Writing Retreat

Writing Retreat

2020 Winter Writing Retreat

Date: January 10th - 12th, 2020
Location: Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA


Students joined us on 24 acres of trails, trees, and ponds this winter at the Writing Arts Winter Writing Retreat. The weekend offered the opportunity to hang out with fellow writers, write in a whole new genre, and study creative writing alongside published faculty. Students also enjoyed delicious local and organic farm-to-table meals to sustain their creative efforts.


Faculty taught craft lessons in the following genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and children’s literature. In addition to craft lessons and faculty-led workshops, students had the opportunity to attend a conversation with a publisher currently working in the field.


Pre-Retreat Meeting

​Before the retreat, participating students meet with faculty members in a one-hour seminar on December 13, 2019. During this pre-retreat meeting, students received a notebook that functioned as their journal for writing assignments before and during the retreat weekend. Through writing activities, this pre-retreat meeting focused on the importance of journaling and on writing techniques. Toward that end, students received a series of writing prompts to complete before their stay at Pendle Hill. These exercises will addressed a variety of creative writing genres and helped prepare students for their craft lessons in January. 


  • 5:00 - Arrive early evening
  • 6:30 - 7:30 - Welcome Remarks and Dinner
  • 7:30 - 8:30 - Faculty Reading
  • 9:00 - Free time 


  • 9:30 - 11:30 - Fiction or CNF Craft Lessons**
  • 12:00 - 1:00 PM - Lunch
  • 1:00 - 3:00 PM - Poetry or Kid Lit Craft Lessons**
  • 3:00 - 5:00 PM - Writing & Revision
  • 5:00 - 6:00 PM - Workshop Sessions 
  • 6:30 - 8:00 PM - Dinner (with agent/editor/publisher)
  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM - Student readings


  • 9:00 - Breakfast and Closing Remarks



This retreat was led by Megan Atwood, Lanre Akinsiku, Heather Lanier, and Jade Jones:
Megan Atwood teaches creative writing and publishing courses at Rowan. She has over 45 books published, her most recent being a young adult horror book called The Devils You Know from Soho Teen and a middle grade series called The Orchard Novels from Simon & Schuster. Currently, she is working on a young adult sci-fi book and an adult mystery. Megan has almost 20 years experience in the publishing industry, working as an acquiring editor, developmental editor, managing editor, and literary agent. She is an enthusiastic proponent of We Need Diverse Books in the children's lit community.

Lanre Akinsiku is the author of Blacktop Vol. 1-4 (Penguin Young Readers, 2016-2017), a young adult series which won recognition from the New York Public Library, Publishers Weekly, and the Junior Library Guild. His fiction and essays have appeared in NPR, the Washington Post, the Kenyon Review, Zocalo Public Square, Gawker, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in fiction from Cornell University, where he received a 2017 James McConkey Creative Writing Award and a 2017 Sampson Teaching Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. His forthcoming young adult novel will be published by HarperCollins in 2020.

Heather Kirn Lanier is an essayist, memoirist, and poet. She's the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks, The Story You Tell Yourself and Heart-Shaped Bed in Hiroshima. Her memoir, Raising a Rare Girl, is forthcoming from Penguin Press in the summer of 2020. Her related TED talk, “‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Are Incomplete Stories We Tell Ourselves,” has been viewed over two million times. She has received a Rona Jaffe – Bread Loaf Scholarship, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and a Vermont Creation Grant. She has published poems and essays in dozens of places, including Salon, The Sun, Vela Magazine, Utne Reader Online, The Southern Review, The Threepenny Review, and Fourth Genre. Previously a Vermonter, she joined the Writing Arts faculty in the fall of 2019.

Jade Jones was born and raised in Southern New Jersey. A former Kimbilio Fiction Fellow, she is a graduate of Princeton University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She is a Lecturer in Writing Arts at Rowan University, where she teaches first year writing and creative writing and serves as the Managing Editor of Glassworks. Her story, “Today You’re A Black Revolutionary,” originally published in The Rumpus, won the 2019 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers.
**Workshops/Craft Lessons: Two sessions run concurrently and students will have the opportunity to attend all sessions; in each session, students will complete prompts relevant to the genre/craft