2025 Writers’ Retreats

March 26th-30th, 2025

Your Retreat Hosts

17 other writers, 2 Guest Literary Agents, 1 Author-in-Residence, 1 Independent Editor, and YOU.

Join us in Northern California among oak trees and poppies to workshop with fellow writers led by our Editor or one of our Guest Literary Agents. Take part in daily conversations about publishing from the perspective of professionals who will give insights into the industry. Enjoy the free time and space to write. Participate in a daily yoga practice and/or write to live piano music. Book an intuitive and relaxing massage with our on-site massage therapist who practices Esalen® massage.

The Northern California Writers’ Retreat brings writers together to create a community of individuals who love to write, read, and support each other—if that’s you, please apply!

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

What’s the daily schedule like?

Young woman in glasses and a turtleneck writing in a notebook and eating a plate of fruit looks up at the camera and smiles

Mornings

Our first two mornings together we’ll workshop so you’ll have fresh perspectives for diving back into your pages. Then, grab a cup of coffee or tea and head to a table in the dining hall with your laptop, or go back to your room and snuggle under the covers and dive into writing your next pages.

On our third morning you’re free until lunch time!

A guest literary agent speaks on publishing for authors during lunch hour

Afternoons

Our delicious lunch will be eaten all together while listening to a talk about the publishing industry from editor Heather Lazare or the Guest Literary Agents. After lunch, you’re free to keep writing, or join us in the theater for live piano music to write to! Each day, our favorite local yoga instructor provides an hour of practice, or you can book a massage from our on-site massage therapist.

Yoga, piano, and massage are all optional—you can do as you like and join when you want.

Women work on their laptops at a table while a man in the background plays on a baby grand piano

Late Afternoons

On our first afternoon together, we will head out on a walking field trip to local bookstore Olivia & Daisy, where we’ll hear from our Author-in-Residence about their book publishing journey and have the opportunity to ask any questions.

On the other two afternoons piano, yoga, and massage are all available, though you can also go for a peaceful walk around the grounds, write, read, explore Carmel Valley Village, or take a nap… Choose your own adventure!

A glass of white wine, a plate of cheese, crackers and grapes, and a water bottle with a Northern California Writers' Retreat sticker on it

Evenings

We offer a social hour before dinner with snacks and drinks. Dinner involves plenty of local ingredients and wine, beer, sparkling water, or whatever you prefer!

Conversations over dinner lead to discussions deep into the night, or you can always opt for a book in bed, back in your cozy room.

What’s the application process & fees?

Application

All interested writers must apply via application and submit a sample of their work. The application fee is $20. Participation is limited to eighteen writers in order to ensure that everyone receives the individual attention they deserve.

Northern California Writers’ Retreat is only open to fiction writers. You must be 21+ to apply.

Deadlines

We are currently closed for submissions, but will be opening again in August 2024.

Virtual retreats will be coming fall 2024, so please sign up for our newsletter for more details.

Fees & Fine Print

All rooms are SINGLE rooms with bathroom ensuite. The bathroom includes a toilet, sink, and shower stall. All linens and towels are provided by the retreat center.

$2,797 for 4 nights and 5 days, all meals, snacks, and beverages included.

Upon acceptance, we will require a $900 non-refundable deposit.

Needs-based financial aid opportunities are possible. Aid varies year-to-year and will be determined after application and acceptance. Fees paid to Northern California Writers’ Retreat are not charitable donations. Deposits and fees are not refundable. Travel expenses and transportation to and from NCWR are not included.

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.

Join Us For Our Next Northern California Writers’ Retreat!

Writing time, workshopping, publishing talk, inspiration, connection, and more