Fern Plant

NATURE WRITING 

with Inga Simpson 

 

26th Feb - 5th March

“Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

―Mary Oliver.

This retreat is an immersion in nature and writing. During the retreat, we will explore a range of practices designed to strengthen your connection with nature, hone your observation skills, and convey your experiences through story.  Aligning your external, physical landscapes with your interior, imaginative landscapes allows a greater intimacy with the natural world – and brings authenticity to your writing.

Throughout the retreat you will be learning and applying Nature Writing practices and techniques, developing new and fresh work while you are here.  You will also have the chance to submit a short personal essay to Inga for feedback, and join in discussion regarding submitting your work for publication.

The daily writing workshops will explore practical techniques for writing about the natural world through a mixture of tuition, examples (including from works set in the Southern Highlands), writing exercises, and group discussion. We’ll cover evocative description, character and place, story and emotion, as well as research. We’ll also consider the challenges faced when writing with an environmental message, and the ethical issues to consider when writing nature in Australia today.

The program includes time and space for you to write as well as  optional, complimentary sessions and  field excursions. 

You’ll receive written and verbal feedback from Inga on up to 5000 words from any genre submitted beforehand.

Fern Plant

INCLUSIONS

WRITING:

  • Close reading and feedback regarding your work (5000 words) by Inga

  • One:one consultation with Inga

  • Morning workshops exploring practical techniques for writing about the natural world

  • Afternoon workshops exploring character, place, story, emotion, and research

  • Writing exercises to generate new work

  • Discussion regarding the challenges and the ethical issues to consider when writing nature in Australia today

  • An opportunity to present and discuss your current project

  • The option to do a reading from your writing to fellow retreat participants 

  • The option to develop a personal essay to submit to Inga for feedback after the retreat

  • Discussion regarding submitting your work for publication

  • Poetry Workshop with Kirli Saunders

 

WELLNESS:

  • Time to truly slow down and sink in to your writing in a beautiful country setting 

  • Swimming Pool 

  • Nourishment of organic farm to table meals made with fresh produce straight from our very own veggie gardens. Vegetarian and vegan options. 

  • Truly slow down and amongst the countryside

  • A week of luxury accomodation

  • Optional daily gentle morning yoga 

  • Optional massage, garden tours and bush walks 

  • Beautiful workshop studio 

  • Transfer to and from Bowral train station

  • Concierge staff and onsite laundry 

 

 

IS THIS RETREAT FOR YOU?

This retreat is for writers with an open mind and a passion for the natural world. It is suitable for writers at all levels, whether interested in nature writing, environmental writing, travel writing, memoir, fiction, narrative non-fiction, short pieces or book-length projects. Content will be tailored to suit the interests and skills of participants – as well as the surrounding landscapes of the Southern Highlands.

LOCATION.

Springfield is situated on traditional lands that were shared by people of the Gundungurra, Dharawal and Yuin nations. Springfield is only five minutes drive from Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park.  

 

We are 15 minutes from Bowral, Moss Vale and Robertson in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. The energy here has been described as peaceful, still and even soporific, making it an excellent place for writers who want the quiet time and space needed to hear their writer's voice and sink in to the wonder of creative flow. 

what others say about Inga & our writing retreats

"It is somewhere in the gaps between the observational nature writing and the memoir aspect, the telling of her life, that something subterranean and magical happens. Something powerful that takes hold of the reader and transports her to the forest floor in a kind of awe.”

Sydney Morning Herald

Read more of what our past guests have had to say here

Meet The Author

Inga Simpson

Inga Simpson is Inga is an Australian novelist and nature writer.

In a previous life she was a professional writer and researcher, including for federal parliament and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Her first novel, Mr Wigg (Hachette, 2013), was published following her participation in the 2011 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program, and shortlisted for the Indie Debut Book Award. Her follow up novel, Nest (Hachette, 2014) was shortlisted for the Courier Mail People’s Choice Award, the ALS Gold Medal, and longlisted for the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize. Where the Trees Were (Hachette, 2016) was shortlisted for an Indie Book Award, and longlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Australian Book Industry Awards, and the Green Carnation Prize.

Inga’s first work of nature writing, Understory: a life with trees (Hachette, 2017), about her decade spent living inside a south east Queensland forest, was shortlisted for the Adelaide Writers Week Award for Nonfiction. She was also the winner of the final Eric Rolls Nature Essay Prize.

Inga has PhDs in creative writing and English literature. Her most recent thesis explored the history of Australian nature writing. She has been teaching nature writing workshops and retreats for more than a decade. And her short work has been published in Chicago Quarterly Review, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review, Clues, Writing Queensland, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

Inga was born in central west NSW. After living in Canberra, Brisbane, and the Sunshine Coast hinterland, she has now settled on the far south coast of NSW.

Poetry Workshop with Kirli Saunders

Join award winning writer and artist Gundungurra raised Gunai Woman, Kirli Saunders to explore the connection of language to land through poetic prose writing prompts and tailored readings. 

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning international writer of poetry, plays and picture books. She is a teacher, cultural consultant and artist. In 2020, Kirli was named the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. 

 

Kirli created Poetry in First Languages, delivered by Red Room Poetry. Her debut picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and CBCA notables. Her poetry collection, Kindred was shortlisted for the ABIA 2020 Book Awards. Her verse novel, Bindi (Magabala Books) was the inaugural winner of the WA Premiers, Daisy Utemorrah Award and was recently released.

Kirli has four forthcoming titles and her poetry features in anthologies published by Magabala Books, UQP and Penguin. Kirli is the winner of the University of Canberra ATSI Poetry prize (2019). Kirli has been shortlisted for the Nakata Brophy prize in 2018 and 2020. She is an esteemed judge for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and QPF Val Vallis Award.

Kirli’s was a finalist in the Contemporary NOW prize, and her artworks works have been commissioned for Wollongong Gallery, Shoalhaven Gallery and Curio Gallery. With the support of Australia Council for the Arts, she will hold her first solo poetic arts exhibition Returning in 2021.

As a playwright, Kirli is co-creating Dead Horse Gap with Merrigong Theatre and South East Arts. Her first Solo play, Going Home has been supported by Playwriting Australia, and will take the stage in 2022.

LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE, DON'T MISS OUT!

WHAT TO EXPECT 

On this retreat you’ll have the opportunity to write what you’ve always wanted to write. Your writing will be supported by Springfield’s signature creative ecology. Our retreat includes optional sessions of morning yoga, nature hike with a local guide, foraging and gardening, and making art with objects found in nature.  Being on retreat in a beautiful natural place will bring insight to your work in surprising ways. Prepare to feel open and spacious as you tune into a different state of mind. Writing on retreat is so special. It initiates that altered state of mind we’re in when we’re writing. That’s when the magic happens. We’ll also take a break mid-week to refresh. You can use your free time to go even deeper into your writing, or take a break to enjoy the pool (weather permitting), treat yourself to a massage, visit one of the local villages, galleries or wineries, or simply sip a cappuccino, write postcards, and enjoy the gardens and views. 

A DAY AT NATURE WRITING 

6:30 - 7 :                Optional gentle morning yoga 

7:30 - 8:30 :         Breakfast 

10:30 - 12 :           Morning Writers Studio 

12:30 - 1 :              Lunch  

1 - 4 :                       One on one consults 

  Free / writing time

  Optional daily massage 

4:30 - 6 :               Afternoon Writers Studio 

6:30 - 7:30 :        Dinner 

PREPARATION. 

  1. Registered participants are invited to speak to the group about your writing project.  You’ll have 10 minutes each to talk about  your work.  For example, you may choose to talk about what you’re writing, why you’re writing this particular piece, how long you’ve been working on it,  what challenges  you are currently facing, or what you hope to achieve at this Retreat.  You may also use some of this time to read some of your work.

  2. Please send up to 5000 words (12pt font, double spaced, numbered pages with your name as footnote) for Inga to read before the retreat.  Only writing submitted by Monday 12th February will be read.

  3. As numbers for this retreat are strictly limited (6-12) registration forms and deposit/payments must be received before your place is secured.

ROOMS, PRICES AND ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation is allocated according to availability and your first preference at the time of booking. We have two private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, if this is your preference please book  early. If you choose to share we’ll pair you with a like-minded roommate, or bring a friend!

Please explore room options and descriptions here before booking.

$2,000* non-residential (includes all meals)

$2,500*pp shared room, shared bathroom:

(Avocado Room, Drover's Rest Rooms)

$3,000* private room, shared bathroom: 

(Avocado Room, Indigo Room, Drover's Rest Rooms, Farm House Rooms)

$3,000*pp shared room with private ensuite:

(Rose Room, Blue Room)

$3,500* private room with private ensuite:

(Rose Room, Blue Room)

*plus GST

contact us.

0400559715

Sheepwash Road, Avoca

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