Kingsbrae ~ Summer 2022

Writing in the Apple Orchard themed garden – perfect for bookworms

Summertime writing in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, July 2022

July 16-21 and July 23-28, 2022

Update: We have one room left for July 16-21; the July 23-28 retreat is full.

For the very first time, we’re offering summer writing retreats! Lots of folks have asked us when we’d host a summer session, so we’re finally doing it. Because summer retreats are so rare for us, and our retreats fill quickly, we expect these to fill extremely fast, especially because it’s almost impossible to find accommodations in this desirable seaside town in summer, and prices for hotels here are at a premium this time of year. Contact us to register or for questions.

We couldn’t be happier that the kind folks at award-winning Kingsbrae International Residence for Artists (KIRA) have asked us to return to offer two, six-day writing retreats at their historic estate in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada this summer.

Join us from July 16-21 or 23-28, or register for both retreats and take advantage of a 12-night stretch in this gorgeous seaside town. Details below.

About the retreat

Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts (KIRA)

Six days in beautiful St. Andrews by-the-Sea in July: what a great way to rededicate yourself to your writing, whether you’re new to the craft or an established, professional writer. Guided by award-winning professional authors Dr. Gerard Collins and Jane Simpson, a Go and Write! retreat at Kingsbrae solidifies your intentions and sends a strong signal about your commitment to yourself and your writing.

The grand Kingsbrae estate may as well have been built for our times, considering the current desire for personal space. The 7,000 square foot historic residence is impeccably maintained, with only five bedrooms available, each spacious and with its own private bathroom. And steps away from the residence are freestanding writers’ studios for our participants’ exclusive use during our stay.

View of writers’ studios from the porch
writing matters

Go and Write! Kingsbrae offers you a rare opportunity to leave the rest of the world behind, to sit alone in your own writing studio or bedroom in a turn-of-the-century mansion where you can get lost in your own thoughts for hours – even days – and come out with a clearer sense of what it’s all about, what you’ve been through, and where you go from here.

Go and Write! retreat participants range from beginning writers who want to start jotting down their thoughts to experienced writers who’ve published extensively, and previous attendees have included playwrights, poets, novelists, television producers, short story and memoir writers, and everything in between.

Writers can register as individual participants or bring someone to share their room, studio, and costs. This second person can also be a non-writing spouse/guest as well, but they must register for the entire retreat as this helps us maintain the creative bubble that we cultivate so carefully. We often have non-writers join us on retreats, and they’re welcome to participate in as few or as many of the writing activities as they wish.

Evening readings in the living room

We will host private group readings on some evenings throughout the retreat, where you’ll have the opportunity to share your writing with your fellow participants, if you like – without pressure. We will also have two writing workshops, facilitated by Gerard, an award winning author and university professor, and each participant will have a one-on-one session with Gerard as well, where you’ll have the opportunity to talk with him about your writing projects, goals, and challenges.

One-on-one meeting on the side verandah at KIRA

All participants will be encouraged to share an excerpt of your writing with Gerard in advance of the retreat, of any genre – Gerard will review this submission carefully and prepare thoughtful and compassionate feedback in his written commentary, which he will return to you after discussing it with you during your one-on-one meeting. Writers often tell us these meetings and Gerard’s feedback are their favourite part of the retreat.

Meeting in the dining room
Kingsbrae Garden

Retreat goers will have free access to the iconic Kingsbrae Garden for the duration of the retreat, accessible directly from the estate. This multi-award winning, 27-acre horticultural masterpiece boasts more than 50,000 perennials in themed gardens, ponds, streams, old-growth Acadian forest, various animals and birds, art sculptures and the Garden Café.

Kingsbrae Garden. Photo credit: André Gallant

During our six-day stay, we will enjoy three breakfasts, a lunch, and two suppers, catered by one of the Kingsbrae Garden Café chefs, who will come right to the KIRA residence to prepare and serve those home-style meals onsite. Kingsbrae prides itself on using the freshest garden ingredients and products from all over New Brunswick and their own gardens. We’ve deliberately scheduled these meals throughout the retreat to balance group time and alone time for writing.

Writing on the porch at the Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts

The Kingsbrae Garden has winding pathways and secluded nooks for writing, and there’s even a Secret Garden.

Gerard under the trellis at Kingsbrae Garden
St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada

St. Andrews by-the-Sea, named USA Today’s Best Destination in Canada, is a gorgeous seaside town, and the waterfront is just a 10 minute walk from the historic KIRA residence.

Shops on Water Street

When you’re in a seaside town like St. Andrews, you find yourself subconsciously attuning to the ebb and flow of the tides. And no wonder, since the tides of the Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) Bay rise and fall by about 28 feet or more, twice a day, with 2 ¼ billion tons of water swirling in and out. There are beaches to explore, paved walking trails, and several parks.

Janie writing at The Gables, one of the town’s seaside restaurants

All along the waterfront, you’ll find shops, pubs, and restaurants with indoor and outdoor dining. We highly recommend a visit to the Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature centre, featuring visual artists from New Brunswick and beyond. And for shopping, The Whale Store sells clothes, soaps, and – our personal favourite – local books and music.

After you’ve stocked up on books, you can head over to Honeybeans for a specialty coffee or tea and fresh baked snacks. If you have a pet you’d like to spoil or you’re looking for specialty garden supplies, you can pick something up at the Crocker Hill store. If you’re looking for a great meal, try Seasons by the Sea Bistro, as well as The Gables, The Shiretown Pub at the Kennedy Inn, and the Harbourfront Restaurant. Lumberjacks Café serves a hearty breakfast and offers homemade soups and sandwiches on homemade bread for takeout.

A writer-friendly craft brewery on the waterfront

You could consider bringing that takeout to the Saint Andrews Brewing Company, a new craft brewery that allows you bring food in while you enjoy a pint on their waterfront patio – you can even bring a journal and do some writing while you watch the sea.

To get a strong sense of what St. Andrews by-the-Sea has to offer, check out this great video:

The world famous Algonquin Resort is literally just down the road from the KIRA estate, with a restaurant and pub onsite as well as The Algonquin Golf Course, a 2021 Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award winner. And if you’re lucky, you might just catch Ian Curran skirling a tune, as we did last fall…

About Your Hosts

Janie and Gerard, Ireland. Photo credit: Amy Cameron

Dr. Gerard Collins and Jane Simpson are writers and partners not only in Go and Write! but also in life.

Gerard, who has his PhD in American Gothic Literature, is a Newfoundland writer now living in New Brunswick, whose first novel, Finton Moon, was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Award, and won the Percy Janes First Novel Award. In 2019, he turned the Finton Moon experience into a multi-media art exhibition, “The Book that Wrote Itself”. His short story collection, Moonlight Sketches, won the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award, and his second novel, The Hush Sisters, won an international Next Generation Indie Book Award in the suspense category and also was a finalist in the paranormal category.

Gerard has taught creative writing workshops at the invitation of Newcastle University in England, at Lily Dale Assembly in New York and, closer to home, he was recently invited by the Frye Festival to teach a Masterclass in creative writing. He teaches English Literature, by distance, at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Jane’s writing has won awards in poetry and short fiction, and has been published in Riddle Fence and Grain Literary Magazine; she is the Executive and Artistic Director of an arts and culture centre, and Jane – a.k.a. Janie – handles many of the administrative, coordinating and marketing duties of Go and Write!, while Gerard conducts the workshops, writing commentary, and one-on-one consultations with every writer.

Here’s where you can learn more about your hosts, Gerard and Jane.


We are asking that all retreat participants be fully vaccinated and boosted with a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.

Here are other precautions we’re taking:

  • Thorough sanitizing of residence and artist studios prior to our arrival.
  • Low number of participants to allow for easy physical distancing – only five bedrooms available, each with private bathrooms.
  • 7,000 sq-ft residence.
  • Standalone, individual artist studios for your exclusive use.
  • Workshops and one-on-one meeting locations will be flexible and may be held outside, depending on the weather, keeping comfort and physical distancing measures in mind.
Writing studios at night, photo taken from the KIRA estate


$1,595 CAD / person based on single occupancy – includes tax and gratuities 
$1,395 CAD / person based on double occupancy – includes tax and gratuities

New this summer: If you wish to register for both retreats and stay at the estate for the two nights in between, you can do so for an additional $100 CAD for both nights. The staff will be cleaning the residence thoroughly between retreats, so it won’t be as quiet during the day (hence the greatly reduced rate), but KIRA is offering this option to our participants as it can be so difficult to secure accommodations in the town at this time of year.

Update as of June 23: We have one room left for July 16-21; the July 23-28 retreat is full.

CONTACT US to register, or if you have any questions.

What’s included:

  • 6 days / 5 nights at the well-maintained and spacious KIRA historic estate, with private bedroom/bathroom
  • 2 writing workshops
  • An individual meeting with writer in residence Dr. Gerard Collins to discuss your work
  • Written feedback on a piece of your writing
  • 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 suppers, prepared and served onsite by a chef from the award-winning Kingsbrae Café
  • Private standalone writing studio
  • Group readings and conversation on several evenings
  • A key feature unique to this retreat: fewer participants means more space for you and more time with the writer in residence
KIRA private amphitheatre and performance space

This summertime retreat allows for distance and space so your imagination can soar, you can stretch yourself, receive individual instruction from a compassionate, award-winning publishing author, and come away feeling revitalized.

Register by contacting us.

A few notes

Airfare is not included, and travellers are responsible for arranging their own flights. Please note that the number of spots available on this retreat is limited due to the number of rooms at the Kingsbrae estate and our desire to offer an intimate experience to our writers.

Listed price is in Canadian dollars and includes 15% sales tax and 18% gratuities for accommodations, meals, and service provided by KIRA.

We are staying in a historic residence with no elevator; participants will be required to climb stairs.

We HIGHLY recommend that all participants get travel and trip cancellation/interruption insurance as there are no refunds, and remember to investigate how your insurer handles COVID-19. Travellers are responsible to research the implications of COVID-19 on travel restrictions at home and abroad. Ensure you have everything you need so you aren’t turned away from establishments or airports. All those joining us must be fully vaccinated and boosted.