wild seeds writers retreat

Wild Seeds Writers Retreat

wild seeds writers retreat

For Wild Seeds Writers Retreat, Winter 2021, Click Here.


The Wild Seeds Writers Retreat—a collaboration with the Center for Black Literature, the English Department at SUNY, Plattsburgh, and the Paden Institute and Retreat for Writers—provides a writing community where established as well as newly discovered writers of color can focus on the craft of writing and engage in cross-cultural conversations around the literature created by writers of the African Diaspora. Writing fellows have an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society; to become knowledgeable about the issues and concerns facing writers of color; and to study with a professional in the genres of fiction, memoir, and poetry.

The first Wild Seeds Writers Retreat (formally known as the North Country Institute & Retreat for Writers of Color) was held in 2004. It was highly successful and featured poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez, poet and fiction writer Tony Medina, and novelist Indira Ganesan.


The Wild Seeds Writers Retreat strives to provide writers of color with an opportunity to meet other writers; to workshop their writing among peers; and to engagewith published writers about concerns and issues related to writing and publishing in a creative, nurturing, and intellectually stimulating environment. Overall, the Wild Seeds Writers Retreat also provides the broader New York State area with an opportunity to become knowledgeable about works being produced by writers of color and the challenges they face.

Recognizing that the Writers Retreat should not be limited to a specific geographical region, the Center for Black Literature (CBL) renamed the Retreat in honor of Octavia E. Butler, a speculative fiction writer known for blending science fiction with African American spiritualism. Butler was a writer whose writing crossed many boundaries and represented varying diverse voices.


Martin Espada, E. Ethelbert Miller, Patricia Spears Jones, Keisha Gaye-Anderson, Jeffrey Renard Allen, Bernice McFadden, Major Jackson, Indira Ganesan, Aracelis Girmay, Marita Golden, Tonya Cherie Hegamin, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Victor LaValle, Tony Medina, Gregory Pardlo, Wille Perdomo, Ernesto Quiñonez, Sonia Sanchez, Ravi Shankar, and Patrice Gaines.


The Wild Seeds Writers Retreat alternates between the Valcour Educational and Conference Center (in Plattsburgh, New York), and the campus of Medgar Evers College (in Brooklyn, New York). Applications will be reviewed and received until all spaces have been filled for each scheduled retreat. Retreats are held in the summer (Plattsburgh) and in the winter (Brooklyn).

Tuition fees vary based on location. At the Valcour Educational Conference Center, tuition fees include lodging based on double-occupancy and meals. For Plattsburgh, visit www.amtrak.com for the train schedules.

In Brooklyn, participants must coordinate their own hotel and travel options if traveling from outside of New York City.

For each retreat season, scholarships based on sponsorships are made available.


Can students apply?

Yes. Students at the upper level of high school and above may apply. If in high school, they should be exceptional in the genre of writing for which they are submitting an application.

Do I have to be a professional writer?

No. Anyone with an interest in honingtheir craft may apply.

How are Fellows selected?

Fellows are selected by a committee that includes writing instructors, writers, and other qualified individuals with expertise in a particular genre. All recommendations for potential writing Fellows and sample writings are reviewed.

Do I have to submit my references with the application?

No. References may be submitted separately via postal mail or via email to writers@mec.cuny.edu.  (Include your name and “Wild Seeds Writers Retreat” in the subject heading.) References must be received by the application deadline.