Schedule for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2023 Paris Writing Retreat Announced! – Apply by June 1, 2023

We are delighted to announce our 2023 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Paris Writing Retreat Schedule. Check out the schedule above and our exciting class descriptions below:

Surrealism in Paris and Beyond
(with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

In this class, we will look at the birth of the Surrealist Movement in Paris about 100 years ago and how it turned into an international artistic, intellectual and political movement. Sometimes, the best ideas come from conflict, and indeed, there were rival surrealist groups who both claimed to be continuing the revolutionary work initiated by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Why was this idea worth fighting over? What impact did it have on the world? We will explore the texts of the Surrealist Manifestos, as well as learn about key figures of the movement like André Breton, Yvan Goll, Dora Maar, Louis Aragon, Salvador Dalí, Tristan Tzara, René Magritte, Frida Kahlo, Pierre Reverdy, Méret Oppenheim and more. Since we will be staying in Montparnasse, where many writers and artists lived, we will have the unique opportunity to walk in their paths and visit cafés where they met and exchanged ideas. We’ll examine how surrealism is relevant today and read some contemporary writers who are inspired by surrealism, like Ada Limón and Adam McOmber. Writers will also try their hand at surrealist writing exercises meant to cross the bridges between dreams and reality and go beyond rational thought into the subconscious. Tip: I recommend reserving tickets for The Dalí Paris museum and the special 2023 immersive exhibition of Chagall at l’Atelier des Lumières if you want to continue to explore the world of surrealism during our stay in Paris.

Flâneurs, Essays, and Provocateurs
(with Rita Banerjee)

An essay is an attempt.  A trial. A test. In this class, we will explore how evocative essays are attempted and constructed.  We will explore how being a flâneur and an essayist are intimately combined. And we will study how essayists from Montaigne to James Baldwin to Lauren Elkin to Edmund White to David Shields to Yoko Tawada redefine the environment they inhabit and create a space for electric art.

What Makes a Memoir?
(with Rita Banerjee)

How do we write about the most significant moments of our lives with discernment, vulnerability, brevity, and style? What are the elements of a compelling, candid, and author-driven memoir? How can we make both the speakers and the characters introduced in a memoir more complex, human, and intriguing? In this class, we’ll explore how writers such as Richard Rodgriguez, Michelle Zauner, Mary Karr, Jo Ann Beard, Carmen Maria Machado, and others have created emotionally evocative, culturally specific, provocative, and accessible memoirs, and how we might find a way to map our lives and the characters who have formed them with honesty, nuance, and imagination on the page.

Writing the Moment through Food
(with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

Paris is a feast for the senses, and it’s especially known for its cuisine and variety of food markets. In this class, we will explore how we write about food. We will practice the art of bringing the senses to the page. I will share my process of writing about food for my poetry manuscript Five Feasts, which explores the ways in which food connects the poet to culture, place, and family history. Food is a way to understand a partially forgotten past, providing a map to ancestors through the senses. Food can connect us to place and transform space by evoking our memories. Food can mend and heal silenced and oppressed histories through the boldness of spices and magic of sauces melding in particular ways that empower identities. We’ll discuss the weight of conversations in kitchens, the ritual of food as gift, the terrain of what is unsaid around the table, and how food triggers memory. We’ll also discuss the work of poetry duo Adobo Fish Sauce as well Grace M. Cho’s Tastes Like War and more!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Paris Writing Retreat will be held from July 19-25, 2023 in the historic, literary Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris. Writers will reside at Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse (4 Avenue René Coty, 14th Arr., 75014, Paris, France).

The retreat features multi-genre writing and publishing workshops, craft of writing seminars, and generative writing sessions in a warm, welcoming, and collaborative atmosphere. Modeled after the French literary salon, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is known for its thought-provoking, inspiring, inclusive, and generative multi-genre workshop format. Participating writers will hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects.

There will also be time to explore the city of Paris in all of its historical, literary, and romantic charm. Situated in heart of Paris’ Montparnasse neighborhood, amongst the fresh and popular open air markets and charming boutiques, the hotel neighborhood is full of Parisian charm. Our classes will take place in the hotel meeting room, as well as a range of classes in the spirit of “flâneur” culture, set in the rich environment of literary cafés, museums, and other famous Parisian locations.

The faculty includes award-winning multi-genre authors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, who are known for their engaging and supportive teaching style.

The cost of the retreat is $4,500, which includes tuition for all workshops and classes in Paris, lodging, daily breakfast, special meals, and a trip to Versailles.

Using the online submission system, submit 5 to 10 pages of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, or literary translation with a $5 application fee by June 1, 2023. Early applications are encouraged as seats are limited and some scholarships are available. Submit to the scholarship application on our Submittable if seeking a scholarship in one of the following categories: diversity, parenthood, or student/educator.

If you’re serious about writing and want to soak in some exquisite French culture this summer, join our retreat in Paris!

Visit for an application and complete guidelines. All genres welcome. Please email or call 617-800-9901 for more information.

If you’d like to join us in Paris, please apply online by June 1, 2023, and include a $5 application screening fee and a 5-10 page writing sample of poetry, prose, drama, illustrated, or hybrid work.  Please also include the following in your cover letter:

1. Full Legal Name 

2. Contact Info (Telephone & Address) 

3. Age & Nationality (Participants should be 18+)

4. Prior creative writing experience and/ publications (not necessary) 

5. Creative writing goals for the retreat 

6. Short one paragraph biography 

7. Contact of Two Personal References (Name, Email, Address, Phone, Relationship to Applicant)

8. What would you bring to a writing workshop community? (communication skills, patience, listening skills, etc.)

Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged!


Rita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing.  She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats , which was named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps, and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night. She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre (2023), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and she she is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants among other awards.  Her writing appears in the Academy of American PoetsPoets & Writers, PANK, Tupelo Quarterly, Nat. Brut.Vermont Public Radio, Hunger Mountain, Kweli Journal, The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Objet d’Art, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a memoir and manifesto on female cool. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Her writing is represented by agent Jamie Chambliss of Folio Literary Management.

Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press on March 7, 2018.  She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers including David Krebs (US), Robert Lemay (Canada), Claudio Gabriele (Italy), Peter James (UK), Jason Haye (UK), and Sebastian Wesman (Estonia). Diana Norma is a founding member of the performing arts groups Sounds in Bloom, ChagallPAC, and The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble.  Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause, “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Her work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in VIDA: Reports from the Field, The Fiction Project, Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase QuarterlyThe Million Line Poem, The Cambridge Community Poem, and elsewhere, as well as anthologized in Our Last Walk, The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering, and Teachers as Writers.  She is currently at work on her next book and an album of poetry & music. Diana Norma holds a M.A. in French (UCONN, La Sorbonne) and an Ed.M in Arts in Education (Harvard).