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 3pm 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.

Our 7th annual 2016 retreat instructor was 2007 Guggenheim Fellow Debra Magpie Earling, the author of The Lost Journals of Sacajewea and Perma Red, recipient of the American Book Award and the Western Writers Association Spur Award, among many others. Her stories have been published in Ploughshares, The Last Best Place, and Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories.

Earling directs the MFA Program at the University of Montana, and is currently at work on a new novel.

September 10-12, 2017 | Faculty will be announced this winter.

2017 faculty with be announced later this winter. Registration for the 8th annual, 2017 Tutka Bay Writers Retreat will open in summer 2017. Current 49 Writers members will receive preliminary registration priority before it opens to the general public.

All registration fees include $80 return water taxi fare from Homer to Tutka Bay Lodge. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Homer, and we will facilitate opportunities for informal carpooling from Anchorage. Except for the water taxi, fees are non-refundable unless we have a replacement for your slot. If you must cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, you may substitute a replacement and we will do our best to assist by activating our wait list. A 10 percent cancellation fee will apply.

In order to offer more writers the opportunity to participate, all accommodations will be shared. Please note, too, that Tutka Bay Lodge will only be open to registered participants during the retreat, in consideration of our 49 Writers community.

Retreat fees include instruction, meals, lodging in shared cabins, hot tub, sauna, and self-guided hiking. $615 members | $655 nonmembers
Retreat registration is limited to 16 participants. 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—hike 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