than 21 years.

Sean has been both domestic and foreign correspondent for well-known

newspapers including The Irish Times in Dublin; The Times and Daily

Telegraph in London; and Time magazine and The Irish Echo in New York. He also worked at the United Nations Media Center in the United States and was chairperson of a national US Fulbright Commission. His books include contemporary novel, ‘Pretty Ugly,’ and memoir, ‘Digging for Dracula,’ about his experiences in eastern Europe.

A guest speaker at many diverse literary venues including the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Derry and the Festival of Books in Tucson, Arizona,

Sean’s latest work, an historic-fiction novella, will be published in print form this autumn. Entitled ‘Driver’s Diary - Death at the Mouth of Flowers,’ the book focuses on the mysterious ambush and killing of Irish rebel leader, Michael Collins, exactly 100 years ago, with a dramatic twist of an ending that will leave readers shaking their heads in wonderment.


And remember.


You’ve still got time to sign up for our writing retreat next month in beautiful Paris, the City of Light.


‘Six Senses’ is the intriguing theme for this romantic, carefree getaway in the heart of the French capital, a week highlighted by spectacular city sights, titillating tastes of legendary Parisian cuisine, exotic scents of its world-renown perfumes and the enchanting music and language that makes France so endearingly charming.

Aside from bespoke creative writing workshops, among other enjoyments awaiting participants are -

Complimentary lunches in classic restaurants associated with some of the most famous writers to have lived in Paris including Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, George Orwell, Albert Camus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre.

A special guided literary-cum-historic walking tour of Paris.

A delightful musical evening soirée.

A special literary salon complete with fine food, wine and iconic French pastis in an apartment featuring up-close views of the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

Only a few days left to enter the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards (WAWA) for flash fiction and creative non fiction on the theme of Beauty.

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