Okoboji Writers’ Retreat 2023


Unleash Your Creativity at the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat

Embark on a transformative journey of words and creativity at the annual Okoboji Writers’ Retreat! Founded in 2021 and helmed by the esteemed columnist Julie Gammack, this retreat is a haven for writers of all skill levels, beckoning both novices and seasoned writers alike. Imagine immersing yourself in a community brimming with literary passion, where over 30 faculty members stand ready to guide and inspire you through small-group sessions. Whether your goal is to ignite your writing spark or unravel the mysteries of landing a book deal, this retreat guarantees an inclusive and impactful experience.

Experience the Magic of Writing

With its reputation preceding it, the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat has consistently sold out each year, a testament to its irresistible allure. Julie Gammack, an accomplished former Des Moines Register columnist and WHO-AM radio talk radio host, brings her wealth of experience to curate an event that is nothing short of extraordinary. Having produced writers’ retreats in enchanting locations like the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, Whidbey Island, Washington, and Vail, Colorado, Gammack knows how to create an ambiance that nurtures creativity and sparks literary magic.

Mark Your Calendar

Save the dates on your calendar, dear writers, for this literary extravaganza will take place on September 17, 18, 19, and 20, 2023. But wait, the excitement doesn’t stop there! The retreat kicks off with an informal hot dog roast on the beautiful campus of Lakeside Labs on September 17. This delightful gathering, organised by volunteers who attended the retreat last year, sets the tone for the immersive experience that awaits. Bring a dish to share, as hot dogs will be provided to fuel both your appetite and creative spirit.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Nestled amidst the captivating landscapes of West Lake, Okoboji, Iowa, the retreat finds its home at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory—a place that exudes tranquillity and inspiration. Surrounded by the beauty of nature, you’ll find yourself transported to a world where words flow more freely, and ideas come naturally.

Everyone is Welcome

But what if you don’t consider yourself a writer? Don’t worry, for you’ll be in excellent company. Approximately half of the participants share the same sentiment as you, venturing to explore their latent writing talents. The remaining half comprises experienced writers, many of whom have already achieved the coveted feat of being published. This retreat is intentionally designed to cater to all skill levels, ensuring that every attendee feels welcome and empowered to embark on their own literary journey.

Logistics and Cost

For those wondering about logistics, the retreat is conveniently located near several airports, including Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; and Des Moines, Iowa. As for the cost, early bird enrolment offers a fantastic opportunity to secure your spot at the exclusive rate of $795 until September 1, 2023. After that, the fee increases to $895, so seize the moment and reserve your place.

If you find yourself on the edge of uncertainty, unsure if you can commit just yet. Well, your enrolment fee is refundable until September 1, 2023 (less a small $20 processing fee). So, go ahead, secure your place and embark on this adventure with the knowledge that your investment is safeguarded.

Food and Fellowship

Amidst the excitement and creative exploration, sustenance is always an important consideration. Lunch will be provided on Monday and Tuesday, allowing you to refuel while connecting with fellow writers. And for those seeking an extra treat, an optional dinner awaits on Monday night at the Lakes Art Center. Indulge your taste buds and treat yourself to a culinary adventure, followed by an exclusive showing of the RAGBRAI documentary SHIFT—a perfect way to unwind and find further inspiration.

Scholarships Available

Okoboji Writers’ Retreat firmly believe in inclusivity and accessibility, which is why scholarships are available. If you require financial assistance, consider applying for the Working Journalist Partial Scholarship or the Otto Knauth Scholarship for Environmental/Climate writers. Don’t let financial concerns hinder your dreams—take a leap of faith and explore the possibilities.

Who is the Retreat For?

Is the retreat primarily for professional writers? Absolutely not! The core aim of this retreat is to inspire and encourage attendees from all walks of life to explore the magic of writing. While some participants may already be paid writers, the majority are enthusiasts and aspiring wordsmiths, united by their shared love for the written word.

Learn from the Best

For those seeking specific insights and guidance tailored to professional writers, you’re in for a treat! Distinguished and award-winning editors, authors, literary agents, and columnists will grace the retreat, generously sharing their best practices and invaluable wisdom. Prepare to be immersed in a world of literary excellence, where you can learn from the best and refine your craft. Speakers for 2023 include Andy Ross, Kim Norvell, Polly Letofsky and Robert Leonard. Find a list of all speakers here: https://okobojiwritersretreat.com/okoboji-writers-retreat-speakers/

Accommodation Options

There are plenty of accommodation options locally but Arrowwood Conference Center extends a warm welcome to OWR attendees, offering an exclusive group discount that combines comfort and convenience. If you’re yearning for a touch of rustic charm, consider the motel-like rooms at the Lakeshore camp, nestled beside Lakeside Labs. Director Sara Sutter has secured an enticing OWR discounted rate of $79 per night. For further details, reach out to JulieOkobojiWriters@gmail.com.

Scholarship recipients will find solace in the rooms available on the Lakeside Labs campus, ensuring a comfortable stay within close proximity to the retreat’s epicentre. If you prefer alternative options, consider The Inn Hotel in Arnolds Park, which offers a convenient location near restaurants, ensuring you can savour local delicacies after a day filled with writing adventures.

Sign Up Now

Ready to embark on this thrilling learning holiday? Early bird enrolment is key, granting you access to the retreat at the exclusive rate of $795 until September 1, 2023.

Don’t delay, dear writers, for this is your chance to join a vibrant community of literary enthusiasts, ignite your creativity, and unleash your storytelling potential.

Sign up now and prepare to be swept away by the magic of the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat!

Credit: Gibson
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