Cultivate: A writing retreat
22-25 November 2019 with Jesse Blackadder
Cultivate: promote or improve growth by labour and attention, develop by education or training, prepare and work on, foster, till, refine.
Our focus
A creative writing retreat from 22-25 November 2019 with award-winning novelist Jesse Blackadder that will give you the skills and confidence to turn your story idea into something remarkable.
Jesse says:
"Every story begins with a seed. An old photograph that engraves itself on your memory. Words from a long dead poet. An event in your distant childhood. A news story you can't forget. A family story that keeps being retold...

"But a seed isn't a tree and an idea isn't a story. The joy, and work, and the craft of writing comes from cultivating and nourishing an idea so it grows.

"At this retreat, we'll explore how to take the seed of an idea and develop it into a compelling narrative. Examining the structures that underpin successful books and stories, I will help you apply their principles to your own writing in original and exciting ways. Hands on exercises will help you find the best structure for your work, create memorable characters and vivid worlds, and polish your words and sentences until they glow.

"I will spend 20 minutes individual time with every participant during the workshop, giving you personal feedback on a sample of writing sent beforehand.

"I look forward to hearing about the idea that just won't leave you alone…"

- Jesse Blackadder, Doctor of Creative Arts
Book now to avoid disappointment
With only 11 spaces available, this retreat will sell out!
Antarctic Arts Fellowship winner
Since she led her first Write Across New Zealand retreat in May 2018, Jesse Blackadder has spent five months on the world's most remote writing retreat, after being awarded the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship for the second time.

"For those living and working in the world's last great wilderness, words and language are critical to survival. But amid this new vocabulary of Antarctic life, the bigger things – the staggering beauty, danger and immense isolation – are harder to put into words," writes Jesse, in an essay titled 'A Language for Antarctica: Summer at Mawson' for one Australia's most lively and entertaining cultural magazines, Kill Your Darlings. Read more here.
Before the 2018 retreat, Jesse spoke about the inspiration for her writing, and some of the wisdom she would be sharing on the retreat, on Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand on March 15, 2018. Listen online here.
Our inspiring venue
Appleby House and Rabbit Island Huts are situated on 25 acres of Waimea Plains land, located only half an hour's drive from central Nelson, between Richmond and Mapua on the way to the Abel Tasman National Park. This peaceful rural setting with 360 degree views of the Richmond Ranges and the Waimea Estuary and only a short drive to the long golden beaches on Rabbit Island is the ideal place to get your creative juices flowing. Join us here from 22-25 November 2019.

Find out more about our awe-inspiring location.

Find out more how to get to the retreat.
Your space to write
Retreat schedule for 22-25 November 2019
Friday, 22 November
16:00 - Arrive and settle in
17:00 - Welcome/Mihimihi
17:30 - Yoga Nidra (45 mins)
19:00 - Dinner
20:30 - Writing session 1
21:30 - Free time
Saturday, 23 November
07:00 - Yoga (1 hr)
08:00 - Breakfast
10:00 - Writing workshop (2 hrs)
13:00 - Lunch
14:00 - Writing workshop (1.5 hrs)
17:00 - Yoga nidra (45 mins)
19:00 - Dinnner
20:30 - Writing session 2 (optional)
21:30 - Free time
Sunday, 24 November
07:00 - Yoga (1 hr)
08:00 - Breakfast
10:00 - Writing workshop (2 hrs)
13:00 - Lunch
14:00 - Writing workshop (1.5 hrs)
17:00 - Yoga nidra (45 mins)
19:00 - Dinnner
20:30 - Reading/sharing
22:00 - Free time
Monday, 25 November
07:00 - Writing session 3
08:00 - Breakfast
09:00 - Pack up/check-out of rooms
10:00 - Reflections and farewells
11:00 - Depart
Scrumptious meals by Food Forest Catering
Food Forest Catering will provide nourishing and delectable meals - all created with gluten-free and organic ingredients from head chef Chloe Keylock's family land, a diverse permaculture farm in the Lud Valley north of Nelson.

Follow Chloe on Instagram
Your investment
Your investment starts at only $850 for the retreat. This includes three nights' accommodation, all meals, tea and plunger coffee, all writing tuition and yoga classes. There are a range of accommodation options. Choose your preferred style of accommodation below.
Standard private room in Appleby House
1 (of 2) still available
  • Three nights accommodation in private room with queen bed
  • All linen and towels provided
  • Shared bathroom
Book now
Private hut/glamping tent
2 (of 4) still available
  • Three nights accommodation in one of three private huts or the deluxe glamping tent
  • Queen bed, quality linen and furnishings
  • In-room heating
  • Access to two shared bathrooms only a short walk away (share with only one other participant)
Book now
Deluxe private room in Appleby House
2 available
  • Three nights accommodation in large private room with queen bed
  • All linen and towels provided
  • Shared bathroom
Book now
Private ensuite hut
  • Three nights accommodation
  • Private hut with queen bed, quality linen and furnishings
  • In-room heating
  • Ensuite bathroom
Book now
A 30 per cent deposit must be paid within five business days of booking to secure your place. The balance must be paid 21 days before the retreat.

Cancellation policy: If Write Across New Zealand cancels the event for any reason, you will receive a full refund. If you cancel your booking anytime at least one month (31 days) before the retreat, your deposit (and full payment if already made) will be refunded. If you cancel less than 21 days before the event, you will receive a refund less the 30 per cent deposit. If you cancel anytime after 14 days before the event, no refund will be possible unless your position is filled by someone else.
Kerry Sunderland, Noa Parker and Jesse Blackadder at the Plant the Seed retreat in 2018