“Catch and sing the sun in flight…”
Join us from May 4-11 or October 23-30, 2024, for a writing retreat in New Brunswick, one that offers the chance to write every day for a full week, developing good habits that will sustain you.
A writing retreat can serve as a springboard to renew your pact with yourself—a reminder that life contains magic and that writing each day is a promise kept to yourself.
For eight days and seven nights, you’ll have your own private, ensuite bedroom in a historic estate, a private writing studio, and the award-winning Kingsbrae Garden right on your doorstep.
Update: one room left for May, two rooms for October
Costs start at $2,795 CAD (approx. $2,070 USD), details below. Contact us to register or with your questions.
About your hosts
Go and Write! with Dr. Gerard Collins and Janie Simpson
About the retreat
NOW’S THE TIME
Whether you’re new to the craft or an established, professional writer, a Go and Write! retreat at the grand Kingsbrae estate, guided by award-winning professional authors, Dr. Gerard Collins and Jane Simpson, solidifies your intentions and sends a strong signal about your commitment to yourself and your writing.
The impeccably-maintained historic estate and private writing studios make the Kingsbrae Estate one of our writers’ favourite venues, time and again.
Kingsbrae 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 for participants, each spacious and with its own private bathroom.
And steps away from the residence are freestanding writers’ studios for our participants’ exclusive use: each writer has their own private studio for the entire retreat, accessible to them 24/7.
A Go and Write! retreat at Kingsbrae offers you a rare opportunity to leave the rest of the world behind, to sit alone in your own writing studio or cozy bedroom in a gorgeous, 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. Previous attendees include 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, writing studio, and costs. This second person can also be a non-writing spouse or guest, and some bedrooms are equipped with two beds.
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. These folks are invited to join us for all of the meals, readings, and any outings that are part of the program, as these elements are included in everyone’s registration.
We will host private group readings on some evenings throughout the retreat, where you’ll have the chance to share your writing with your fellow participants, if you like—without pressure.
We will also have two group writing sessions guided by Gerard, an award-winning author and university educator, and each participant will have two one-on-one chats with Gerard as well, where you’ll have the opportunity to talk with him about your writing projects, goals, and challenges.
All participants will be encouraged to share an excerpt of your writing with Gerard in advance of the retreat, in any genre—Gerard will review this submission carefully and prepare thoughtful and compassionate feedback. Writers often tell us these one-on-one discussions and Gerard’s feedback are their favourite part of our retreats.
Retreat goers will have free entry to the iconic Kingsbrae Garden for the duration of the retreat, accessible directly from our historic estate. The 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, and art sculptures.
The Kingsbrae Garden has winding pathways and secluded nooks for writing, and there’s even a Secret Garden.
During our stay, we will share all breakfasts and some suppers together, catered by one of the Kingsbrae Garden Café chefs, who will come right to the KIRA residence to prepare and serve these 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.
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 an eight minute walk from the historic KIRA residence.
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.
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, which features 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 Kennedy House, and the Harbourfront Restaurant. Lumberjacks Café serves a hearty breakfast and offers homemade soups and sandwiches on homemade bread for takeout.
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, as we ourselves often do.
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—an easy, 2-minute stroll—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 one fall…
After a week filled with shared breakfasts, group writing sessions and readings, one-on-one chats about your writing, and dedicated writing time, we’ll gather for our final group supper and cap off the evening by sharing readings in the cozy living room. In the morning, we’ll enjoy a final group breakfast and bid a fond farewell to Kingsbrae, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, and each other—until we meet again.
Writers yearn for long conversations about life and books, mornings in the studio where the amber dawn greets you with a sleepy smile, evenings withdrawing to the lengthening shadows, reading your work to newfound friends, revelling in the sense of belonging, balanced with plenty of alone time. There is a time for you, and this is it, among like-minded souls who likewise seek solitude, encouragement, and kindness above all.
Listen to the birdsong from one of the writing studios:
A retreat at the Kingsbrae International Residency for the Arts is our most focused, with little by way of distraction as we’ve deliberately not included touring. It provides the time and space for your imagination to soar, individual instruction from a compassionate, award-winning publishing author, and allows you the chance to come away feeling revitalized and ready to continue the good writing habits you develop onsite.
Join us on our next adventure.
Please reach out if you have any questions and would like to discuss this, or any other, retreat with us.
What’s included in the Kingsbrae retreat
May 4-11 OR October 23-30, 2024
- 8 days / 7 nights at the impeccably-maintained and spacious KIRA historic estate, with private bedroom/bathroom
- Private, standalone writing studio for the duration of the retreat
- 2 writing workshops
- 2 individual meetings with writer-in-residence Dr. Gerard Collins to discuss your work
- Written feedback on a piece of your writing
- 7 breakfasts and 3 suppers, prepared and served onsite by a chef from the award-winning Kingsbrae Café
- Group readings and conversation on several evenings
- Non-writing participants are welcome to take part in as few or as many of the elements of the retreat as they wish
- A key feature unique to this retreat: fewer participants means more space for you and more time with the writer in residence
Please note that there is NOT a surcharge for single travellers. The true cost of the retreat is based on the single price, but if you bring someone else, you share the room costs, which lowers the price per person.
Double occupancy, per person, sharing room & studio: $2,430.44 +HST (15%) and meal gratuities = $2,795 (approx. $2,070 USD)
Single occupancy: $2,865.22 +HST (15%) and meal gratuities = $3,295 (approx. $2,450 USD)
A non-refundable deposit of $1,200 CAD per person is due when you reserve your space. Final payment for the spring retreat is due March 15, 2024. Final payment for the fall retreat is due June 21, 2024. These dates may be extended for late registrants.
Listed price is in Canadian dollars and includes 15% sales tax and 18% gratuities for meals. We have estimated the price in US dollars for our American participants’ convenience, based on the rate of exchange at the time of posting; the actual cost will depend on the conversion rate at time of payment.
Note: Rates shown do not include credit card processing fees. For those paying by credit card, we will have to add 2.4% and the fee is non-refundable. For Canadians, we’re able to offer an e-transfer option to save you processing fees. For other registrants, we also accept international bank transfers; please research the processing fees charged by your bank as you’re responsible to pay those fees. Contact us for more information.
Some people choose to pay by credit card if it has an associated trip insurance policy. It is your responsibility to research and understand details around any insurance coverage associated with your credit card. Visit our Expectations, Rules, and Refunds page for more information about the importance of trip insurance.
Register by contacting us.
A few notes
Airfare is not included, and travellers are responsible for arranging their own flights. If you would like our assistance in arranging ground transportation between the airport and the venue, contact us; there may also be savings to be had if you wish to share transportation costs with another participant, just let us know if that’s of interest.
For those who are flying, the closest airport is the Saint John Airport, approximately 1.5 hrs away from St. Andrews by-the-Sea. Note: Saint John Airport (YSJ) is NOT to be confused with the St. John’s Airport in Newfoundland—a lovely spot, to be sure, and Gerard’s hometown, but not where we’re hosting this retreat :-).
For those who wish to stay overnight in the City of Saint John before or after the retreat, we have partnered with Chipman Hill Suites to offer a 15% discount off their regular rates to Go and Write! participants. We have enjoyed the hospitality at their historic locations ourselves, many times, and their Sydney Street location is a particular favourite; we even hosted a retreat there—just visit our Saint John 2020 webpage for some photos and memories of that Go and Write! retreat.
Some participants choose to fly into the Fredericton, NB, airport, approximately 1.45 hours away, or the Moncton, NB airport or Bangor airport, both of which are approximately 2.5 hrs away from St. Andrews by-the-Sea.
You can rent a vehicle or take a taxi, but the town is very walkable and only a few minutes from the venue, so you’re not likely to require a vehicle once you arrive. We have partnered with Saint John Limo (not actual limousines, just very fine vehicles) to offer discounted rates to Go and Write! participants for airport transfers, and there may be an opportunity to share costs with another participant. Go and Write! participants who have traveled with this company in the past have told us how much they’ve enjoyed the professional and reliable service from owner Lorne Webster and his staff.
Spaces and amenities
Please note that the number of spots available on this retreat is limited as there are only 5 rooms available at the Kingsbrae estate—the lower number of participants offers an intimate experience to our writers.
We are staying in a historic residence with no elevator; participants are required to climb stairs to get to their bedrooms, and while we do our best to allow for choice, bedrooms may need to be re-allocated based on single and double occupancy.
Check out our entire 2024 retreat lineup!
Additional locations we’re working on for 2025 and beyond:
Travel cancellation, interruption, and health insurance is highly recommended. Participants are responsible to research the implications of travel restrictions at home and abroad before and at the time of travel. Ensure you have everything you need so you aren’t turned away from establishments or airports.
Your non-refundable portion of your deposit is 100% non-refundable. If you cancel up to 6 months before a retreat for any reason, any other payments you’ve made to us are returned to you, less the non-refundable deposit and payment processing fees. If you cancel from 4-6 months before a retreat, we will return 75% of any fees paid less your non-refundable deposit and payment processing fees. If you cancel within 4 months of the start of a retreat, any fees paid cannot be returned. If the retreat needs to be postponed, we will make every attempt to reschedule. We can only offer refunds if our providers also refund monies to us.
Due to contractual obligations with our suppliers, we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy, regardless of the reason.
All participants are required to review our Expectations, Rules and Refunds page and acknowledge agreement with the contents before registering for a Go and Write! retreat.