Writing the Other In-Person Retreat @ Hollyhock

Writing the Other at Hollyhock

UPDATE MARCH 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic is making everything uncertain at the moment. As of now, we are still planning to hold the retreat if, come August, it’s deemed safe to do so. Hollyhock is reviewing the situation every 2 weeks right now and making decisions based on current guidelines and warnings. If you want to wait until the summer to decide on registering for the retreat, please do. Currently, Hollyhock has been offering refunds for spring sessions. Please contact them if you have questions about refunds for later sessions like ours:

  • Registration Desk – 1-800-933-6339 or registration@hollyhock.ca
  • Vancouver office – 1-604-661-4119

When: September 11 – 16, 2020
Where: Hollyhock Retreat and Learning Center, Cortes Island, British Columbia, Canada
Price: $1,150 – $1,190 / 5 nights. Includes tuition, room, all meals, and Hollyhock activities (depends on accommodation choice). Taxes and fees are additional.

Join Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford for a 5 day immersion into writing diverse characters and creating inclusive worlds on beautiful Cortes Island. This in-person workshop includes lectures, discussions, hands-on writing exercises (with feedback), and one-on-one time with Nisi and Tempest.

Workshop Description

Representation is fundamental to writing great fiction. Creating characters that reflect of the diversity of the world we all live in is important for all writers and creators of fictional narratives. But writers often find it difficult to represent people whose identities are very different from their own. This can lead to fear of getting it wrong — horribly, offensively wrong — and, in the face of that, some think it’s better to not even try.

In truth, it is possible to write characters who represent the “Other” sensitively and convincingly. In this 5-day retreat authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford will cover:

  • Avoiding stereotypes and tropes in characterization
  • How to describe people from different backgrounds
  • Building inclusive worlds
  • Research
  • And more

The workshop is appropriate for all writers (fiction, plays, graphic novels, screenplays, and games included) from all backgrounds and any skill level. You need an interest in writing, but you do not need to have published anything yet.


The spaces at Hollyhock should be accessible to those with mobility disabilities, though if you have concerns about access, please contact them directly. If you have other accessibility concerns, please contact us. 

Scholarship Opportunities

Partial scholarships are available through Hollyhock. A $195 refundable deposit is required. Some full scholarships may be available. The scholarships cover tuition and board, though not travel. Please apply within the registration form.