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Sandhill Writers Retreat - About

ABOUT - Sandhill Writers VIRTUAL Retreat

    8th Annual Sandhill Writers VIRTUAL Retreat

    Sandhill Writers Retreat logo - green, Saint Leo University"Renewing the Writer in You"

    Friday, May 14 - Saturday, May 15, 2021

    Register for Retreat


    Sandhill Writers Retreat, image of attendees at the faculty reading

    The Eighth Annual Sandhill Writers Retreat is our biggest yet! And it’s VIRTUAL!

    Having weathered a difficult year, many of us are hungering right now for connection and for familiar activities that inspire us, nurture us and remind us who we are as artists. That’s what the Sandhill Writers Retreat has always been about, and what we’ll be about this year.

    VIRTUAL Master Classes, 2021

    During the week of May 10-14, we will also be offering select master classes taught by Saint Leo Creative Writing faculty and 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 your work.


    POETRY MASTER CLASS with Gianna Russo

    TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2021
    1:00 - 4:30 pm (via Zoom)

    • DEADLINE for manuscript submissions: April 15, 2021.
    • Send attached manuscripts to
    • Participants notified of acceptance: May 1, 2021.
    Register for POETRY Master Class


    FICTION MASTER CLASS with Patrick Crerand

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2021
    1:00 - 4:30 pm (via Zoom)

    • DEADLINE for manuscript submissions: April 15, 2021.
    • Send attached manuscripts to
    • Participants notified of acceptance: May 1, 2021.
    Register for FICTION/NONFICTION Master Class

    Visit our Master Classes page to learn more and register.

    Image of poet Brian Turner

    "An Evening with Brian Turner"

    This year, for the first time, we’ll open the retreat with a free Friday night reading. We are thrilled to welcome celebrated veteran writer and award-winning poet Brian Turner (Here, Bullet; Phantom Noise; My Life as a Foreign Country). What a way to kick off Central Florida’s most popular writers retreat!

    • Brian’s reading on Friday, May 14, 2021, at 7:00 pm is on Zoom.
    • It is free and open to the public.

    Visit our Faculty & Staff page to read more about poet Brian Turner.

    Full-Day VIRTUAL Retreat

    Our full-day retreat will take place on Saturday, May 15th from 9am - 4pm on Zoom. Participants will have access to sixteen hands-on writing classes in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for veterans, environmental writing, publishing, spoken word, and creating literary community. Classes will focus on lessons in craft, insider tips and imaginative exercises that lead to new works and new skills. We plan to offer all workshops live, record them and make them available for several weeks after the retreat. That means every participant can “attend” every session. One BIG advantage of being virtual!

    Retreat classes on Saturday will be led by a nationally-acclaimed faculty. Along with Brian Turner, visiting faculty include American Book Award and Pushcart Prize winner Janisse Ray, poet Yolanda J. Franklin (Blood Vinyls); spoken word artist Walter B. Jennings; creative nonfiction writer Bob Kunzinger (A Third Place: Notes in Nature); Orlando Poet Laureate Susan Lilley (Venus in Retrograde); literary community impresario Tiffany Razzano (founder of Wordier Than Thou); Saint Petersburg Poet Laureate Helen Pruitt Wallace; and novelist and founder of Writers in Paradise Sterling Watson (The Committee).

    These outstanding writers will be joined by Saint Leo writing faculty members Steve Kistulentz (Panorama; Little Black Daydream); Patrick Crerand (The Paper Life They Lead); Anne Barngrover (Brazen Creature); and retreat director Gianna Russo (One House Down; Moonflower).

    The Sandhill Writers Retreat is open to writers of all levels who wish to hone the craft and renew the joy of writing. Teachers, students, service-members, and the general public are all invited to attend.

    • The Sandhill Writers VIRTUAL Retreat full-day event is Saturday, May 15, 2021, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
    Register for Retreat

    Visit our Registration page for pricing and registration

    More About Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University is a Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

    The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 90,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

    Media contact: For more information, contact Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University media coordinator, (352) 588-8237 or


    • Excellent in every way: welcoming, informal yet serious, generous-spirited, enjoyable.
    • It didn’t meet my expectations – it exceeded them! All the sessions were led by writers who provided valuable guidance and shared expertise.
    • It was engaging and inspirational. . . . I really appreciate your willingness to undertake such an ambitious project each summer and your ability to accomplish it so perfectly.
    • Every year it keeps getting better.
    • This was my third year and all have been marvelous!
    • The retreat exceeded my expectations in both scope of topic and quality of instruction. Instructors were well prepared and gave valuable exercises.
    • Interactive, welcoming, challenging.
    • The Retreat promised renewal and delivered.
    • I wrote more today than ever before in my life and received the kind of supportive feedback I’d wondered if I’d ever get.
    • Great speakers, good mix of lecture and exercises, good opportunities to socialize with fellow writers.
    • [The Retreat] gave me new ways to approach writing. The faculty was welcoming and encouraging.
    • I expected quality-based teaching – I got it. I expected down-to-earth, accessible content – I got it. I expected friendly, supportive, and insightful criticism – I got it.
    • Good variety and low-key. A nice break from the usual stress of conferences and workshops.

    THANKS to Our Partners and Supporters

    Dr. Mary Spoto,
    Vice President of Academic Affairs

    School of Arts and Sciences
    Dr. Heather Parker, Dean

    Department of Language Studies and the Arts
    Dr. Chantelle MacPhee, Chair

    Jennifer "Megan" Orendorf,
    Administrator of Events and Special Programs



    Register for Retreat