Retreat Details

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The 2017 Rural Writers in Residence Retreat will run from the evening of April 27th (Thursday) through lunch on April 30 (Sunday).

Featured presenters

Our presenters this year (in no particular order) are:

Krystal Yee


Krystal Yee has been a freelance writer and blogger for over 10 years. By utilizing social media platforms and her blog to create an online brand and presence, she has been able to turn her passion for writing into a successful career. Krystal is also the co-author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing for Canadians, and founded the Canadian Personal Finance Conference held annually in Toronto.

For more, see:

Elee Kraljii Gardiner

elee-kraljii-gardiner-bw-photo-credit-paul-josephElee Kraljii Gardiner is the author of the book of poems serpentine loop (Anvil Press), one of 2016’s “most anticipated spring releases” in Canada. She is the co-editor with John Asfour of V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2012), which was shortlisted for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award and her second book of poems, Tunica Intima (forthcoming 2018), has already been shortlisted for the Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Elee founded Thursdays Writing Collective , a non-profit organization of more than 150 writers in Vancouver and she is the editor and published of its eight anthologies. She is originally from Boston and is a dual US/Canadian citizen.

Elee’s efforts to foster writers earned the 2015 Pandora’s Collective BC Writer Mentor Award.

Elee’s writing is published in places including TCR, Event, Prism International,, Harvard Medicine Journal, and several anthologies such as ForceField (Mother Tongue), Walk Myself Home (Caitlin Press), Enpipe Line (Creekstone), Alive at the Centre (Ooligan Press) and forthcoming Ghost Fishing (Split This Rock). Her poetry won CV2’s Lina Chartrand Award in 2011 and in 2014 was a finalist for Malahat’s Far Horizons Prize and in 2015 for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Note: The name is not as tricky as it looks! Pronounce it (“Elly Kral-jee Gardner”)

Jane Stevenson

janeJane Stevenson is a northern BC history aficionado who artfully weaves history into many of her works, which include books as well as short stories. Jane has been writing since she could hold a pencil and her various works have received nods from a variety of literary critics and organizations.

Jane’s Sunday-morning workshop will be on Writing Short Fiction.


Each of our presenters will give a morning workshop for the whole group. Elee and Krystal will work with a small group interested in their speciality for two hours each in the afternoon on Friday and Saturday.

Krystal’s afternoon workshop will focus on detailing how to create an online presence that brings your work to a wider audience and generates income. She will also work with individuals or small groups to look at their specific projects.

Elee’s afternoon workshop will be called Working with Reversals. We can articulate what is by concerning ourselves with what it is not: great poems can be seeded with thoughts of opposition, rejection, and resistance that do not appear in the finished poem. In this supportive space of enquiry, we’ll learn how to make familiar language associative and complicating. We’ll create poems we did not recognize as being close at hand, poems that may be light and laughter-filled, or perhaps dark. Bring a favourite pen and lots of paper.

Other special stuff

In the morning before breakfast you’ll have a choice of yoga or a morning writing time, or nothing at all!

On Friday and Saturday, the morning session will be a workshop for the entire group by one of our featured presenters. Afternoon will see break out into small group sessions with the presenters based on participants’ areas of interest — followed by a choice of interesting small workshops (or personal time) until dinner. In the evenings…

  • Thursday evening: Welcome and introductions
  • Friday evening: Beer Tasting with local brewer Glen Ingram
  • Saturday evening: Rural Ramblings — Readings from the rural writers in residence. All writers at the retreat may read! The public will be invited.

The late afternoon workshops will include:

  • Query Writing with Amanda Follett. Join freelance writer Amanda Follett Hosgood for a discussion on writing compelling query letters that will grab the attention of magazine editors. We will talk about finding story ideas, defining your angle, choosing a publication and crafting your pitch, along with other aspects of freelance writing. At the second session, participants will have the opportunity to share a draft query letter with the group.
  • A movement workshop with Miriam Colvin

Also please note that Editor-in-residence Paul Glover will be available Saturday afternoon to go through your work with you and make suggestions. Paul is a writer and editor who has lived most of his life in northwest BC.  As former editor of Northword Magazine for more than seven years, he has come to know many northern writers through their writing and correspondence, if not in person.  While Paul is a down-to-earth kind of guy, and easy-going about writing styles, he is fussy about the elements that make a good story or article.

Massage and Acupressure

In previous years we have had massage available during the retreat (for an extra fee). This year you will have the option of massage one day (Layna) and acupressure on the other (Julie Chaplin).

Layna Pflugbeil is ITEC (International Therapist’s Examination Council) trained in Ireland and has 4 yearsof experience in spas and operating her own mobile business in Smithers, Neat Hands and Feet. She can offer…

  • Relaxation Massages: $30 for 30 minutes; $55 for 60 minutes; $90 for 100 minute (full-body) Traditional Swedish massage techniques; can focus on your problem areas!
  • Reflexology: $25 for 30 minutes; $45 for 60 minutes. Using fingers, therapist presses on pressure points on your feet to promote relaxation and self-healing.

Julie Chaplin is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Five Elements Acupressure Practitioner. She facilitates workshops around the 5 Elements of Chinese Medicine as well as teaches Meditation for Beginner classes at The Yoga Loft. She is passionate about Acupressure and the 5 Elements and loves sharing her knowledge.

Acupressure Rates: $30 for 30 minutes, $60 for 60 min and $90 for 90 minutes.

Food and accommodation

The retreat will be at the Banner Mountain Lodge, about 15 minutes outside of Smithers, BC. (See their website at Your retreat fees cover lunches and dinners, but you should bring your own breakfast supplies (kitchens will be available).

Download the daily Schedule