Saint Leo University will host its eighth Sandhill Writers Retreat this year virtually on Saturday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with sessions and workshops held via Zoom. The daylong retreat offers sessions for writers of all experience levels with sessions and workshops that cover a wide variety of topics, conducted by prominent writers. Fees are set between $25 and $45, with additional charges for optional consultations or master classes.

Those attending the retreat and other members of the public are also invited to register to attend a free reading to be held Friday, May 14, at 7 p.m., over Zoom, featuring celebrated veteran-author Brian Turner of Orlando.

The Sandhill Writers Retreat is typically held at University Campus in Pasco County but was forced to go on hiatus in May 2020 because of COVID-19 risks. This year, organizers have shifted the retreat classes and related events to the Zoom virtual platform. The online modality offers an advantage beyond social distancing; sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing.

The Saturday, May 15, sessions will cover a range of topics: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, nature writing, writing for veterans, spoken word and performance, publishing, and creating literary community.

Session leaders Saturday will include Turner, who is a poet and memoirist, and several authors from the Saint Leo University creative writing faculty Anne Barngrover, and Patrick Crerand.

The writers from Tampa Bay who are teaching Saturday classes include Helen Pruitt Wallace, Sterling Watson, Wally B. Jennings, and Tiffany Razzano.

Visiting faculty from outside the immediate area include Janisse Ray, the prominent nature writer from Georgia; and poet and Tallahassee native Yolanda J. Franklin.

Optional one-on-one sessions and master classes in the days leading up to the Saturday retreat are also available. The City of Tampa Wordsmith, Gianna Russo, is the retreat director as well as a published poet and member of the Saint Leo faculty, and is offering a pre-workshop master class in poetry. Crerand, also of the Saint Leo faculty, is offering a master class in fiction.

The complete program showing all classes, teacher biographies, and digital access to a local bookstore carrying titles from the workshop authors is available on the Sandhill Writers Retreat website: Sandhill Writers Retreat | Saint Leo University.

For more information, email retreat director Gianna Russo at