Verse Kraken
Writing Retreats

Peumerit, France
8-15 May 2020

Join us for an adventure! Verse Kraken Writing Retreats take you out of your everyday to re-ignite your creativity. Unlike many retreats, ours engage with the environment around us. On our retreats you will discover the local culture, food, and literature. Each year is different and based on the interests of our participants, but have included: seaweed tasting, storytelling around standing stones, responding to the work of local sculptors, discovering Breton expressions and much more. Don't take our word for it, you can get a sense of how the retreats work by reading the blog posts of a previous participant here.

Our retreats are taught, which means participants will have a mixture of workshops as well as alone time to spend on their writing. This retreat will also include a feedback day, in which the tutors will spend 1-on-1 time with the participants, giving them feedback on a pre-submitted manuscript.

We welcome writers working in all genres.

The retreat includes accommodation, food, tuition, as well as travel to the workshops that require it. There will also be optional excursions. 

"Verse Kraken was a place of metamorphosis and growth I never imagined possible – beautifully structured by the organisers with a wonderful mix of workshops with a thread tying them all together effortlessly and designed to make us think in new ways; fieldtrips and surroundings to inspire the soul; personal time to write on our own, and peer-to-peer feedback to bond us as a group. It felt like home, a safe place to grow and explore and become more confident being myself, knowing my voice as a writer. I emerged from the week someone who doesn’t mumble or nervously
qualify my statement when I tell people I write. Sometimes I even tell them I write poetry. That’s what Verse Kraken did to me. It showed me who I am, and told me I was welcome."  
- Jaime S, first time retreat attendee, writer, poet

What to expect?

"It felt like the equivalent of a full MOT for my writing-brain, with its focus on unlocking as many different ways of being creative as possible" Robin Gurney, previous participant

Tori Truslow and Claire Trevien have run many workshops and projects in the UK and in France. After a successful first retreat in Peumerit in 2019, they are back. Set in the gorgeous landscape of the Baie d'Audierne, the aim of this residency is to recharge and re-inspire writers of all genres.

Mornings will generally be dedicated to workshops, including site-specific workshops in the area. 

Afternoons are the writers' own personal writing time, which they can spend as they wish.

The evenings will either involve optional excursions, readings or be additional free time for writers.

Application Process

When you hit 'apply' you'll be taken to a form with a few questions about your writing and what you hope to get out of the retreat, and you'll be asked to upload a sample of your work. We ask this so that we can establish whether the retreat will be a good fit - while it is open to all kinds of writers at any stage in their practice, it's important that participants can show they will benefit from this retreat.

Once you have submitted an application we will get in touch within a few weeks let you know the outcome and with details for payment (see 'Costs' below).

Costs

Prices include accommodation, meals, and tuition. They do not cover transportation.

There are five single rooms in the retreat. You also have the option of being a 'day' participant which means being in charge of your own accommodation and breakfast (lunch and supper are included in the day rate), as well as your transport to the main house.

We also offer a scholarship place (and reserve the right to offer partial scholarships). The deadline to apply for the scholarship has now passed, and we will notify applicants by the end of November.

Earlybird prices are valid until 31st December.

We want this retreat to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you would like to discuss a payment plan, or receive crowdfunding advice, then do get in touch.

Residential single room: £850 (earlybird price until 31st December: £750)

Day place: £500 (earlybird price until 31st December: £400)

Travel

The nearest town to the residency is Peumerit in Brittany, France.

Nearest airports are Quimper (20 minutes drive), Brest (1 hour drive) and Nantes (2 hours 40 drive). Brest and Nantes both have budget flights to the UK with Ryanair and Flybe. The Quimper airport has regular flights to Paris and seasonal flights to the UK.

The nearest train station is Quimper (20 minute drive). There are also several ferry ports to consider: Roscoff (1h40 drive), St Malo (3 hour drive). If you are using the ferries without a car, do take a look at popular car-sharing website BlaBlaCars for a lift to our area.

We will endeavour to help participants with their travel arrangements to the venue.

Access

The organizers are committed to creating as inclusive an environment as possible for all participants.

The house can be entered step-free but there are no adapted bathrooms. However, it does have a ground floor bedroom and bathroom. One of the bedrooms also has a cot, if the writer cannot find alternative care for a young child. The house is also pet friendly, but the allergies of other participants will have to be taken into account before being able to agree to a pet's presence. 

We ask applicants to inform us of allergies and any access issues in their application.  We want to know as much as possible about you so that we can make the right adjustments for the week.

We encourage low-income writers to apply to our scholarship by selecting that option on our application form.

About Us

Verse Kraken was an interstitial journal run by Tori Truslow and Claire Trevien from 2013-14. The magazine invited interpretations, remixes and transformations of a selected 'spur' for each issue. 

We have decided to relaunch as a series of retreats based in locations steeped in fascinating culture and history. Because collaboration and cross-genre are our faves, these retreats cater to writers working in any genre. Previous retreats have seen a mixture of poets, screenwriters, short story authors, playwrights, novelists, coming together. 

Here's a little more about us as individuals:

Claire Trévien is an British-Breton author. Born in Brittany in 1985, she is the author of two collections The Shipwrecked House (Penned in the Margins, 2013), and Astéronymes (Penned in the Margins, 2016) and more recently the pamphlet Brain Fugue (Verve Poetry Press, 2019). The Shipwrecked House was longlisted in the Guardian First Book Award and highly commended in the Forward Prizes. It was co-commissioned as a one-woman show by Ledbury Festival and supported thanks to Arts Council Funding. It toured the UK in 2014-2015. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications including BBC Radio 3, POETRY, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Magma, Under the Radar, Poetry Salzburg, The Forward Book of Poetry 2014 and Best British Poetry 2012. She founded Sabotage Reviews and its Saboteur Awards, coedited with Tori Truslow the interstitial journal Verse Kraken, and cofounded Penning Perfumes, a creative collaboration between poets and perfumers. She is also a marketer and cultural historian, her monograph Satire, prints and theatricality in the French Revolution was published by Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment.

Tori Truslow is a London-based speculative fiction writer. Their writing has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous magazines and anthologies including including Clockwork Phoenix 3, Penning Perfumes, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Sidekick Books' Battalion. Tori's short fiction has been shortlisted for the James White Award, British Science Fiction Association Award and Parsec Award. They co-edited the interstitial journal Verse Kraken with Claire Trevien and were a Writer-in-Residence at Shrewsbury International School from 2008-2010. Currently, they work as database and digital manager for the charity Arts Emergency, and are developing an advocacy project for creative workers with ADHD and other invisible disabilities.