Writers, poets, authors and aspiring authors have journeyed for over a century to this most scenic and literary location on the California west coast known as the Monterey Peninsula. They come in search of inspiration, individuality, purpose and vision, but more importantly, they all eventually come to share an understanding that art has preceded their arrival in the form of a brutally beautiful sea and windswept white shore, in the poetry of the twisted cypress, and in the kaleidoscope of abundant wildlife. It is this setting that inspired the poet Robinson Jeffers to pen:
Fresh as the air, salt as the foam, play birds in the bright wind,
Forgetting the oak and the pinewood, come gulls
From the Carmel sands and the sands at the river-mouth, from
Lobos and out of the limitless
Power of the mass of the sea ...
Steinbeck found the material for his dozen volumes of California fiction in the Salinas and neighboring valleys, along the shores of Monterey Bay, in the Corral de Tierra, and on Big Sur. Even the Monterey sunsets illuminate the secrets of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" which served as a stage for the lives and times on which Jack London and George Sterling composed their allegories. Don Blanding, Henry Miller, Mary Austin, Ambrose Bierce, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, Nora May French and countless others have nurtured their creative intellect here for years on end, all of them fondly recalling their Monterey days in the years to come.
In keeping with their spirit, and the spirit of the place, you can be as goal-focused at this unique retreat, or as hesitant in approach as you wish. You can show us your manuscript, improve your skills, clear your head, have your work read by our onsite writer mentors, whatever works for you, whatever helps you grow and find your vision as a writer. You discuss with us ahead of time via the Monterey Writers Retreat Application about the goals you wish to focus on, and we'll work with you to make it happen. Do you desire a review of your poetry, or poetry collection? A review of your short stories or flash fiction? Do you need to discuss the reality of the market, or your novel project, plot and characters, or perhaps get feedback on the opening hook or a sample chapter? Or would you simply like a relaxed and productive dialogue about your goals as a writer?
Professionals Cary Tennis of Salon.Com, and Michael Neff of Algonkian Writer Conferences, will be available from 8 AM to noon each day of the retreat for one-on-one sessions with writers. Attendance and focus will be up to each individual writer. Michael and Cary will also schedule, as needed, up to four more hours during afternoons and evenings for further one-on-one sessions, as well as any ad-hoc workshops the writers may desire.
NOTE: both Cary and Michael will be resident at the Lighthouse Lodge during the entire course of the retreat in Monterey, and there will be no extra fees associated with their editorial work, line editing, or mentorship as regards your poetry, short stories, or novel manuscripts.
Our Ideal Retreat Location on the Monterey Peninsula
Unlike some of the other "rougher" retreats, we've chosen to locate ours on the Monterey peninsula, beside the shore. In our opinion, there is no better location for a comfortable and productive writers retreat. We recommend a stay in the newly renovated "junior cottages" at the Lighthouse Lodge, or in the very fine yet less expensive rooms at the Pacific Grove Monarch Resort (see below). The Lighthouse provides a great breakfast by a real chef (not a cheap continental thing) and wine and cheese in the late afternoon. Those who desire to dine at local establishments are welcome to join us at dinner. Trips to the local markets will be provided for all those who wish to pick up snacks or special foods.
Contact us with any questions re the accommodations. Please note, we are not blocking rooms at either the Lighthouse or Pacific Grove, and therefore no group reservation has been made at those establishments. As a writers retreat attendee, you make your own reservation for the type of room you desire. We feel this is the best course given everyone has different expectations and needs. Overall, your retreat costs should range between $1300.00 and $1800.00 total depending on your food and lodging preferences. As noted above, there is first class lodging just a block away from the Lighthouse at the Pacific Grove Monarch Resort. See their website for more information on Monterey area benefits.
Additionally, whether you stay at the Lighthouse or at the Pacific Grove Monarch Resort, the mid-town area of Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula is only a quarter mile away, and an easy walk for meals. We will also provide transport for those who require it.
Application, Registration, and More Details
If you have reviewed our mission and location, and found it suitable for your retreat purposes, please fill out our Monterey Writers Retreat application and tell us about yourself, your writing life, and what you wish to accomplish at the retreat. Once you fill it in and submit, give us up to a week to respond to you.
Registration for the Monterey Writer's Retreat in October is $799.00, and the registration link found below. We process all of our payments via Paypal because it is secure and very trustworthy. If you wish to register by check instead, the address can be found below. This fee covers all mentor one-on-one meetings, any possible writing workshops, and other writer activities associated with the retreat.
Please know that registration does not cover lodging or food. Your lodging should be arranged separately by you with the Lighthouse Cottages. However, please note, you are not required by the retreat organizers or onsite mentors to stay at the Lighthouse, especially since there are other accommodations available on the peninsula. We simply recommend it because the staff will be there, and we feel the cottages are top notch, and the food benefits (full breakfast/wine/cheese) excellent. Naturally, by staying there you will also have more opportunities to interact with the onsite mentors, should you desire it.
IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO USE A CREDIT CARD, PLEASE SEND CHECK VIA CERTIFIED MAIL (PAYABLE TO ALGONKIAN - Monterey Writers Retreat) FOLLOWING APPLICATION ACCEPTANCE TO: ALGONKIAN WRITER CONFERENCES 2020 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW SUITE 443 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006.
REFUND POLICY: Full refund up to 15 days before retreat event. In the case of very late cancellations, credit will be given towards future retreats or events.
REGISTRATION FOR ALGONKIAN ALUMS - $599.00
Details re Logistics and Weather
Transportation can be provided for you from the Monterey Airport if you request it, and at no charge. Let us know. We recommend flying into that airport, or else flying into LA or SFO. You can rent a car to drive to the location, or else secure other transportation. Trains also run up and down the coast. We can arrange a pickup from a bus or train station in the Monterey area--just let us know in advance (contact info below).
All writers retreat attendees should arrange to meet us in the lobby of the Lighthouse Cottages by 6 PM, Tuesday evening, October 14 for general orientation. We encourage writers to arrive early, even a day or two prior if they wish.
The California weather in Monterey come October is generally sunny with daytime temps in the 60s and 70s. If you are interested in more information, here is a link to a comprehensive weather website that provides historical data on conditions in Monterey during October. We personally love a few foggy days here and there, feet beside the fireplace and a great cup of coffee in hand, but based on experience, we expect 4 out of 5 days to be sunny and gorgeous.
Contact Us If You Need
If you do not find your questions answered on this page regarding the Monterey Writers Retreat, please feel free to call us or write us.
Contacts as follows:
Email: Algonkian Writer Conferences with the subject line: "Monterey Writers Retreat Questions"
- THE LITERARY HISTORY OF MONTEREY -
- More About The Monterey Peninsula -
WIKIPEDIA: The founding of the city of Monterey in 1777 marked the beginning of settlement in upper Las Californias in New Spain. The city became the capital of Spanish and later Mexican Alta California. Up until the mid 19th century the city served as California's cultural and political center. Monterey is home to some of California's oldest buildings, adobes ... More details here.
FROMMERS: Pacific Grove is so peaceful that the butterflies choose it as their yearly mating ground. Pebble Beach attracts the golfing elite. Tiny Carmel-by-the-Sea is romantic and sweet, despite the throngs of tourists who come for the beaches, shops, and restaurants. Big Sur's dramatic and majestic coast, backed by pristine redwood forests and rolling hills, is one of the most breathtaking, tranquil environments on Earth ... More details here.
GO CALIFORNIA: The Monterey Peninsula packs more sightseeing into its small area than any place has a right to. Three charming communities, compelling seaside vistas, great golf resorts and a world-famous aquarium are only the beginning of what the Monterey Peninsula has to offer ... More details here.
- Onsite Writer and Editor Mentors -
Cary Tennis has been mentoring and guiding writers in the SF Bay area for many years, and is a man loved by his students. The nonfiction side of Cary Tennis is a former writer for the SF Weekly, and now the writer chief of Salon.Com's "Since You Asked" advice column which boasts a readership of half a million. The fiction side of Cary once studied literature and journalism in undergraduate school and attended the masters program in creative writing at San Francisco State. Currently he is working on a novel called Burning the Rain Girl, and he runs a popular workshop for writers in California that utilizes The Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method. Cary's column on Salon.Com can be found here. More about Cary can be found on Wikipedia, and on his writer workshop website.