TRUE LIFE STORIES
with Dr Kate Forsyth & Belinda Murrell
October 27 - November 2, 2023.
LEARN HOW TO TRANSFORM TRUE LIFE INTO COMPELLING STORIES
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
Dr Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell are celebrated authors who also happen to be sisters. They come from a long line of writers, stretching back more than two hundred years. With more than 80 books published between them, their work encompasses historical fiction for both adults and children, as well creative non-fiction, personal essays, and many other genres. Their latest book, Searching for Charlotte, is a collaborative bibliomemoir/biography which charts their journey to discover the truth of the dramatic life of their great-great-great-great-grandmother Charlotte Waring Atkinson who wrote Australia’s first children’s book in 1841.
In this in-depth and intensive writing retreat, Kate and Belinda will teach you the art of personal storytelling while drawing upon real life in your creative work. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, memoir or autobiography, this retreat will give you the tools you need to write with authority and authenticity.
Image is original artwork by Charlotte Atkinson
‘All art is autobiographical’ - Federico Fellini
The daily writing workshops will impart essential techniques such as character, research, voice, and the creation of the world of your story. We will consider the reasons why you might wish to draw upon your own or other people’s lives, as well as some of the dilemmas and dangers. Our class will discuss the importance of courage, truthfulness, compassion, and the personal interrogation of memory and motivations.
The program includes time and space for you to write as well as one-on-one sessions with both Kate and Belinda, and a day out in the glorious landscape of the Southern Highlands.
Morning workshops and group discussions will explore character, research and setting, voice and point-of-view, story structure, and the ethics of drawing upon the lives of real people, whether living or dead.
Afternoons will be free for you to rest, read, write, think, daydream and explore, plus a half-hour one-on-one consultation with both Kate and Belinda .
We will enjoy one day’s break from workshopping, with a field excursion into the beautiful Southern Highlands to inspire you and enrich your stay.
Evening salons before dinner each night will include readings of your own work, discussions regarding problems and fears, and sharing our exciting new discoveries and epiphanies.
The final day’s workshop will discuss the writer’s life – how to write with joy and creative rigour, how to find the right publishing model for you, and how to build a sustainable career.
One-on-one consultation with both Kate & Belinda
Afternoons free to rest, read, write, think, daydream and explore
Excursion into the beautiful Southern Highlands
An opportunity to present and discuss your current project
The option to do readings
Time to truly slow down and sink in to your writing in a beautiful country setting
Cosy open fires
Nourishment of organic farm to table meals made with fresh produce straight from our very own veggie gardens. Vegetarian and vegan options.
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 and aspiring writers at all levels, whether interested in travel writing, memoir, fiction, narrative non-fiction, short pieces or book-length projects. Previous publication is not a requirement.
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.
Meet The Authors
Dr Kate Forsyth
Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell are both award-winning and internationally bestselling authors, and sisters, descended from a family of writers, going back more than 200 years. Together they have written Searching for Charlotte – the bibliomemoir/biography of their great-great-great- great grandmother Charlotte Waring Atkinson, who wrote the first children’s book published in Australia in 1841. From the age of seven or eight, both sisters wrote stories, novels, plays and poems in hand-illustrated exercise books, and began to be published in their 20s, working as journalists, editors and later novelists. Between the two of them, they have written 80 books. Their brother Nick Humphrey is also a best-selling author of more than 10 books.
Dr Kate Forsyth is an internationally bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist. She has won many awards, including the 2015 American Library Association award for Best Historical Fiction for her novel Bitter Greens; the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism for her doctoral exegesis, The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower; and a silver medal in the 2018 US Readers Favorite book awards for Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women. Kate was awarded the prestigious Nancy Keesing Fellowship by the State Library of NSW to research and write Searching for Charlotte. Kate has a BA in literature, a MA in creative writing and a Doctorate of Creative Arts, and is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers. Her books have been translated into 20 languages. Kate’s website is www.kateforsyth.com.au
Belinda Murrell has worked as a journalist, technical writer, and public relations consultant, writing for newspapers and magazines around Australia. Her overseas adventures inspired her work as a travel writer for the West Australian newspaper and Out & About With Kids magazine. Belinda is the best-selling, internationally published author of 35 books, including her popular Lulu Bell and Pippa’s Island series for younger readers. She is also known for her historical novels including The Lost Sapphire, The River Charm, The Locket of Dreams, The Forgotten Pearl, The Ruby Talisman and The Ivory Rose. Her books have been recognised by many awards, including Honour Book KOALAS 2013, shortlisted nine times in the Young Australian Best Book Award (YABBA), CBCA Notable List, and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards. Her books have been translated into Czech, Turkish, Afrikaans and Portuguese. Belinda’s website is www.belindamurrell.com.au
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. This retreat includes optional sessions of morning yoga, nature hikes, foraging and gardening, and hands on creative exercises. 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 take a break mid-week to refresh and enjoy a local excursion. You can use your free time each day to go even deeper into your writing, or take a break and 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 SPINGFIELD's WRITING RETREAT
7:30 - 8:30 Optional gentle morning yoga
8:30 - 9:30 Breakfast
9:30 - 12:30 Morning Writers Studio exploring ideas of belonging and place in the creative process
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:00 - 2 :30 One-on-one consults
12:30 - 4:30 Free / writing time
12:30 - 4:30 Optional daily massage
5:00 - 6:30 Evening Salon
Read what our past guests have had to say
“This week at Springfield has been a joy. The atmosphere of calm generosity gives you a way to approach your writing that is similarly kind. Gentle Magic.”
Belinda Castles, Sydney
Read more of what our past guests have had to say here.
Registered participants are invited to speak to the group about your writing project. 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 will also have an opportunity to read from your work.
Beauty in Thorns – Kate Forsyth
The River Charm – Belinda Murrell
Searching for Charlotte – Kate Forsyth & Belinda Murrell
‘Fuddling Up My Mucking Words Again’ – Kate Forsyth, Good Weekend
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. This retreat is an intimate group size of 8 guests only.
Please explore room options and descriptions here before booking.
$3,500* non-residential (includes all meals)
$3,900* private room, shared bathroom:
(Avocado Room, Indigo Room, Drover's Rest Rooms, Farm House Rooms)
$4,200* private room with private ensuite:
(Rose Room, Blue Room)