Writer-in-Residence Programme

We have a vibrant and active online community with over 200 members, which is hosted on a Mighty Networks platform, and we have a rolling Writer-in-Residence programme for a 6-month residency. The next residency starts on 1st March 2024.

Writer-in-Residence September 2023 – February 2024: Sarah McPherson

Sarah is a writer based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK. Her work reflects her lifelong passion for speculative fiction and mythology/fairy tales, as well as her love of history and a desire to explore how people relate to nature, the landscape, and each other. Her writing has been widely published, nominated for Best Small Fictions 2022, longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50, and selected for Best Microfictions 2021.

During her residency she will be teaching the following workshops:

  • Thursday 09 November 2023 19.00 GMT - Speculative Flash: Fantasy

  • Thursday 18 January 2024 10.00 GMT - Speculative Flash: Science Fiction

And writing the following craft articles:

  • September 2023 - Writing retellings of fairy tales, myths and other old stories

  • December 2023 - Writing lessons from roleplaying: collaborative, playful storytelling

  • February 2024 - Writing relationships with / journeys through the landscape


It’s a 6-month programme for writers of fiction who want to develop their teaching skills alongside their writing and be part of a friendly and welcoming online community. It’s open to all writers around the world as long as they are fluent speaking and writing in English. We welcome applications from all regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

During the 6-month period you will:

  • Teach two 1-hour Zoom workshops for community members on topics to be agreed with Retreat West founder, Amanda Saint. These will take place at 7pm UK time on a weekday evening so if you are in a different timezone please ensure this is doable for you.

  • Host four 1-hour Zoom feedback sessions for community members to get feedback on their flash fictions. These will take place on a weekday afternoon UK time so if you are in a different timezone please ensure this is doable for you.

  • Write 3 craft development blog posts for the community site on topics to be agreed.

  • Be an active member of the online community – starting conversations and responding to other members’ posts. You won’t need to be there every day but at least a couple of times a week would be required.

In return you will get a benefits package with a value of approx. £1260

  • A monthly stipend of £50, which will be paid once a month for the 6-month period. You will need to invoice for this. Value: £300 for the 6-month period

  • One year’s Community Collaborator membership to the Retreat West community. Value: £35

  • Tickets to all events we host, including the Online Flash Fiction Festival and our Saturday workshop series, during the year of membership. If you can’t attend live you can get the recordings for them all. Approx. value of package: £405 (based on us running 3 Zoom workshops a month and 2 Flash Fests a year)

  • Monthly Zoom mentoring chats with Amanda Saint to help you further develop your writing and teaching skills; and learn about running a creative venture if this is also of interest to you. Value: £450

  • Six month’s subscription to the Retreat West Substack and Amanda Saint’s Mindful Writer Substack. Value: £70

You will need:

  • A publication history in fiction – this can be novels, short stories, or flash/micro fictions – and have been published in the past 2 years. You will need to provide links to demonstrate this.

  • To have taught at least 1 creative writing workshop previously and be able to provide either a link to watch a snippet of you teaching, or a recommendation from someone who has taken a workshop with you.


It is a rolling programme starting every 6 months. Applications are now open for:

  • Next residency date: 1st March 2024 – 31st August 2024

  • Deadline for applications: 14th January 2024

  • Application processing fee: £10


  • Applications are accepted via Submittable only and must be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on the deadline date.

  • Send a 1-page writer CV and a 1-page covering letter detailing why you’d like to be the Writer-in-Residence and give a brief summary of a workshop you’d deliver and a craft article you’d write. Please include these in one document.

  • Links to publication history in the past 2 years.

  • A link to a video of you teaching, or you can include a recommendation from someone who has taken a workshop with you.

Apply here