Summer in Granada, Andalucía, Spain Writing Retreat (July 28-Aug 5, 2016)

granada2016posterJoin the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop on our summer writing retreat to the cultural oasis of Granada, Spain. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. Work on your existing manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.

The retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors & editors to hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects. Our Andalucían writing retreat will take place from July 28-August 5, 2015, and the cost of the workshop is $3950, which includes lodging and breakfast, a tapas tour of Granada, craft of writing seminars, and writing workshops.

The retreat will be held at the Hotel Guadalupe (Paseo de la Sabica, 30, 18009 Granada, Spain). Faculty includes Alexander Chee (fiction), Frederick-Douglass Knowles II (poetry, performance), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), and Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction).


In addition to workshops and lessons, participants can opt-in for daily yoga lessons, which help soothe the mind and body by creating opportunities for personal exploration and inspiration. Please note that this yoga/meditation opt-in will only be added to the writing retreat by popular demand (if enough writing retreat participants sign up for it). Taught by CWW’s very talented yoga instructor Elissa Lewis, our yoga classes focus on both the structural and spiritual and can be personalized according to any physical demands you may have.

If you’d like to join us in Granada, please apply online at by May 30, 2016, and include a $5 application screening fee, along with a writing sample of either five pages of poetry or ten pages of prose. (Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged, but check for rolling admission after deadline, depending on availability).

applyDeadline: May 30, 2016

Featured Faculty:


Alexander Chee is the author of the national bestseller, The Queen of the Night, published in February of 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Edinburgh. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, an editor at large at VQR and The Lit Hub, and a critic at large for The Los Angeles Times. His essays and stories have appeared in Best American Essays 2016, The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He is winner of the Whiting Award, and fellowships from the NEA and the MCCA, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He teaches Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.

Frederick-Douglass Knowles IIFDK is a poet, educator and activist involved in community education and the performing arts. He has competed on two National Poetry Slam Teams and served as the 2011 Connecticut Slam Team coach. His works have been featured in Poems on the Road to Peace: A Collective Tribute to Dr. King Volume 2Peabody Museum of Natural History by Yale University Press, The East Haddam Stage Company of Connecticut, The 13th Annual Acacia Group Conference at California State University, Folio –a Southern Connecticut State University literary magazine, Lefoko –a Botswana, Southern Africa Hip-Hop magazine and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora by Third World Press. Frederick-Douglass is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Three Rivers Community College where he infuses English Composition with social injustice.

RitaBanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and the newly appointed Executive Director of Kundiman. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali (Spider Road Press), is forthcoming in October 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel and book of lyric essays.

DianaNormaDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. 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. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Szokolyai’s work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Fiction Project, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. Szokolyai earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut, while she completed coursework at the Sorbonne and research on Romani writers in Paris. She is currently at work on three books and recording an album of poetry & music.

Class Descriptions:

Historical Fiction I, II, III (with Alexander Chee)
War and Peace holds a strange place in literary history, participating in the crowning of realism as a substantial and serious literary mode in America, even as the novel also contributed to the argument that historical fiction could be by nature dangerous, illegitimate, and inaccurate. This is the reason historical fiction is sometimes reviewed by historians, who may evaluate the novel for how much it has gotten right, instead of for its literary merit—as if the only thing for a historical novel to do is to authentically replicate the past. In this class, we will explore what historical fiction is and how to write it.

The Socio-Political Power of Hip-Hop: Tupac Shakur “Martyr or Menace?”
(with Frederick-Douglass Knowles II)
This class examines the poetry and musical works of the late Tupac Shakur in order to delineate the role of social responsibility in Hip-Hop culture. The class will explore the historical significance of Hip-Hop culture and the social injustices affecting urban youth in the late 20th century. In the midst of social activism for the liberation of urban youth –Shakur’s T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. philosophy— and his identity struggle as the progeny of a Black Panther Political Party member, in addition to being a young, black male in 20th century America, Shakur’s turbulent, dichotomous lifestyle drove him to a prophetic demise, immersed in a narrative of pseudo-depicted tales of poverty and violence. The class will analyze the life and works of American icon –Tupac Shakur in order to compose poetry that raises awareness surrounding social injustice.

Poetry & What’s at Stake (with Rita Banerjee)
“What’s at stake” reveals how and why a poem is being told. What’s at Stake builds urgency, conflict, and pivotal turns within a lyrical or narrative poem, and drives engagement. It reveals what’s on the line for the speaker and the reader in terms of personal, emotional, psychological, physical, social, and political investments. In this class will read work by poets such as Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, Jamaal May, and Ocean Vuong, and will explore how writers and readers become more invested in a poem, its performance, and its narrative by raising the stakes.

Emotion & Suspense in Theatre, Poetry and (Non)fiction: (with Rita Banerjee)
Plato argues that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.  And before staging Kalidasa’s The Recognition of Śākuntalā, the director challenges his actress-lover: “As though in a painting, the entire audience has had their emotion colored through your melody.  So now—what shall we perform to sustain the mood?”  In this class, we will explore how creating vivid emotional worlds between characters and within storylines can build suspense, sustain drama, and lure the reader deeper in.

Revision & Publication (with Rita Banerjee & Diana Norma Szokolyai)
In this class, we will explore techniques for revisions, effective methods for submitting work, resources for publication, and of course, post-publication escapades.

The Evocative Poetry of Flamenco (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)
In this class, we will explore the fantastically concise and heel-to-floor transmission of passion through the lyrics of flamenco music. Packed with intense rhythms, rhymes, and imagery to match the intensity of the music, flamenco songs are a form of poetry developed by Romani people to express the deepest human experiences of love, death, and oppression. We will examine symbols and structures in the poetry of flamenco, learning the distinctions between siguiriya, tango, playera, soleá, and carcelera. Complementary to the class, we will visit an authentic flamenco performance and get a tour of the Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte, where Romani people have traditionally lived in cave dwellings and practiced the art of flamenco.


What happens after I apply?

Once you apply, you can expect to hear from us within 7-10 days and know whether you were accepted into the program. Once you are accepted, you will receive a welcome packet with detailed information regarding the program.

What is the process of paying tuition?

Once you are accepted into the program, you will need to pay a 30% tuition deposit ($1,185) to hold your seat within 3-5 days of acceptance but not later than April 1, 2016.  This amount is non-refundable.  The remainder of tuition ($2,765) will be due by April 15, 2016.  Our standard and preferred method of payment is PayPal invoice.  You can also mail us a check.  The deposit is non-refundable.

What is included in tuition?

  • creative writing workshops
  • craft of writing seminars
  • manuscript consultation
  • daily breakfasts
  • room cleaning and lodging in Granada, Spain
  • orientation & tapas tour of Granada, Spain

* Are there any scholarships or discounts for the summer program?

For writers who have inquired about scholarships and discounts for our summer programs, we are offering the following discount options. This year, writers can also enjoy the full retreat program for $2950 with a shared lodging option. Writers can also attend the program for a retreat & manuscript consultation-only option (with private room) for $2150. Both options include breakfast.

How do I get to and from Granada?

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is here to guide you through flights and other transportation. Please feel free to contact us regarding flights departing from your location and other travel information.

What are the accommodations like?