Verse Kraken was an multi-disciplinary 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 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.
Our next retreat will be based in Peumerit, a rural town in beautiful Brittany, France. Participants will experience a blissful week of writing with stimulating workshops, feedback sessions and alone writing time to develop their work.
Everything is provided for you: food, accommodation and travel to workshops, just concentrate on what you want to concentrate on!
We particularly want to encourage LGBTQIA+, disabled, working class, BAME/POC, and other writers traditionally under-represented in publishing today. Our retreats aim to be a safe and inclusive space for all.
Tutor and organiser
Tori Truslow is a London-based speculative fiction writer. Their writing has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous magazines and anthologies including including 3 of Cups Press' On Relationships, 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.
Tutor and organiser
Claire Trévien is a British-Breton queer and disabled 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 & 4, 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.
Join us for an adventure! Verse Kraken Writing Retreats take you out of your everyday to re-ignite your creativity.
Each year is different and based on the interests of our participants. Previous workshops have included: seaweed tasting, storytelling around standing stones, responding to the work of local sculptors, discovering the Breton language 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, and with all levels of experience.
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
"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
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.
Last night in France with @VerseKraken. This has been such a wonderfully restorative experience, one that has made me realise how starved of inspiration I've been for the last year. I want to carry this experience with me & use it to make my life a better, more joyous place.— Q 🧜♀️ they/them (@quentook) May 16, 2019
The retreat will take place in a unique farmhouse built by the current owners. It's in the middle of the countryside with no noise pollution, but it's still a quick drive to the nearest town (Plonéour Lanvern) or to the sea (10-15 minutes).
The farmhouse includes a writing nook built out of an old bus the owner used to drive, and lots of other eccentric decoration (re-purposed farming gear, an egg collection, an old telephone box, and more). Everywhere you look, there's inspiration, which is why we love this venue so much!
There are plenty of areas in which to talk or spend alone time. The house is surrounded by 18 hectares of woodland and various animals: ducks, geese, chickens, and sheep. If you enjoy hanging out with animals, you can take part in their feeding routine too. A large pond sits in front of the house, which you can swim in and recite poetry if you wish!
At this time of year, Brittany can either feel like summer (with the sunburns to match) or be full of rain, so prepare for both scenarios. It's a mild part of the world so the temperatures are never extreme.
Prices include accommodation, meals, and tuition. They do not cover transportation (except for transportation to site-specific workshops).
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 the recipient is poet and playwright Jackie Hagan.
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 ($1,102)
Day place: £500 ($648)
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