2025 Writers’ Retreats

March 12th-16th, 2025

Carmel Valley, California

March 26th-30th, 2025

Carmel Valley, California

April 9th-13th, 2025

Carmel Valley, California

Who will be at each writers’ retreat?

18 specially-selected fiction writers

1 Author-in-Residence

2 Guest Literary Agents

1 Independent Editor

1 Retreat Assistant

By keeping our writing retreats small, we ensure that each writer gets the attention they deserve, the chance to talk with our Guest Literary Agents and Author-in-Residence, and the opportunity to connect with each other.

What’s included in each writers’ retreat?

A group of people sit around a table with laptops and notes chatting during a fiction writing workshop

Focused fiction writing workshops

A cozy-looking woman writes notes on her pages

Dedicated, distraction-free writing time

Book author talks about her book journey to being published in a cute bookstore to a large group of people

Inspiring & informative speaker sessions

Nighttime shot of poppy flowers in front of a lit up wooden building

Private bedroom (with ensuite bathroom) & all meals

Man in button up plays on a baby grand piano in a moodlit room with twinkle lights

Yoga sessions, outdoor space, & live piano music

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process & Fees

Can I send more than 20 pages?
Because of the number of submissions we receive, we cannot read beyond twenty pages, so please follow the guidelines in the application. You’re welcome to submit part of your novel or short story.
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes. With the generosity of previous participants, as well as Guest Agents and Authors-in-Residence who have donated their honorarium back to the retreat, we are able to offer financial aid. After acceptance letters have been sent, if finances keep you from attending the retreat, please contact us directly and we’ll review our funds and see what we are able to gift. Aid is needs based, not merit based.
If I apply, am I guaranteed a spot?
Unfortunately we can’t accept every writer who applies as we have limited space. Please be sure to show us your best work, and really tell us about yourself and your writing journey in your cover letter. We learn so much from cover letters, and while the submission needs to be really strong, we get to know you as a person from your cover letter.
Why the $20 application fee?

We want to be sure that the writers who apply are serious about their writing and their intent of attending Northern California Writers’ Retreat.

Does what I submit in the application need to be what I’m workshopping at the retreat?
You may submit published or unpublished work for the application. Our goal is to see your writing talents and be sure you are a good fit for the retreat. What you decide to workshop at the retreat is your choice: part of a novel or a short story, which you'll be asked to submit a month before your retreat date.
I’m ready to apply!!

Great! You can check our Call for Applications here.

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter below & follow us on Instagram, X, & Facebook to get more information about future retreats! We will be adding virtual courses in fall 2024!

Can I send more than 20 pages?
Because of the number of submissions we receive, we cannot read beyond twenty pages, so please follow the guidelines in the application. You’re welcome to submit part of your novel or short story.
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes. With the generosity of previous participants, as well as Guest Agents and Authors-in-Residence who have donated their honorarium back to the retreat, we are able to offer financial aid. After acceptance letters have been sent, if finances keep you from attending the retreat, please contact us directly and we’ll review our funds and see what we are able to gift. Aid is needs based, not merit based.
If I apply, am I guaranteed a spot?
Unfortunately we can’t accept every writer who applies as we have limited space. Please be sure to show us your best work, and really tell us about yourself and your writing journey in your cover letter. We learn so much from cover letters, and while the submission needs to be really strong, we get to know you as a person from your cover letter.
Why the $20 application fee?
We want to be sure that the writers who apply are serious about their writing and their intent of attending Northern California Writers’ Retreat.
Does what I submit in the application need to be what I’m workshopping at the retreat?
You may submit published or unpublished work for the application. Our goal is to see your writing talents and be sure you are a good fit for the retreat. What you decide to workshop at the retreat is your choice: part of a novel or a short story, which you'll be asked to submit a month before your retreat date.
I’m ready to apply!!

Great! You can check our Call for Applications here.

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter below & follow us on Instagram, X, & Facebook to get more information about future retreats! We will be adding virtual courses in fall 2024!

Retreat & Location

Can you tell me more about the location?

Northern California Writers’ Retreat takes place at Hidden Valley, an Institute of the Arts, in Carmel Valley, California. All facilities and rooms are on the ground floor and easily accessible. Should you have any questions about the property, please contact us.

Can I bring a guest?
No. We want this to be a unique experience that fosters our community and creates a distraction-free environment. Therefore, the retreat is only open to the accepted applicant.
I'm local, do I need to stay overnight?

Yes. Our retreat price is all-inclusive and your experience is further enhanced by being amongst community throughout your time here (plus you don't have to go home and do dishes or cook!).

Can you accommodate special dietary needs?
Yes. All meals are prepared by Hidden Valley’s dedicated kitchen staff who cook to all dietary needs. You will receive a survey prior to the retreat to be sure we are clear on your preferences and restrictions.
What are the rooms like?

Rooms are simple, and each has a bathroom ensuite (with shower, toilet, and sink). All linens and towels are provided by the retreat center. Most rooms have two beds, though we’ll only have one writer in each room in order to allow everyone privacy and quiet. Our goal is to provide a peaceful, tranquil experience that both fosters community and respects the space needed to create.

Can you tell me more about the location?

Northern California Writers’ Retreat takes place at Hidden Valley, an Institute of the Arts, in Carmel Valley, California. All facilities and rooms are on the ground floor and easily accessible. Should you have any questions about the property, please contact us.

Can I bring a guest?
No. We want this to be a unique experience that fosters our community and creates a distraction-free environment. Therefore, the retreat is only open to the accepted applicant.
I'm local, do I need to stay overnight?

Yes. Our retreat price is all-inclusive and your experience is further enhanced by being amongst community throughout your time here (plus you don't have to go home and do dishes or cook!).

Can you accommodate special dietary needs?
Yes. All meals are prepared by Hidden Valley’s dedicated kitchen staff who cook to all dietary needs. You will receive a survey prior to the retreat to be sure we are clear on your preferences and restrictions.
What are the rooms like?

Rooms are simple, and each has a bathroom ensuite (with shower, toilet, and sink). All linens and towels are provided by the retreat center. Most rooms have two beds, though we’ll only have one writer in each room in order to allow everyone privacy and quiet. Our goal is to provide a peaceful, tranquil experience that both fosters community and respects the space needed to create.