The Seventh Annual Sandhill Writers Retreat will be held Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Saint Leo University's main campus, announced Gianna Russo, the retreat director and assistant professor of English and creative writing at Saint Leo University. The retreat is open to the general public, including teachers, students, and members of the military and veterans. Registration is available online at the retreat webpage. Early registration, which offers the most favorable admission rates ($35 to $95), remains open until midnight, May 15.

Past Sandhill retreat participants have praised the quality of the instruction and interaction with other writers during the retreat, as well as the beauty and serenity of the campus, which is about 35 miles north of Tampa. The physical address is 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL, 33574.

The 2019 program features 16 hands-on writing classes in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, poetry performance, and publishing. Classes will focus on craft and imaginative exercises that lead to new works and new skills. Also included are a faculty reading and book signing, and an optional lunchtime open reading for participants. A limited number of private one-on-one manuscript consultations is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Retreat classes will be led by a nationally acclaimed faculty. The visiting writing faculty and their recent titles include:

  • NPR commentator and novelist Ravi Howard (Like Trees, Walking and Driving the King), recipient of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
  • Memoirist and novelist Elizabeth Lanser Rose (For the Love of a Dog and Body Sharers).
  • Poet Laureate of Orlando Susan Lilley (Venus in Retrograde).
  • Multi-genre author Lisa Roney (Serious Daring: Creative Writing in Four Genres; The Best Possible Bad Luck; and Sweet Invisible Body). She is also editor and director ofThe Florida Review literary journal and Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.
  • Fiction editor Caleb Sarvis (Dead Aquarium), who is also senior fiction editor of Florida-based Bridge Eight Press.

Saint Leo writing faculty members will be leading many workshops. These university faculty members are: Steve Kistulentz (Panorama, a novel, and the poetry collections Little Black Daydream and The Luckless Age); fiction writer Patrick Crerand (The Paper Life They Lead); performance poet Marissa Glover; military-veteran author Brooke King (War Flower: My Life after Iraq); and poets Anne Barngrover (Brazen Creature) and Gianna Russo (Moonflower; One House Down), the retreat director.

Saint Leo faculty will also be leading a half-day of master classes to be offered the day prior to the retreat, Friday, May 17, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The master classes have been created in direct response to requests from participants from previous years. The classes will be offered in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and writing for veterans, and are suitable for experienced writers. Acceptance is determined through manuscript submission and limited to six participants per class. Each master class will include expert craft talks and a writing workshop that focuses on a discussion of participant work. More information and instructions are available here.