Welcome to Retreat West

I started this creative project in 2012 and since then have helped hundreds of writers develop their craft and get published.

Whatever length story you’re writing, Retreat West has got all you need to get started and get to the end. Substack courses, online community courses with cheering on all the way, Zoom workshops, writing sessions, feedback and more. I also publish the WestWord online literary journal.

I’ll be sending regular free newsletters about the latest opportunities to get published, new courses, new stories published and tips, tools and resources to help you develop your writing craft.

Become a paid subscriber and get extra posts and lots of writing courses.

The first course starts on 14th July 2023. Workshops will be posted every 2 weeks on a Friday.

  • Experiments in Flash - This 6-workshop course uses ideas from science and spirituality about the nature of reality and human existence to inspire new ways of thinking about our writing of flash fiction (and longer stories). Workshops will be posted every 2 weeks on a Friday.

  • The Mini Novel Course - A 6-workshop course to get you started with writing your novel. You’ll discover tools to plan and plot your novel, get to know your characters and the world they inhabit, and start writing some chapters.

  • The Micro Fiction Course - 8 workshops that are a mix of discussions, readings and prompts to get you writing stories up to 350 words.

  • The Five Elements of Fiction - The five elements at the heart of the Taoist philosophy are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. This course uses the characteristics associated with each element to find new ways to inspire stories and create memorable narrators that have real depth.

  • Fantastic Flashing - 10 workshops featuring craft development discussions, readings and writing prompts to help you take your flash fiction writing to the next level.

Ongoing, I will write new courses and add them here. I’m really excited to develop a new community here around the courses and I hope you’ll join me!

Who am I?


I started Retreat West in 2012 and I’ve been designing and teaching online courses, and live workshops, for many years and have worked as an editor on hundreds of manuscripts. 

As an indie publisher from 2018-2023 I published 24 books. These were novels, memoirs, short story collections and anthologies. Retreat West Books won the 2020 Most Innovative Publisher Prize at the Saboteur Awards and many of the books I published were commended, listed and won awards.

I’m passionate about helping writers get to the heart of their characters to create memorable narrators that really come alive for the reader. I help writers who hate plotting to create story outlines that still allow them the freedom to discover as they write.

I’m also a writer myself and the author of two novels, As If I Were A River (2016), which was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016 and Remember Tomorrow (2019). My short stories have been widely published, listed and placed in many international prizes and were nominated for Best Small Fictions 2023. I’ve just completed a novella-in-flash, have almost finished a flash fiction collection, and I’m now working on my third novel.

So I bring experience of both sides of the publishing world to you and your words, as well as many years of experience writing stories of all kinds.

I also write The Mindful Writer and The Tao of Storytelling and run the WestWord lit mag.

Subscribe to Retreat West

Retreat West provides online fiction writing courses and workshops, and a friendly online community. Subscribe for craft development, interviews, submissions, workshops, and lots of other great writerly stuff. https://www.retreatwest.co.uk/


Amanda Saint

I write fiction and teach creative writing. I’m the founder of Retreat West and WestWord; and interested in how we can change the stories we tell about being human to bring more love, peace and unity into the world.