TWS Urban Writer's Retreat: Summer 2020

Would you like to dedicate a week to your writing this summer?

The Writer's Studio is pleased to host an Urban Writer's Retreat, which is an opportunity to spend four distraction-free days on your writing. Intended for emerging and established writers looking to start or develop a writing project, this retreat will allow you to learn from published authors, participate in structured writing time, work in a supportive community of writers and participate in optional social events (see below for schedule). Plus, you don't have to worry about packing a lunch; we'll provide that as well. This is an opportunity for you to take time off work and dedicate it to your writing.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 4 Eileen Cook $800.00 24 Register

About the facilitator

Eileen Cook

Eileen Cook is a published author with HMH, Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins. Her novels, which include The Almost Truth, Unraveling Isobel and You Owe Me a Murder, have been published in eight different languages and optioned for both film and TV. Her young-adult novel With Malice was called "a seriously creepy thriller” by Entertainment Weekly. Her novel The Hanging Girl/One Lie Too Many won the John Spray Award in 2018 for best mystery in Canada. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else, or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. 

Guest hosts 

Holman and Jack Wang

Jack and Holman Wang are the twin powers behind the award-winning board book series Cozy Classics and Star Wars Epic Yarns, which abridge literary and cinematic classics in just 12 words and 12 images. Their unique illustrative process combines needle-felting, scale-model set-making and photography. Their work has been honoured with juried selections to participate in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators Exhibition and The Original Art Exhibition (Society of Illustrators). Holman’s new solo picture books are Great Job, Mom! and Great Job, Dad!, published by Tundra Books / Penguin Random House. Holman is a board member with the Vancouver Writers Festival. Jack is currently chair of the Department of Writing at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. His novella and collection of stories, We Two Alone, will be published in spring 2020 by House of Anansi Press, while his novel The Riveters is set to be published in 2024.

Jane Munro

Jane Munro’s sixth poetry collection Blue Sonoma (Brick Books) won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her new collection is Glass Float (Brick Books, spring 2020). A member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko’s Dogs, she’s taught creative writing at several universities in B.C, given many informal writing workshops, and read her poetry to audiences across Canada. She has also given readings in Ireland, the USA, Italy, India and Egypt. In 2012, she moved back to Vancouver—where she grew up and raised her children—after spending 20 years living rurally on the coast of Vancouver Island.

Alex Leslie

Alex Leslie was born and lives in Vancouver. She is the author of the short story collection People Who Disappear (2012) which was nominated for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award, as well as a collection of prose poems, The things I heard about you (2014), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroestch Award for Innovative Poetry. Winner of the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers, Alex’s short fiction has been included in the Journey Prize AnthologyThe Best of Canadian Poetry in English, and in a special issue of Granta spotlighting Canadian writing co-edited by Madeleine Thien and Catherine Leroux.

Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre has written and co-written twenty-five plays. Her first memoir, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, won CBC Canada Reads 2012 and is a #1 national bestseller. Her second memoir, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution, was a finalist for the 2017 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize, is a Globe and Mail bestseller and a National Post and CBC best book of 2016. Carmen is a graduate of the prestigious theatre training program Studio 58.

Retreat schedule

Lunch is provided on each day of the retreat.

  • Tuesday, July 21, 7 p.m.–9 p.m. | TWS Graduation & Reunion (optional)
  • Wednesday, July 22, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. | Day 1 of Retreat
  • Thursday, July 23, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. | Day 2 of Retreat
  • Thursday, July 23, 7 p.m.–10 p.m. | Evening social event (optional)
  • Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. | Day 3 of Retreat
  • Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. | Day 4 of Retreat

Download a complete retreat schedule here.


Summer brings out the best in Vancouver. From the mountains to the beaches, it's the perfect location for inspiration and creativity. You can spend your evenings writing, visiting local restaurants in Gastown, walking around the Seawall at Stanley Park, or viewing the fireworks at the Celebration of Light in English Bay.

Whether you're local or visiting from out of town, there's plenty to do. For inspiration on things to do in Vancouver, both literary and otherwise, we recommend the following links:

Retreat venue

Classes and lectures will take place at the Segal Graduate School of Business. Located in the heart of downtown, the Segal is a Vancouver Heritage building with inspiring architecture and generous natural light that will help stimulate ideas and discussion.

How will I learn?

  • Lectures 
  • Class discussions
  • Small-group in-class exercises/workshops
  • Working on your own writing
  • Option to receive individual feedback from instructor or TA

How will I be evaluated?

The focus of the retreat is for you to generate writing. There will be opportunites to receive feedback on your writing from instructors and fellow students.

Textbooks and learning materials

Please bring your own writing materials. All learning materials will be provided.

Related program(s)

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