Creative Writing Retreats at Casa Ana
Programme directors: Mary-Jane Holmes and Anne Hunt
Casa Ana sponsors the Fish Short Memoir Prize and the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize.
At Casa Ana you'll find:
- Quiet time and quiet space for your writing
- Professional tuition and mentoring of a high standard
- An inspiring environment free of distractions
- Comfortable accommodation and wonderful cooking
- The warmth and light of Andalucia
Newsflash:Mary-Jane Holmes, winner of the 2017 Bridport Poetry Prize, has won the 2018 Mslexia short fiction prize.
Take the opportunity to work uninterruptedly on the project of your choice. This could be a novel, short stories, poetry, short fiction, screenwriting or a play. At Casa Ana we hold creative writing retreats at least four times a year. Each retreat lasts for two weeks and is facilitated by a resident mentor.
We also run occasional one-week intensive retreats including a one-week novel-writing retreat in July 2019. See below for our 2019 and 2020 programmes.
The retreats are ideal if you want to start a new project, get some guidance on your existing work or edit your works in progress.
You’ll be writing in quiet and inspiring surroundings in the Alpujarra in Andalucia, in the company of up to 8 other writers, with help from the resident mentor, who offers optional individual mentoring and group reading/feedback sessions.
Whilst you are writing, the team at Casa Ana makes sure you have everything you need from an endless supply of tea and coffee, a glass of wine in the evenings and the fabulous cooking for which Casa Ana is acclaimed. And for further inspiration there are long walks in the mountains and short walks to the bar.
8 – 22 June
27 July – 10 August
16 – 30 November
6 – 13 July – one week Novel writing retreat (click here for information)
7 – 21 March
13 – 27 June
25 July – 8 August
14 – 28 November
Mentoring on the Writing Retreats
Mary-Jane Holmes, director of the Casa Ana Creative Writing Retreats, will facilitate the retreats in June, July/August and November 2019 and 2020. The mentor for the March 2020 retreat is to be announced.
Sarah May will facilitate the one-week novel-writing retreat in July 2019
Mary-Jane is the winner of the 2017 Bridport Poetry Prize and the Mslexia 2018 Women’s Flash Fiction competition. She is also the recipient of the Martin Starkie Poetry Prize (2017), the Bedford International Poetry Prize (2016) and the Dromineer Fiction Prize (2014). Her first collection of poetry, Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass was published in 2018 by Pindrop Press.
Since 2009 she has served as chief editor of Fish Publishing Ireland, an organisation committed to supporting emerging writers. She also is an editorial consultant at The Well Review, an international poetry journal based in Cork, Ireland.
Mary-Jane is an alumna of Kellogg College, Oxford where she gained distinction in a Masters in Studies in creative writing. She is currently studying for a Phd in creative writing at Newcastle University, UK
Sarah May is the highly-acclaimed author of seven novels, including The Nudist Colony, which was shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award. Her second novel, Spanish City, was shortlisted for the Encore Award, and The Internationals was longlisted for The Orange Prize. Her other novels include the bestselling trilogy, The Rise and Fall of the Queen of Suburbia, The Rise and Fall of A Domestic Diva and The Wonder Girls.
Sarah has been a freelance writer and creative writing tutor for over fifteen years. She has taught UEA/Guardian Masterclass courses and is currently a lead tutor on Faber Academy six-month Writing A Novel Course. She also mentors writers through Jill Dawson’s Gold Dust programme.
Prices 2019 – two-week retreats
Minimum stay: 1 week.
All rooms are priced for single occupancy and private bathrooms.
Single room: €650 for one week only; €1100 for two weeks.
Standard size double or twin room: €750 for one week only; €1300 for two weeks.
Large room with double bed: €850 for one week only; €1400 for two weeks.
NB. Places are strictly limited so early booking is strongly advised.
Download this FAQ's pdf for more information and bookings
Alternatively, please email Anne at Casa Ana.
Prices – Novel writing retreat, 6 – 13 July 2019
All rooms are priced for single occupancy and private bathrooms.
Single room: €945.
Standard size double or twin room: €1045.
Large room with double bed: €1145.
For further information and bookings please email Anne at Casa Ana
Reviews from participants
"I attended the March 2019 Writing Retreat at Casa Ana and was incredibly happy with my experience. I finished the first draft of my novel there and really enjoyed the company of the other writers…
Casa Ana itself is a beautifully renovated villa, situated in a tiny village, Ferreirola, high in the Alpujarra mountains, about an hour's drive from Granada, Spain. The retreat is self-contained in the villa, with the various guest rooms cloistered around a sunny courtyard garden. The sitting room is cozy and is used for readings and mentoring sessions. There are several terraces where you can write, read, or just enjoy the sunshine.
We met in the comfortable dining room for breakfast and lunch every day. The food was healthy and delicious and the atmosphere was warm and collegial. I chose to participate in the group dinners and was delighted.
I am looking forward to returning for next year's retreat."
Stephanie C, April 2019
"As always my stay here for a writing retreat was a gift on every level..."
Sally M, November 2018
"Location and space itself amazing. I was there on a writers' retreat, but sunrise hikes an unexpected and much-enjoyed surprise. Other budding writers and staff all very pleasant, and the size of Casa Ana a benefit - small enough to have ownership of, while large enough to provide everything one could possibly want! Very positive relationship with Mary-Jane, the writing mentor, and other staff, which to me makes a big difference in general vibe. Food and dining set-up both very enjoyable, and restaurants in village only a few minutes' walk away. I would recommend Casa Ana to anyone, and hope to continue visiting/working with them in future."
Tim L, July 2018
"Location is stunning and the food delicious...be prepared to gain a pound or two! I had a blissfully cool room with comfy bed and great shower. Anne and her team strive to ensure that your stay is an enjoyable one. On site mentor, Mary Jane Holmes, will keep you on your toes with her incisive insight."
Lorraine C, July 2017
"It was a wonderful, wonderful fortnight. For me, a perfect balance of quiet time to write, group and one-to-one sessions for feedback and to help me shape my writing, and delightful, sociable evenings with a great bunch of fellow writers. Casa Ana is comfortable, spacious and full of peace, flowers and birdsong. Natalie and Christoph’s food was a treat for the eyes, taste buds and tummy (least said about the waistline the better!). Mary-Jane was incisive and very supportive as a mentor. I loved hearing other people’s work at the critique sessions and the one-to-ones. I have moved my writing, and my confidence, to a new level. I felt I was in very safe hands with all the staff at Casa Ana. The whole experience was creative, inspiring and relaxing. Fabulous. I’ve already booked to come back in October."
Debbie B, June 2017
"I went for a fortnight on one of Anne's writing retreats. Casa Ana's a wonderful place to be alone, yet in company. I marvel at what she's achieved in this tiny mountain village. There's total attention to detail: the beds are comfortable, the showers luxurious and always hot, the rooms simply furnished, the cooking imaginative, the staff more than helpful. Unsurprisingly some of us have already booked a return visit."
Diana, June 2016
"The art of writing is mentored by Mary-Jane Holmes who is both incisive in her critique as well as sensitive to writers at all levels - quite simply excellent. I am really looking forward to my next visit."
John, June 2016
"If you want to 'get away' then get away to Casa Ana. I attended a writing retreat here, and the isolation and beauty of the location couldn't have been more inspiring. Anne is the perfect hostess - there when you need her, but respectful of your own experience. The food was simply and beautifully cooked - it was such a treat. The rooms are in keeping with the location… and it felt like a haven from the rest of the world. I am already booked to come back... couldn't recommend it highly enough..."
Alana, June 2016
"Casa Ana is the ideal retreat for writing. There are few distractions. Only the amazing view, the daily trip to the water fountain and the call for wonderfully prepared meals . My room was cool and perfect for writing with a stunning view of the mountain… The vast skills and expertise of the resident mentor Mary Jane Holmes completes the picture of a perfect writing retreat."
Candy, June 2016
"The retreat was even better than I had imagined. Wonderful people, wonderful place. I thought it was a great balance between having time alone to write and having like-minded people around to discuss ideas and socialise with. On top of that wonderful food and surroundings."
Lorna, February 2016
"My stay in Casa Ana was a fabulous mix of hard work writing, long treks into the surrounding hills and valleys to clear my mind, happy evenings and nights socialising with all the other writers and more than a few moments to spend much needed time rebalancing myself after my hectic life in London. The room was cool and comfortable, despite the intense June/July heat. The terrace was a great place to write as well, with views down the hill to the tree-lined local river. One of the added and unexpected highlights was the cooking of chef Wes, who thrilled us with his cuisine three nights a week. Using only the freshest of ingredients, wild growing herbs and a lifetime of culinary knowledge, he produced innovative and delicious three course meals that would grace any top restaurant. Throw in the lovely breakfasts and lunches and Casa Ana is home from home. In fact, it’s better than home from home and I missed it all when I returned to London. I had a fun, most productive time here and am writing up the screenplay whose bare-bones I devised from scratch in Spain. I hope to return there soon and think up another original screenplay when I can."
James, June 2015
"Casa Ana is the perfect place for a creative retreat. I loved everything about the place and the region. It's made for taking time out and focusing on your writing or any creative project. It's remote and cozy at the same time. I still can't get the wonderful breakfasts out of my mind and food in the nearby village. Also the owner Ana makes you feel at home from the first few minutes, and with memorable walks and untouched quality of the area, it's very hard to forget the great time I had there. Highly recommend you try it out too!!"
Lorraine, June 2015
"Wes's dinners are on another level of top quality. I was totally blown away by the standard of food that we were served, predominantly seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Each meal was carefully crafted and every mouthful was a taste sensation. Not only was everything super tasty, but fresh and healthy. This all contributed in making my whole experience at Casa Ana, a stupendous ten out of ten!"
Berri, June 2015
"I loved the coziness of my room, and the sunshine on the terraces and the highly enlivening banter with the other writers. For me there was just the right balance between the availability of conversation and the availability of solitude."
Jonathan, February 2012
"I came for the Writers’ Month this November (2011) and my only regret was that it wasn't longer…. The gentle rhythm of the days suited me perfectly - mornings sitting in the sun with notepad on one of the many terraces, thinking and developing; afternoons in my room writing up before heading out for an autumn walk under clear blue skies; and evenings enjoying dinner in the company of the other writers, or wandering out to the local bar. If you like noise and partying, don't come. If you like lively conversation over a beautiful dinner (oh that lamb!) with plenty of time for writing, walking and relaxing, then do. You won’t regret it."
Elizabeth, November 2011