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Tutka Bay Writers Retreat – 2021

September 10, 2021 - September 12, 2021

11th annual 49 writers Tutka Bay writers retreat. Featuring acclaimed author Elena Passarello. September 10-12, 2021 at Tutka Bay Lodge.

Elena Passarello’s essays have recently appeared in National Geographic, Paris Review, and Best American Science and Nature Writing. She is the author of two award-winning collections, Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses, the latter of which was translated into four languages.

In 2019, Outside named Elena one of “25 Essential Women Authors Writing About the Wild.” A 2015 recipient of the Whiting Award in nonfiction, she teaches in the MFA program at Oregon State University, and can be heard weekly on the radio in the PRX arts and culture show LiveWire!

A master of the essay form.

The New York Times

There’s nobody else that sounds like her, or is doing what she’s doing.

The Whiting Awards

Download Application to Reserve Your Spot

Once 49 Writers notifies you that your application is approved, please register by making payment here as soon as possible to reserve your spot.

Tutka Bay Registration Level


Space is limited this year to ensure the safety of participants in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, so early registration is advised.

Deadline to register: July 1, 2021

About the Tutka Bay Retreat Experience

This generative writers retreat blends craft talks, in-class writing, readings, and discussion with unstructured time to experience the immersive natural environment or concentrate further on writing. 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 7 pm on Friday, leaving you plenty of time to settle in and explore.

After a full day on Saturday, the weekend wraps up on Sunday after the morning session and lunch. 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.

Past Tutka Bay Writers Retreat Instructors include: Paul Lisicky (2019), Hannah Tinti (2018), Louise Erdrich (2017), Debra Magpie Earling (2016), Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson (2015), Carolyn Forche (2014), Ron Carlson (2013), Pam Houston (2012), Dani Shapiro (2011), and David Vann (2010).

One of the best times of my life. My time spent with other writers at Tutka Bay transformed my writing.

Chris Baron

The Tutka Bay Writers Retreat offers a rare experience in a sublime place where time and minds expand.

Carol Richards

About the Tutka Bay Retreat Experience

Application & Registration

The uncertainty about travel, large gatherings, and many other factors caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will potentially influence whether the 2021 Tutka Bay Writers Retreat takes place. 49 Writers is moving forward to plan and prepare for the event on the understanding that circumstances beyond our control may require that it be cancelled. Applications and registrations are accepted with this caveat, to ensure the safety and health of all concerned. To apply, please complete an application [download application], then complete and return it by mail or email as soon as possible. The application period will run until all spaces are filled or until July 1, 2021 – whichever comes earliest. Applications will be reviewed and responded to as soon as possible after receipt. There is no fee to apply, but to secure one’s enrollment payment in full will be expected upon notification of acceptance. Enrollment is limited and preference will be given to members of 49 Writers. Tutka Bay Lodge will be open only to registered participants during the retreat in consideration of the 49 Writers community

Retreat Fees
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: $855 members | $925 nonmembers. To join 49 Writers or renew your membership, visit www.49writers.org/join. If uncertain about your membership status, please contact us at info@49Writers.org. 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.
All accommodations are in shared cabins. Lodging will be shared with fellow retreat participants, with all accommodations being double or triple occupancy. Rooming and cabin requests may be made at the time of registration, but lodge staff reserves the right to place you according to availability.
Optional Activities
Our hosts at Tutka Bay Lodge offers complimentary activities such as hiking with a guide, kayaking with a guide, a Tutka Bay boat tour, and yoga, but availability may vary. Massage and other services may be available for a fee. Registration for optional activities will be available at the beginning of the retreat.
If the retreat must be cancelled because of circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic or other circumstances beyond 49 Writers’ control, all fees will be refunded in full. If the retreat goes forward and you must cancel for personal reasons after July 1, 2021, fees are non-refundable unless we are able to confirm a replacement for your slot. If we are able to find a replacement, a $75 cancellation fee will be applied to the refund.

Retreat Costs

  • Member Registration $855.00 USD
  • Non-member Registration $925.00 USD

Reserve Your Spot Today

Once your application is approved, you will be sent a link for making your registration payment. If you are not sure of your membership status, please contact us at info@49writers.org.

We look forward to seeing you at Tutka Bay Lodge and spending some good writing time together with Elena Passarello!

Download Application

49 Writers extends deep gratitude to Kirsten Dixon and Tutka Bay Lodge for their longtime support for the Tutka Bay Writers Retreat, without which the retreat would not be possible. Kirsten is a past Board President of 49 Writers and an acclaimed author herself, and her support for Alaska’s writing community has been unfailingly steady and generous. Thank you from all of us, Kirsten!


September 10, 2021
September 12, 2021
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