Creative Writing Retreats at Casa Ana
Programme directors: Mary-Jane Holmes and Anne Hunt
Casa Ana is a sponsor of the Fish Short Memoir Prize, the Retreats West First Chapter Competition and the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize.
“As always my stay here for a writing retreat was a gift on every level…”
Spend one week or two focusing uninterruptedly on your writing. At Casa Ana we hold creative writing retreats at least four times a year, each lasting for up to two weeks. The retreats are led by resident mentors who will give professional guidance on your project, whether it be a novel, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, screenwriting, memoir or a play. These retreats are ideal if you want to start a new project, get some guidance on your existing work or edit your works in progress. In July 2020 we are also holding a one-week Novel-writing retreat.
Whilst you write we take care of everything you’ll need:
- The mentors are published writers themselves, with years of teaching experience.
- You’ll be in the company of up to 8 other writers.
- Mentored group critiquing and one-to-one sessions are available.
- We provide wonderful meals with fresh, seasonal products. Writers agree: the food at Casa Ana is beyond fabulous!
- You can help yourself to tea, coffee, cold drinks or a glass of wine at any time.
- We make it easy for you to travel to Casa Ana by arranging taxi-sharing from Malaga or Granada airport.
If you need a break from writing:
- You can book a therapeutic massage at the house.
- For a change of scene there are long walks in the mountains and short walks to the bar. We provide maps and hiking notes.
- In summer there’s a lovely swimming pool with bar and a rose garden a short walk from the house.
- PLUS! Visit Lorca’s Granada: on the Saturday half-way through the retreat we arrange an optional day’s excursion exploring Lorca’s life in Granada and the city as inspiration for some of his best work. The excursion includes a guided stroll round Lorca’s beloved city, a visit to the Lorca museum and lunch.
Click here for application form
“It was a wonderful, wonderful fortnight. For me, a perfect balance of quiet time to write, group and one-to-one sessions.”
The resident chef is worthy of a 5 star hotel and spoiled us with 3 course gourmet meals.
The retreats each last two weeks. It is possible to book for one week, although priority is given to writers who book for both weeks.
7 – 21 March with Tom Bromley
13 – 27 June with Mary-Jane Holmes
25 July – 8 August with Mary-Jane Holmes
14 – 28 November Amanda Saint
PLUS 11 - 18 July, one-week Novel-writing retreat with mentor Sarah May. Click here for more information.
Mentors on the Writing Retreats
Mary-Jane Holmes, director of the Casa Ana Creative Writing Retreats, will facilitate the retreats in November 2019 and June and July/August 2020. The mentor for the March retreat is Tom Bromley, and the November retreat, Amanda Saint.
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. She is a Hawthornden Fellow.
Tom Bromley is a published author, editor, creative writing tutor, book reviewer and ghost (not the scary kind). As a creative writing tutor, he teaches novel writing and five further courses for the Faber Academy. He is also Director of Fiction for the Professional Writing Academy, running courses on crime and genre fiction. He is the Director of the Salisbury Literary Festival and hosts the Salisbury Writing Circle.
Amanda Saint is the author of two novels, As If I Were A River (2016) and Remember Tomorrow (2019). As If I Were A River , reached number three in the WHSmith Travel Charts, was longlisted for the 2016 Guardian Not The Booker Prize and selected as a Top 20 Book of 2016 by The Book Magnet blog. Her short fiction has been widely published in journals and anthologies, longlisted for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize and the Ink Tears Short Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Flash500. Her micro fiction story, Stained Red , won the Editor’s Choice Award at 101 Words.
Amanda founded and runs Retreat West, providing writing competitions, courses and editorial services. In 2017 she expanded to include Retreat West Books indie press, which publishes short fiction, novels and memoirs and was shortlisted for the Most Innovative Publisher Award at the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Amanda has been working as a creative writing tutor and editor for many years and has helped hundreds of writers develop their novels, memoirs and short fiction.
Sarah May, mentor of the Novel-writing retreat
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. She returns to Casa Ana after leading a highly successful retreat in 2019.
Prices 2020 – two-week retreats
Minimum stay: 1 week.
All rooms are priced for single occupancy and private bathrooms.
All rooms have a writing table
Single room: €950 for one week only; €1595 for two weeks.
Standard size double or twin room: €1050 for one week only; €1795 for two weeks.
Large room with double bed: €1150 for one week only; €1995 for two weeks.
N.B €50 per week off the price of a single or standard room if you are willing to share a bathroom with one other writer.
RETURNING WRITERS: €200 off the price of a two-week stay (bookable at any time subject to availability)
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT for new applicants: €100 off the price of a two-week stay if you book before 31st October (March retreat), 30th December (June & July retreats), 31st March (November retreat)
Room, breakfasts, lunches, 5 dinners including wine, tea and coffee, group sessions (2-3 per week)
Prices do not include:
One-to-one mentoring sessions, flights, airport transfers, 2 dinners, excursion to Granada.
Prices – Novel writing retreat, 11 – 18 July 2020
All rooms are priced for single occupancy and private bathrooms.
All rooms have a writing table.
Single room: €1050.
Standard size double or twin room: €1150.
Large room with double bed: €1250.
NB: €50 off the price of a single or standard room if you are willing to share a bathroom with one other writer.
Room, breakfasts, lunches, 5 dinners including wine, tea and coffee, group sessions and 1-1 mentoring.
Prices do not include:
Flights, airport transfers, 2 dinners.
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