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Tutka Bay Writers Retreat – 2024

September 20 - September 23

14th Annual 49 Writers Tutka Bay Writers Retreat

featuring instruction by Mieke Eerkens – Applications open!

September 20-22/23, 2024, at Tutka Bay Lodge.

About the Retreat

Join us for a one-of-a-kind writing retreat set against the stunning backdrop of remote coastal Alaska. The Tutka Bay Writers Retreat allows writers of all genres, backgrounds, and experience levels to take a break from their day-to-day lives, reconnect with their creative selves, and dive deeper into their writing practice. At this generative writers retreat, you and a small group of other writers will enjoy craft talks, in-class writing exercises, readings, and discussions led by Mieke Eerkens, acclaimed teacher and author. In between instructional sessions, you and other retreat participants will have plenty of unstructured time to write, rest, dream, and socialize. The retreat is limited to 12 participants.

“One of the best times of my life. My time spent with other writers at Tutka Bay transformed my writing.”
-Chris Baron

New! Three-night Retreat Option. 49 Writers is thrilled to announce that this year’s retreat will include a four-day, three-night option (in addition the traditional three-day, two-night option). Perfect for those who want to squeeze in some additional writing time, the three-night retreat option will include the same amount of instruction as the two-night retreat, with the added benefit of an extra day to enjoy unstructured writing and take advantage of the Lodge’s amenities. There are eight two-night spots available and four three-night spots available.

About the Instructor

Mieke Eerkens is a Dutch-American writer who grew up in Los Angeles. She earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, and an M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing from The University of Iowa. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Rumpus, Catapult, Los Angeles Review of Books, Pank, Guernica, and Creative Nonfiction, among others. Her work has further been anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2011; Norton’s Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts; Water’s Edge, and A Book of Uncommon Prayer, selected as a “notable essay” in Best American Science and Nature Writing, and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. All Ships Follow Me, a book about her parents’ experiences in WWII and the inheritance of war trauma, was released in 2019 by Picador/Macmillan. She has taught Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program, Amsterdam University and Leiden University in The Netherlands, and currently teaches for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and private workshops. She is currently working on a memoir about her younger years traveling with the circus.

Workshop Description: What’s Your Story?: Crafting Effective Personal Narrative and Memoir Writing

We all have a unique and valid story to tell. Artfully told memoirs and personal essays remain popular with readers for good reason. They help us see universal truths in our human experience, and can be a cathartic process for the writer and reader alike. In this weekend-long workshop suitable for writers of every level, we will focus on best practices as we examine and record our unique lives through writing. People write personal narratives for a number of different reasons: as a form of creative expression, to create a permanent record for others, to examine emotions, to find communities of shared experience, and more. Whatever our personal motivation, this supportive workshop will provide us with a constructive environment to creatively explore our lives on the page. The focus will be on craft choices. How do we build our personal narratives on the page and make them engaging for a reader? To help answer this question, we will read short excerpts from inspiring works, respond to writing prompts, discuss effective personal narrative writing techniques, and receive helpful feedback. We’ll also discuss approaches to revision of the writing we create in the class and potential venues for personal narrative writing for those who are interested in publishing their work. Above all, we will be using this workshop as a space for exploration and discovery to send us excitedly on our way with tangible pages and a clear path for future development of our ideas.

About the Lodge

Located across from Homer on Kachemak Bay, Tutka Bay Lodge is an award-winning boutique adventure lodge (in 2012, it was named by Fodor as one of the World’s Top 100 Places to Stay). The 35-acre property features seaside coves, old-growth forests, and soaring mountains. The surrounding areas are home to humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, shore and water birds, bioluminescence, and more. The Lodge’s full-service, luxurious accommodations include gourmet meals that incorporate organic, local ingredients, many of them sourced from the on-site gardens or foraged nearby. When not writing, you and other participants can enjoy complimentary activities such as guided hiking and kayaking, yoga, meditations and sound baths, cooking classes, and more. In the evenings, spend some time relaxing in the sauna or hot tub before retiring to your cozy, well-appointed cabin.

“The lodge was hands down one of the most incredible places I have ever stayed at!”
-2023 TBWR Attendee
Accommodations & Transportation

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. Round-trip water taxi between Homer and the lodge is included in the registration fee.

Retreat fees include instruction, meals, double or triple occupancy accommodations, sauna use, self-guided and guided hiking, water taxi accommodations, and more. 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.

Retreat Fees

The fee for this year’s Tutka Bay Writers Retreat is $1,350 per person (for the two-night option) or $1,700 per person (for the three-night option).

The decision to increase the fee was not made lightly, and is a direct result of the rising costs of goods and services. To offset this cost, 49 Writers is offering two partial scholarships to this year’s retreat (see “Scholarships” below). Payment for the retreat is due July 31, 2024.

Eligibility: The Tutka Bay Writers Retreat is restricted to 49 Writers members. Non-members are welcome to apply, but if accepted, will be asked to purchase a membership. Both emerging and established writers are encouraged to apply.

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.


49 Writers will be offering two partial scholarships in the amount of $650 each (equal to half the registration fee for the two-night/three-day retreat option) for writers who can demonstrate financial need. To apply for one of these scholarships, please fill out the relevant section in the application form.

Application Information

Click here to apply for the 2024 retreat. Applications are due by June 1, 2024. Applicants will be notified of their status no later than July 1.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

If the retreat must be cancelled because of circumstances beyond 49 Writers’ control, all fees will be refunded in full. If the retreat goes forward and you must cancel for personal reasons, 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.

Sample Schedule for the Weekend

(note: actual schedule may vary slightly)

Friday Afternoon:

  • Meet at the Homer dock
  • Take water taxi to Tutka Bay Lodge
  • Welcome and orientation
  • Free time to unpack, relax, explore
  • Dinner in the main lodge
  • Instructional session
  • Free time to relax, write, or socialize


  • Breakfast in the main lodge
  • Instructional session
  • Free time to relax, write, explore
  • Lunch
  • Instructional session
  • Free time to relax, write, explore
  • Dinner
  • Group reading


  • Breakfast
  • Instructional session
  • Free time
  • Lunch
  • Check out
  • Depart

Past Tutka Bay Writers Retreat Instructors include: Amy Butcher (2023), Luis Urrea (2022), Elena Passarello (2021), 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).


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!


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