November 11, 2018

Women At Woodstock Writers Retreat 2019 – October 21-25

At the Women At Woodstock Writers Retreat, we welcome women bloggers, memoirists, fiction writers, poets, and nonfiction writers of all levels and any age. Our content-rich, quiet, 4-day retreat offers two tracks: The Writers Colony and The Story Cottage.

During your time at the Writers Retreat, you have your choice of the Writers-In-Process track or the Emerging Writers track - it's up to you which you choose.

Options For Everyone

For everyone at the Writing Retreat, there will be plenty of space and opportunity for private coaching, collaborative conversations, or total quiet - whatever it is that you need. In the late afternoon we'll gather for an Evening Salon of wine and cheese and readings, sharing what we wish from the day's work. After dinner, we'll continue with wine, chocolates, and conversation, or take advantage of the gorgeous "silent room" at the top of the sanctuary where you can write in peace into the wee hours if you wish.

Writers-In-Process / The Writers Colony

You will start each day with a one-hour workshop taught by resident writing coach Ginnah Howard and then the day will be open for you to write, think, and map out your writing future without interruption, surrounded by other like-minded women also pursuing their own creative quests. You also will have the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one session with Ginnah to review a sample of your writing and receive individual coaching regarding your work and the process of getting published.

Lifebridge Sanctuary main lodge - back
Lifebridge Sanctuary Garden House

Emerging Writers / The Story Cottage

You will join in an intensive full-morning writing workshop with resident writing coach Colleen Geraghty, where a safe space will be created for you to write and practice your developing skills with prompts, discussions, and short writing sessions.  After a long break for thought, lunch, and maybe a walk outdoors, you'll reconvene in the afternoon for a second writing workshop to continue where you left off.


Resident Authors / Writing Coaches

Ginnah Howard - Writers In Process / The Writers Colony (Track 1)

Ginnah HowardGinnah Howard's work has appeared in Water~Stone Review, Permafrost, Portland Review, Descant 145, Eleven Eleven Journal, The Tusculum Review, and elsewhere. Several stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Night Navigation, Book 2 of her upstate novel trilogy, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Chronogram called Book 3, Doing Time Outside (Standing Stone Books, 2013), “a beautiful read.”  Book 1 of the trilogy, Rope & Bone: A Novel in Stories (Illume, 2014) was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the “best of the best” Indie books of 2015. In her latest book, I’m Sick of This Already: At-Risk Learning in a High School Class, Howard focuses on a year of working with students in a small rural town. For further information, visit

As an author who has participated in and facilitated many critique workshops, Ginnah Howard has an experienced and critical eye. She will do a close reading of your manuscript, concentrating on what’s “working” and what still needs to be developed or revised, This critique will provide objective, thoughtful consideration of how a writer can improve her manuscript and make it more attractive to literary agents and publishers. Beyond the review of your 20-page writing sample that you will submit to Ginnah before our retreat, if you have a full-length manuscript that you feel is ready for this kind of editing, email for a detailed description of what would be included in a book-length manuscript critique. You will have time to meet with Ginnah individually during the writers retreat for review of your work and guidance you as you write and refine and mold your work toward publishable shape.

Ginnah will teach a daily morning workshop for the Writers in Process track of the Writers Retreat, for women who have a work in progress and want to write intensively for the weekend under the guidance of a writing coach, who will advise on all aspects of writing and finishing a completed manuscript and readying it for publication.

The Writers in Process track will have two parts: (1) three morning sessions of two hours each with participants volunteering to read a few pages of their works-in-progress out loud, with time given to talk about each piece to help the writer consider what revision may be needed. We will also discuss craft using excerpts from the group’s favorite authors. (2) an individual conference with Ginnah on one of the afternoons to discuss your submitted manuscript (up to 20 pages of fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction or poetry) that you will email-attach to her no later than two weeks prior to the workshop. In September, Ginnah will contact you by email with more information about all the above.

Ginnah will be available to meet with every track attendee individually to review and critique a sample of her writing and discuss avenues to getting published.

Topics for 2019 are under development. Here were the workshop topics at the 2018 Writers Retreat:

Tuesday: Commiseration

A Read-Around of Famous Writer Quotes and Sharing Some of  Your Process Issues

Wednesday: Epiphanies

A Sharing of Sudden Discoveries as You’re Making the World of  Your Story

Thursday: Publishing & Promoting Your Book

Major House, Small Press & Indie

*The remaining hour + will be spent having participants read several pages of their work-in- progress, with time to have critiquing from the group.

Colleen Geraghty - Emerging Writers / The Story Cottage (Track 2)

Colleen GeraghtyColleen Geraghty, a published author and a writing coach certified in the Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s Method who has facilitated workshops for women writers in the Hudson Valley for many years, will lead The Story Cottage, our track for emerging writers who wish to experience an intensive weekend of writing guidance, exercises, prompts, and feedback in a welcoming environment.  Colleen employs the Amherst Writer's and Artist's method of writing that supports all genres and skill levels of writers by using a non-hierarchical approach, a diverse array of writing prompts, and constructive feedback based on the Amherst Method. 

A member of Wallkill Valley Writers, her stories have appeared in Wallkill Valley Writers Anthology 2012 and 2013 and in Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. Her story, “The Beer House,” highlights issues related to child abuse and neglect, and received first prize in the Hudson Valley Writer’s Guild 2013 Short Story Contest. Two of Colleen’s original songs from her Deep Ravines CD, “Hymn for Matthew” and “Nikolay,” have been used by community groups and educators to raise awareness about hate crimes and PTSD. Colleen has also designed the curriculum and taught songwriting for musicians at Dutchess County Community College Continuing Education Program. and she was the coordinator of the very successful 2013 Women Write Conference and the 2014 Celebration of Women’s Voices: Women Writers Past and Present Conference held in New Paltz New York to commemorate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. She is also the recipient of Ulster County New York’s 2014 Raising Hope Award for Mentors.

Amherst Writer's and Artist's method facilitators comprise an international community of writing workshop leaders committed to the belief that a writer is someone who writes and every writer has a unique voice.  All are encouraged to leave any assumptions about writing and writers aside and to write freely.  As a certified AWA workshop leader, Colleen Geraghty works with both novice writers who have been led to believe they have no voice and with experienced writers who want to hone their craft. Both beginning writers and more experienced writers work together in the same workshop to generate new material and/or explore stories, poems, or other reflections that they wish to deepen.  Colleen will focus on voice, power, confidence, and craft.

As part of Women at Woodstock 2019, Colleen will offer participants an opportunity to explore the Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s method and to write in a creative cauldron that affirms the following five essential beliefs:

1)      Everyone has a strong, unique voice.

2)      Everyone is born with creative genius.

3)      Writing is an art form that belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.

4)      The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.

5)      A writer is someone who writes.

Colleen's philosophy of The Story Cottage is encapsulated in this quote:
"Whether your purpose for writing is artistic expression, communication with friends and family, the healing of inner life, or achieving public recognition for your art - the foundation is the same: the claiming of yourself as an artist/writer and the strengthening of your writing voice through practice, study, and helpful response from other writers."

Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Artists and Writers

When & Where

We meet at Lifebridge Sanctuary in Woodstock, NY. The retreat starts on Monday evening, October 21 and runs through Thursday night, October 24, with checkout on Friday morning, October 25.

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