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Winter Writers Retreat 2015

28th August 2015 @ 5:00pm - 30th August 2015 @ 1:00pm

During the last weekend in August, the Writers of the Far South Coast WILL be holding a Writer’s Retreat at Kianinny Resort near Tathra (near the Victorian border on the coast of NSW).

Being an author is often a very anti-social occupation; it kinda has to be. Which makes opportunities to swap stories with other authors in a relaxed atmosphere, a rarity – not to be missed.

The bush-enclosed cabins make an idyllic location for finding that writing inspiration. There are many spots to while away the hours working on your upcoming novel, latest piece of poetry, newest play or children’s story.

Mentors will inspire you on Saturday morning and review your progress after morning tea on Sunday. Most of our time will be devoted to getting into the thick of it, knuckling down and writing. After all, the point of a writer’s retreat, is to write, right?

The cost of the entire weekend writer’s retreat (shared accommodation / simplistic food / mentors) will be:


I’m sure you have questions. Below are answers to a few that you might be asking. Click on one to open up its answer.

Why is the club doing this?

Because, every year the suggestion is made to have a writer’s retreat. So this year… we are doing it. It is happening. Lock it in.

We intend for this to be the club’s Inaugural Writer’s Retreat to be held annually during the last weekend in August.

Which mentors will be available?

So far, we have three mentors. If you would like to be a mentor, let us know (there are perks).


Paula-150px Paula Boer’s passions include horses, nature and travel. She combines these loves in her writing, with her debut novel “The Okapi Promise” based on her own experiences travelling in an old Bedford truck across Africa in 1990. Her best-selling “Brumbies” series follows the adventures of two teenagers catching and breaking in the wild horses of Australia. Paula is currently working on a young adult horse fantasy, complete with unicorns and dragons. She is a regular contributor to horse magazines and has had many short stories about animals published.

Paula is best suited to mentor novelists, particularly those writing speculative fiction or adventure (for any target age).

Amanda-150px Amanda Midlam began having her work published and produced at the age of 20. She went on to write books published by Penguin, Puffin, Harper Collins, Hodder, BBC Books and Hale & Iremonger. After gaining a certificate in Screenwriting from AFTRS, she had a successful career writing and directing videos. Her documentary, Banana Business, was screened at film festivals in Australia and internationally. She has worked as a journalist and has also had several short fiction stories and poems published.In her fifties she turned her attention to academia and has earned a BA with a double major in Literature and Composition, and Communications; a BA in Indigenous Studies; a Graduate Certificate in Literary Classics; and a Masters in Creative Writing.

Currently she is a freelance editor and manuscript consultant and is working on the biggest, most painstaking, book of her life – a memoir of her childhood.Amanda has experience with a wide range of forms of writing and at Kianinny has chosen to focus on creative non-fiction. This may be memoir, biography, family history, personal essay, essay of place, travel writing, literary journalism and documentary film. It is a wide field and for the purpose of this writers’ retreat could even include poetry- if the poetry includes observation from life.

If what you are writing is not clearly fiction, such as sci-fi, fantasy or romantic fiction, consider exploring some techniques of creative non-fiction.

Creative non-fiction is based on fact, truth or reality and aims at producing beautiful writing with the skilful use of language, voice, memory, research and imagination.

Don McDowell Don was commissioned into the Australian Army in 1959 and trained as engineer, a linguist, and then transferred into Intelligence. His specialities were strategic analysis; psychological warfare and teaching Vietnamese language and he saw war service in Vietnam as an independent advisor on intelligence matters. Leaving the Army in 1969, Don worked for Federal and State Governments in a series of senior executive positions until 1993, before setting up as an international consultant.

Don has travelled widely, advising about intelligence and risk analysis and developing training courses for broad applications of analysis. He has been a prolific writer and his pioneering doctrine on strategic analysis for enforcement and related fields was published as a major book in both 1998 and 2009. His next book on further developments in strategic analysis is due to be published in 2016 and he is also writing his autobiography.

Though well into his seventies, Don continues to work as a global consultant in intelligence and risk management and also teaches with U3A.

Don’s keen to work on narrative writing: biographies, history, or novels.

When does it start and finish?

The retreat will begin on Friday night (“officially” from 5pm 28th August).Once we have all arrived, we’ll get to know each other a little better.

The weekend will wrap up once the review sessions have completed after morning tea on Sunday (officially 1pm 30th August).

What activities do you have planned?


The plan is to gather at Kianinny, from 5pm, and start an evening welcome BBQ, at the function hall, once everyone has arrived (probably 6:30ish). There will be sausages and various salads, along with nibbles to eat.

We’ll chat and get to know one another, and organise ourselves into small groups, ready for Saturday.

There is a huge warm fireplace to keep us toasty throughout the night. We may even have some performances of skits or poetry to keep us entertained..



We’ll meet up early at the function hall and separate into groups for an inspirational, mentoring session.

The rest of the day is devoted to your writing.

IMG_20150324_171250a IMG_20150324_174842a IMG_20150324_174935a

  • Morning and afternoon tea available should you get peckish.
  • There are plenty of bushwalks to clear your head.
  • Kianinny also has a Mini-Golf course if you wish to procrastinate.
  • But, please respect other writer’s creative space when they’re in the “zone”.

Lunch will be provided in the function hall.

Saturday night, we’ll all catch the courtesy bus into town and have dinner and drinks at the local Tathra Bowling Club.


Sleep in, or get some extra writing done before meeting up in the function hall for a farewell morning tea.

We will then separate into our groups for a final mentoring session that will focus on providing feedback and critique.

And then we go home.

Won’t it be cold?


It’s Winter… and the nights will be cold, so it’s a good thing all cabins come with fireplaces and wood is provided. Can anyone say ‘smores’?

Will linen be provided?


Will firewood be provided?


And each cabin has its own fireplace.

Is there Wi-Fi?

Kind of.

If you sit out in front of reception, you can access Wi-Fi.

How’s 3g/4g mobile phone recption?

Not good.

You may have to walk around for a while, strike a pose and balance on one leg before finding a signal.

Show coverage map

Will alcohol be provided?


That said. It is BYO. So please do. We’ll also be going to the pub/club on Saturday night and you will be required to buy your own drinks, should you partake.

Will food be provided?

Yes (sort of)…


  • We’ll be providing a BBQ on Friday night at Kianinny Cabins.


  • Due to so many varied tastes and dietary requirements, breakfasts are BYO, and eaten in your (or your neighbour’s) cabin.
    • Although Amanda (the very eager organiser) will probably donate some milk, fruit and cereal to each of the cabins, for your convenience.
  • Morning tea will consist of varied cakes and slices donated by writers club members, attendees and other community people. Plus tea, coffee, etc.
    • We would appreciate it, if you could bring a plate of something scrumptious with you, to share with the other writers.
  • Lunch will consist of a buffet of salads and colds meats with wraps available for you to “roll your own” lunch.
  • Afternoon tea will consist of more cakes and slices and cups of tea and coffee.
  • Saturday night, we’ll be catching a courtesy bus down to the local Tathra Bowling Club to share a meal there. Writers that are not attending the retreat can join us.
    • Please note: you will be required to pay for your own meal and drinks at the club/pub.


  • BYO breakfast in your cabin.
  • Morning tea of cakes, slices and cups of tea.
  • On Sunday, as the event will now officially be ending before lunch, no lunch will be provided. However, there is nothing stopping us from going to one of the many cafés in Tathra or the surrounding towns.

If you have special dietary requirements, please make them known to us.

Do I have to share a cabin?

Yes (sort of)…

The cabins have a double bed and either two singles or two bunk beds (see the floor plan)

  • Bedroom 1: One person or married couple, mentors receive preference.
  • Bedroom 2: One or two people.

Weirdly, Kianinny has rules against adults in the top bunk . Go figure.

If you have an aversion to sleeping under a bunk bed, or if you would prefer your own room, or would like to bring your partner, we can and will do our best to accommodate everyone. All of these are non-issues.

To reduce the costs to you and to increase the social aspect of the weekend we are asking writers to share the cabins. Most cabins will only have two or three occupants.

However, if you really, really, really want your own cabin – you can arrange accommodation separately with Kianinny Cabins.


Do I have to share a room?

Only if you want to.

See the floor plan in the above FAQ “Do I have to share a cabin”.

Initially the idea of a writer’s retreat, where people share cabins, sounds really enticing, until they start thinking about logistics. “I’m going to have to sleep in the same room as someone else?”

Don’t panic!

You don’t have to share a room if you don’t want to.

But please reconsider. You won’t be sharing with an axe-murderer…

…only a fellow author who writes about axe murderers.

How much is the retreat if … ?

We understand when you’re a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. So, we’ve figured out some common situations.


Regular price $150
Organising your own accommodation $75


Non-writer (eg: partner of a writer)

Accommodation (with your writer) & food
(Sharing with other writers in the cabin)
Organising your own accommodation with a writer
(Dinner Fri, Lunch Sat, morning & afternoon teas)


Where are Kianinny Cabins?

Check out their website at

They are located just outside Tathra on the Far South Coast of NSW. About 20 minutes east of Bega or 20 minutes north of Merimbula.

There is an airport at Merimbula that is serviced by Rex airlines.

Can I get a lift?

If you ask, we’ll do our best to help get you there.

If you hover/click on the rsvp’s above, you will see a list of names will towns next to them. Hopefully, this can help you organise carpooling amongst yourselves.

How can I pay?

Please use direct deposit to transfer $150 into our bank account and email us at [email protected] to let us know. We’ll confirm your payment once it appears on our statement.

We prefer full payment by the 15th August, 2015.

Bank: IMB
Account Name: Writers of the Far South Coast Inc.
BSB: 641 800
Account Number: 200459894

How can I help?

We actually do need your help. We ask that you bring a cake or slice to share with the other writers for morning and afternoon teas.

The best way for you to help is to spread the word.

Please print off the poster for the event and stick it up wherever you think feels right.

PDF icon Writer’s Retreat Poster (NEW)



Along with a listing in the ACT Writers Newsletter, Amanda Midlam was interviewed on local ABC Radio and we also had an article in the local papers.


WFSC Newspaper Article for Writer's Retreat


28th August 2015 @ 5:00pm
30th August 2015 @ 1:00pm
Event Categories:


Writers of the Far South Coast
(02) 6448 9948


246 Tathra Road
Tathra, NSW 2550 Australia
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(02) 6494 1990