8th annual 49 Writers Tutka Bay Writers Retreat

September 8-10, 2017

2017 Guest Instructor: Louise Erdrich

Your weekend of instruction and inspiration will take place at Tutka Bay Lodge, named by Fodor in 2012 as one of the World’s Top 100 places to stay. Tutka Bay is a remote and rugged fjord characterized by soaring mountains, secluded beaches, old growth forest, and dramatic tidal fluctuations. To get there you fly or drive to the fishing community of Homer on the Kenai Peninsula (225 miles south of Anchorage) then take a 20-minute water taxi ride across Kachemak Bay. On the way you will observe a variety of shore and water birds, and there is always the possibility of sighting sea otters, orcas, and humpbacks.

Once there you will enjoy the full-service accommodation and renowned cuisine provided by the staff of Within The Wild. For its memorable meals, the lodge sources organic, natural, and local Alaska ingredients, often from their own gardens or foraged from nearby wild places. Our retreat facility, The Widgeon, is a whimsical crabbing boat dry-docked on a tidal lagoon just a short walk away from your well-appointed cabin.

The retreat experience begins on Friday at 1 pm, when we gather at Mako’s water taxi on Homer Spit for the trip across Kachemak Bay. A welcome session takes place at 3 pm, and your first instructional session is scheduled for 7pm on Friday, leaving you plenty of time to settle in and explore. After a full day on Saturday, the weekend wraps up on Sunday with lunch after the morning session. You’ll depart Tutka Bay for Homer at 2 pm, arriving by 3 pm to continue your journey home.

In addition to the daily instructional sessions with our retreat leader, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to pursue assignments in the natural setting. The schedule allows time for reflection and recreation in the form of beach walks and forest hikes, and time to work on your writing outside the classroom. You can choose to relax on the spacious ocean-side deck, soak in the outdoor hot tub, or take an invigorating sauna. For an additional fee, you can take advantage of on-site services such as massages or local boat tours. Cookery classes and guided hiking, sea kayaking, and boating are included at no additional fee.

Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and more. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

This generative writers retreat will emphasize fiction writing while welcoming nonfiction writers interested in utilizing elements of fiction in their prose. The format will blend craft talks, in-class writing, readings, and discussion with unstructured time to experience the immersive natural environment or concentrate further on writing.

Retreat fees include instruction, meals, double or triple occupancy accommodations, round-trip water taxi between Homer and the lodge, sauna use, self-guided and guided hiking, and more. Regular registration fee: $845 members | $895 nonmembers. Sustaining registration fee: $995 (includes $100 tax deductible donation), $1095 (includes $200 tax deductible donation), $1195 (includes $300 tax deductible donation), $1295 (includes $400 tax deductible donation. Please contact us at info@49Writers.org if you would like to make a larger gift in registering).

Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Homer, though we will try to facilitate opportunities for informal carpooling from Anchorage. Commercial air service between Anchorage and Homer is also available. Fees are non-refundable unless we have a replacement for your slot. If you must cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, we will do our best to assist by activating our wait list. A $75 cancellation fee will apply.

Due to the high level of interest in our annual writing retreat, we’ve shifted to an application-based enrollment process this year, as opposed to a first-come, first-served model, in the interest of assembling the most suited cohort of peer writers. Current 49 Writers members and Tutka alums will receive priority, though everyone is encouraged to apply. There is no fee to apply this year, but payment in full will be expected upon notification in order to secure one’s enrollment.

Applications will be reviewed and responded to as soon as possible, and no later than June 30, 2017. Enrollment is limited. Lodging will be shared with fellow retreat participants, with all accommodations being double or triple occupancy. Please note, too, that Tutka Bay Lodge will only be open to registered participants during the retreat, in consideration of our 49 Writers community.

Click here to apply

Retreat registration is limited. All accommodations are in shared cabins (view details here). Rooming and cabin requests may be made at time of registration, but lodge staff reserves the right to place you according to availability.
Our hosts at Tutka Bay Lodge offer the following complimentary activities—hiking with guide, kayaking with guide, cooking class, and yoga. Available for a fee: Tutka Bay boat tour; Halibut Cove/Gull Island boat tour; 60-minute massage; and 90-minute massage.

Registration for optional activities will be available to registered participants in early August, with those fees collected by Tutka Bay Lodge on arrival.

In order, beginning in 2010: David Vann, Dani Shapiro, Pam Houston, Ron Carlson, Carolyn Forché, Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson, and Debra Magpie Earling