Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Verse Kraken writing retreats different?
Verse Kraken is built on the idea of collaboration and conversation. Our retreats don't just take you to a beautiful place to write, but encourage you to explore and engage with your surroundings. We choose places where landscape, history and art all meet, and work with local experts and businesses to make sure that participants get a real feel for the life of a place. We also really wanted to create a space where writers of all genres can get together and learn from each other's approaches.
Who are these retreats for?
Anyone who enjoys writing and likes the idea of being playful and exploratory. Anyone looking for fresh inspiration to reinvigorate their work or take it in a new direction. Anyone interested in crossing style and genre boundaries or learning from other art forms. Poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, script writers, bloggers, game-makers, and those whose work doesn't fit easily in one or another category.
Do I have to be a published writer to attend?
Not at all! Everyone is welcome to apply, whether you're an accomplished writer, just starting out, or anywhere in between. Our groups are usually a mix of writers at different stages in their journey and we design the content to reflect this – wherever you're at, you'll find a supportive atmosphere.
Where do the retreats take place?
At different locations in Europe – we've run retreats in Buckinghamshire (UK) and Brittany (France), and are always researching future settings, so keep checking back to see where we might be going next! For the immediate future, this autumn we're heading to Lyme Regis, and we're returning to Brittany next spring.
How much does it cost?
Pricing varies based on location, duration, and what's included in the price. As a general rule residential retreats are in the £600-£1000 range and city retreats in the £200-500 range.
How do I apply?
Each retreat will have its own booking form and application window, which we'll announce on our home page and social media. To make sure you know when applications are opening, follow us on twitter or instagram, or join our mailing list.
What are you looking for in an application?
First and foremost, we’re looking for applicants whose writing we love and who would benefit from attending. We want to know why this particular retreat appeals to you and what you'd like to get out of it. Because of the inclusive space we're trying to create, we're also actively looking for writers whose voices are traditionally underrepresented. The application form isn't meant to be daunting or overly formal, but is designed to give us a sense of who you are and whether the retreat would be a good fit.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes. Our retreats usually have one full scholarship place for low-income writers, and we may award additional full or partial scholarships based on the applications we receive. There will be a section of the application form where you can indicate whether you're applying for a scholarship and why you need it.
What’s your cancellation policy?
If you cancel more than six weeks before the beginning of the retreat, you can do so with a full refund. You can cancel between six and three weeks before the retreat for a 50% refund. As three weeks’ notice would make it difficult to find a replacement, we aren't able to offer refunds beyond this point.
What happens during a retreat?
Our retreats are tailored to the location and group, so each one will be different, but there will be some common elements. Typically each day will be split between workshops and personal writing time, sometimes with optional extra sessions or events. You can always expect a friendly atmosphere, creative challenges and encouragement, and interaction with local history, geography and culture. A good way to get a sense of what to expect is to read what past Verse Kraken participants have said about their experience.
What do the workshops involve?
Our workshops are generally inspired by our location, and may touch on a place's historical events and figures, literature, language, food, crafts, and any number of other elements. We'll often visit local points of interest such as museums and landmarks. Participants will be able to discuss their ideas and impressions, and be given writing tasks based on the workshop's themes and content. You'll come away with new knowledge, inspiration and one or more pieces of writing.
Can I skip the workshops and just write?
Workshops are at the heart of the Verse Kraken experience, and are designed to connect you to our surroundings and to complement each other, so participants are expected to attend them. We know it’s hard to predict health and personal matters so there won’t be any judgment if you need to sit one out or step away, but please come with the intent to take part as fully as possible – we’ll always make sure there is protected writing time in the schedule as well. If that isn’t what you want from a retreat, then this probably isn’t the right one for you.
Will I get feedback on my work?
While the focus of our retreats is on providing inspiration and space to write, insight from other writers is a valuable thing and we want to ensure that participants can access that. To aid this we usually schedule a number of optional peer-to-peer feedback sessions so that everyone has a chance to share their work and get some input. It's up to you whether you attend these, so you're equally free to get on with your work in progress if you'd prefer.
What should I bring?
In general, there isn't much you need to bring beyond what you would pack for any trip. Just make sure you have your favoured writing tools, whether that's a laptop, notebook, both, or other! If a particular retreat requires anything beyond that, we'll let you know in advance. If travelling from abroad, do remember to bring any necessary adaptors.
Can you help make travel arrangements?
We'll always do our best to provide practical and up-to-date travel information for each retreat, so that whether you're coming by car, train, plane, etc, you'll be able to plan accordingly. Beyond that, getting to and from one of our retreats is your own responsibility. If you're flying or coming a long way we highly recommend getting yourself some travel insurance.
Is there a code of conduct?
Yes. Our retreats rely on a welcoming, supportive environment, so all participants will be provided with a written code of conduct and briefed on its contents. In particular, you'll be expected to use fellow participants’ stated pronouns, be mindful of their boundaries, and be willing to educate yourself on issues that don’t directly affect you.
What's a residential retreat like?
A residential Verse Kraken retreat is a chance to get away from life's pressures and distractions and focus on your writing. We book the accommodation, lead the workshops and make sure everyone's fed, you show up and explore new inspirations, engage with fellow writers – and write! Residential retreats may take place over a week or a long weekend, and a typical structure will see us doing workshops in the morning – usually a mix of site-specific and 'at-home' workshops – with afternoons given over to personal writing time.
What’s the cost?
Retreats are priced according to the costs involved, with accommodation being the biggest variable, so the price will vary accordingly. It's best to check the schedule here or keep an eye on our social media for specifics, but generally residential retreats will be in the £600-£1000 range.
A residential booking covers all workshops and extra sessions, accommodation, essential travel to workshop locations, and three meals a day. Some retreats may also have non-residential tickets available, which means you'd be responsible for finding your own accommodation nearby but would have the same access to sessions and meals.
What’s not included?
Travel to and from the retreat, any insurance or visa costs, optional excursions, and any extra food or drink you might want including alcohol.
What will the food be like?
Breakfast and lunch will be a self-serve buffet, which you're free to eat in a communal area or take back to your room, and in the evenings there will be a communal cooked dinner. We'll ask participants about their dietary requirements in advance to make sure that everyone is catered to. There's absolutely no requirement to help with preparation, but if you're a keen cook and would like to do any cooking please do let us know in advance so we can try to arrange that!
What's a city retreat like?
A city retreat takes place in an urban setting that's easy to reach by public transport, often over a weekend, and involves a series of workshops alongside exploration of the area, its history, culture and life. Participants are responsible for finding their own accommodation, and will meet up for scheduled sessions, either in a central venue or at specific sites. Think of it like a mini-break packed with creative activity.
What’s the cost?
As with residential retreats, the price will vary, but as city retreats tend to be shorter and don't include accommodation they'll cost lest. It's best to check the schedule here or keep an eye on our social media for specifics, but generally city retreats will be in the £200-£400 range.
All essential sessions including workshops, visits and tours. Longer sessions may also include light refreshments, which will be indicated in the schedule.
What’s not included?
Accommodation, travel, meals, and any optional outings or social events.
Any other questions? Ask us here!