Writers of the Far South Coast

Winter Writers Retreat

Warm up your writing this Winter

20th - 22nd July @ Kianinny Bush Cottages, Tathra NSW

Past years:      2015     2016      2017

     (02) 6448 9948

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Media Release WFSC's 2018 Winter Writers Retreat

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Media Release

Winter Writers Retreat 2018
Organised by Writers of the Far South Coast
20th – 22nd July 2018 @ Kianinny Bush Cottages, Tathra NSW

(381 words)

Now in its fourth year, don’t you think it’s your turn to discover our Winter Writers Retreat? By the end of the weekend, with the help of our mentors, you’ll be inspired, motivated and maybe even have that next chapter. The combined creativity gathered in the tranquil bush setting around Kianinny Bush Cottages is nurtured by removing the daily grind of responsibilities while building a community of like-minded folk over bottomless cups of tea and coffee beside cosy wood fires.

For $275, the Writers of the Far South Coast are inviting authors from all over Australia to join us at our affordable, productive and awesome weekend. For the best retreat experience, you’ll be placed in your own room in a cabin shared with another writer.

Friday night’s welcome dinner is a grand affair, with professional catering by Andrea at Fresh Daily Dinners (who will also provide Saturday’s lunch). Early in the evening, our mentors will pitch their genres, skills and mentoring style to you: Paula Boer, Chris Andrews and Rae Luckie. Join the group led by the mentor that suits your genre and style of writing best. The following evening, hungry writers will be bussed into Tathra to descend on the local bowling club to feast with their newly-found friends.

The retreat gets better every year. In 2018, we will award a free LED torch to anyone who can find a mobile phone signal in the foreboding, dark wilderness on the outskirts of Tathra, while keeping the possums from raiding their cabin for leftover cake. We like those moments of haphazard happiness and when we ask our attendees what it is they liked best about the weekend, they tell us with enthusiasm.

"For me it was the chance to get away from the interruptions that writing from home attracts. Here it was no cooking, no housework, and then I could emerge from my 'writing cave' and socialise with a group of interesting people."

"Valuable critique feedback from my mentor - personal time away, allowing me to concentrate/relax only working on my book. Had the best sleep for months!"

"Concentrating on writing away from distractions. It was very satisfying helping writers sort problems with their writing and stretching some in new directions."

Will you be joining us around the fire this winter?

Thank you to the following people and organisations for helping to promote our retreat

About the Winter Writers Retreat

Now in its fourth year, it’s your turn to discover our Winter Writers Retreat. By the end of the weekend, with the help of our mentors, you’ll be inspired, motivated and maybe have that next chapter.

The combined creativity gathered in this tranquil bush setting is nurtured by removing the daily grind of responsibilities while building a community of like-minded folk over bottomless cups of tea and coffee beside cosy wood fires.

Only $275 for an affordable, productive and awesome weekend.

Price includes:

  • Your own room in a shared cabin with another writer
  • Two mentoring sessions
  • The welcome dinner on Friday night
  • Lunch on Saturday
  • An LED torch
  • Your own WFSC pen
  • Morning and afternoon tea + snacks
  • Bottomless cups of tea and coffee

When you arrive on Friday afternoon, you'll be greeted by someone from the WFSC that will show you to your cabin and introduce you to your cabin-mate

Once you're settled, wander back to the common room because Friday night's welcome dinner is a grand affair. Our mentors will pitch their genres, skills and mentoring style. Throughout the rest of the evening you can join the group led by the mentor that suits your writing best. Be quick, spots fill up fast.

A tin will be set up in the common room to accept donations towards the Tathra Bushfire relief effort. If you wish to make larger donations please visit the Bega Valley Shire Council website.

On Saturday night, you'll be asked to join us for dinner at the pub to support the local town of Tathra. A courtesy bus will be made available.

All linen is provided by Kianinny. Each 2-bedroom cabin contains a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, full sized fridge and cook top; reverse cycle air conditioning, Austar, DVD player, comfy couches and a log fire. Firewood can be purchased from Kianinny at $12/crate. Internet access is available in the common room. We're sorry, but phone reception is a bit shoddy around Tathra.

Bring with you:

  • Your writing
  • Your own breakfast for Saturday and Sunday mornings
  • A cake or slice to share with everyone for morning and afternoon tea
  • Warm clothes and decent shoes
  • A litle bit of cash for:
    • Dinner on Saturday
    • Purchasing firewood
    • Buying books by local authors
    • etc...
  • And... if you're so inclined, your own alcoholic beverages

A shared cabin is recommended for the best retreat experience, but if you wish to stay in your own cabin or are bringing a guest or if you plan to stay longer than the weekend, please purchase the "No Cabin" ticket and arrange your own accommodation directly with Kianinny Bush Cottages: http://kianinny.com.au

Please let us know in advance when booking your ticket if you have any food allergies or dietary requirements.

Please note: all activities are optional.

If you run into problems at the retreat, please talk to one of the organisers or the staff at reception.

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At the welcome dinner on Friday night, our mentors will pitch their genres, skills and mentoring style. Throughout the rest of the evening you can join the group led by the mentor that suits your writing best. Be quick, spots fill up fast.

There will be two 1.5 hour sessions with your mentor:

  • 9:30am - 11:00am, Saturday 21st July
  • 9:30am - 11:00am, Sunday 22nd July

Meet in the common room on Saturday morning to meet up with your group and mentor and be taken away to a quiet secluded spot somewhere around Kianinny to be inspired.

Mentor - Paula Boer

Paula Boer

A mentor at every retreat, her style of mentoring is so well-loved she has a standing invitation. Paula will be back in September to provide structural edit suggestions for your manuscripts. She is currently working on a fantasy trilogy set in a horse-dominated world, complete with unicorns and dragons.

Read more about Paula's fictional horses...


Paula Boer started her lifelong love of horses when she first rode a pony on a ranch in Canada, aged 7. On moving to England at age 9, she commenced weekly riding lessons and became hooked. Her horse infatuation led to Paula’s bedroom being filled with toy stables, posters of golden stallions, horse gear and, of course, horse books. Her books included non-fiction works as well as novels, most notably Elyne Mitchell’s The Silver Brumby series.

Paula’s own writing career started at school where she wrote a story from the horse’s perspective for her final English exam. Combining her love of horses with her passion for travel, she raced the native horses in Mongolia, climbed the heights of Colombia on horseback, and competed in Endurance rides around Australia. She claims the best way to experience a country is from the back of a horse.

Although not always on horseback, Paula has travelled in sixty countries on six continents. After retiring from the hectic life of computer consultancy, she wrote her first novel, The Okapi Promise, based on her adventures in Africa in 1990. This fictional memoir was published by IFWG Publishing in November 2010.

From her own experiences of catching and breaking in brumbies, Paula decided to set her next novel in the Snowy Mountains of Australia where she lives. The Brumbies series was created, with the first book of five becoming an Amazon ‘Best Seller’ in 2012. The final, Brumbies in the Mountains, was published in January 2015.

Mentor - Chris Andrews

Chris Andrews

Saving the WFSC's bacon at the last minute in 2017, Chris dropped everything and came down to be a mentor. He's back by official invitation after navigating the many hurdles in the publishing world to launch his first novel "Divine Prey"

Read more about Chris' publishing struggle...

Buy "Divine Prey" on Amazon™

Chris Andrews began his writing career when he boldly and ignorantly announced he could write awesome stories (he was ridiculously young at the time).

In pursuit of his dreams he studied the craft of writing, joined the ACT Writers Centre and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (where he established the Novel Writers Group and ran the Novel Critique group for several years), wrote novels and published short stories, edited a short story collection called Machinations: An Anthology Of Ingenious Designs, and began teaching fiction writing at conventions, local writers centres, and public institutions.

His first novel, Divine Prey, was accepted by an agent and then by a publisher. The publisher unfortunately folded during the publishing process and the agent quit the business at the same time. He has learned a lot about self-publishing since then. You can read the first seven chapters of Divine Prey on his blog.

Chris currently runs Creative Manuscript Services, and is running several workshops in the near future.

Mentor - Rae Luckie

Dr Rae Luckie

Rae was also a mentor at last year's retreat, and brings her unique and sought after techniques, that focus on non-fiction, to share with you. She recently presented a 4-week course at Narooma on life-writing and memoirs.

Read more about Rae's mentoring...


Rae Luckie is an experienced facilitator of community writing workshops and projects in the field of creative writing/lifewriting (memoir, autobiography, biography, family history) and history/historical fiction.

Rae is passionate about preserving life stories for future generations, and has facilitated major projects for the Broken Hill Writers’ Centre; Kiama Municipal Council; Mosman Council Library; the Department of Planning and the Sutherland Shire Council. She has facilitated workshops at community centres, libraries, writers’ centres and writing festivals in Canberra, Sydney and Wollongong as well as country NSW including Young, Orange, Moree, Port Macquarie, Batemans Bay and the far south coast. Rae was a mentor at the 2017 Writers of the Far South Coast Retreat.

Rae has mentored writers including Christine Maher Richard Brooks, From Convict Ship Captain to Pillar of Early Colonial Australia (biography); Deb Hunt Love in the Outback (memoir); Dr Ted Freeman Doctor in Vanuatu (memoir); Carol Preston Suzannah’s Gold (historical fiction); Geraldine Fennell Dandelion in the Wind (autobiography); Alastair Stewart Somersaults in the Sand (memoir); and Cathy Koning Dainty Diva, (a biography of Australian soprano Dorothy Rudder).

Interested in all genres of writing including poetry, her published works include ‘Writing through Grief’ in Stories of Complicated Grief; ‘Among my Souvenirs’ in Best Australian Stories 2004; ‘The Prolapse’ in Illness in the Academy; ‘Love Began…’ in What is Mother Love?; and ‘It Might Come in Handy One Day’ in The Complete Blokes and Sheds.

Getting here

The Winter Writers Retreat run by the Writers of the Far South Coast (WFSC) is held each year in the Bega Valley on the Far South Coast of NSW near the Victorian border. This year, the retreat will again be held just outside Tathra at Kianinny Bush Cottages http://kianinny.com.au

The Bega Valley is located:

  • 8 hours from Sydney
  • 8 hours from Melbourne
  • 2.5 hours from Canberra

If you'd prefer not to drive to the retreat:

  • Rex Airlines has flights from Sydney and Melbourne arriving daily in Merimbula (20 minutes away)
  • Premier Motor Services has buses from Sydney that travel down the coast and stop in Bega (10 minutes away)
  • Translink has buses from Canberra that stop in Bega
  • Public Transport Victoria has trains from Melbourne to Bairnsdale
    and... V-Line has buses from Bairnsdale to Bega

If you let us know in advance, someone from the WFSC can pick you up from the airport or bus stop.

You won't be able to see Google Maps.

Tathra Bushfire

There were no lives lost during the Tathra bushfire despite so much going wrong to get the word out. Everyone knows that Tathra is a mobile phone reception blackspot - an alert system is only as good as the infrastructure it uses. Many homes and businesses were destroyed and it could've been much worse but for the wonderful NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the local residents who stayed behind. The Writers of the Far South Coast implores any writers and artists needing assistance getting back on their feet to visit South East Arts.

Many politicians visited the evacuated residents at the Bega showground and brought their intrusive media circus with them. The most accurate and timely information, however, came from our well-known local journalists Ben Smyth with his team at Bega District News and Ian Campbell at About Regional, because they understand how to balance respect for privacy in a time of loss with the public's intense urgency to hear news about family, friends, acquaintances and the town of Tathra itself.

Volunteer organisations were overwhelmed by community generosity while providing food, clothing, toiletries, mobile phone chargers, places to sleep, and a caring shoulder - the Bega Valley Shire Council is now respectfully asking for monetary donations and your support at Band Together - Tathra Bushfire Relief Concert in May.

Let it be known to all that Tathra, NSW is open for business. The WFSC is sticking by its plans to hold the WFSC Winter Writers Retreat from 20th-22nd July at Tathra's Kianinny Bush Cottages, which escaped the fire's devastation.

It's a long road ahead and I'm glad to be woken at nights, not by sirens, but by the rain.

Tathra 2018 Bushfire

Read more about the fires (links open in a new window):

Map of Kianinny Bush Cottages

Poster of WFSC's 2018 Winter Writers Retreat

Photos from Previous Retreats

2015 - 2016 - 2017