Wild Writing in the Boreal 

an annual wilderness writing retreat for women

APRIL 28-30, 2023


held at Falcon Trails Resort in Whiteshell Provincial Park, on Treaty 3 territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Michif Piyii (Métis) people.

Wild Writing in the Boreal blew my expectations through the roof! The entire weekend was so full of love, honesty, and beautiful writing. Both Lauren and Donna are amazing, talented women that we are all lucky to be learning from. Never have I felt so grounded at a retreat, and I am walking away feeling knowledgable and motivated. – Kiera Anderson 

“Wild Writing in the Boreal helped me break through fears and write about what really matters. It is a very safe, encouraging place to be!”
“This retreat is truly a gem! A rich alchemy of sage leadership, delicious food, wonderful women, spectacular nature!”
“This retreat opened up so many doors for my writing going forward. The learning went beyond my expectations.”
“I feel more confident now to release my work for the world to see.”
“This retreat gave me the motivation I needed to kickstart my novel. Both Donna and Lauren were full of ideas which I will be able to use. Their stories made the sessions come to life. Also, they throw awesome parties!”
“This retreat gave me additional tools in my poetry cache. I also appreciate the way the group functioned as a small but safe community. And kudos to the kitchen!”
“The balance of useful instruction, expert advice, and hands-on writing was perfect. Lauren created an inspiring space where I felt safe sharing my work. The feedback I received has given life to my stories.”

Wild Writing in the Boreal is an intense, engaging experience. I’ve attended two years in a row and both times came away with the information I need to keep building my career as a writer. Donna and Lauren are extremely knowledgeable and engaging, and class sizes are small. It’s a safe place to share your writing with others.

They pulled me into a deeper level of writing than ever before and the connections made within the all-female group were extremely empowering for me as a woman. I made new friendships and professional contacts at this retreat and I can’t recommend it enough. Regardless of your level of skill or where you are on your writing journey, if you’re passionate about writing, this retreat is for you.   Elizabeth Page

Before the retreat, I always thought that writers were “other” people. Being a writer was something I didn’t think was attainable for someone like me. Listening to other stories that people wrote and sharing helped me realize that I can be a writer. – Marni Fisher

About the Retreat

Wild Writing in the Boreal is an annual writing retreat for beginning and experienced writers. It brings together women from Northwestern Ontario, Southern Manitoba, and beyond for a weekend of writing, sharing stories, and connecting in a warm, safe, easygoing, and gorgeous environment.

Delicious food, hot tubs, wood-burning stoves, starry nights, beautiful nature, and new friends – not to mention our Saturday evening open mic and sing-a-long and our Sunday lunch raffle – create a weekend to remember!

This year, workshops include: Play & Writing and Taking Risks In Creative Nonfiction (Donna) and Finding Your Story’s Roots and Who Said That?!: POV in Fiction (Lauren), and a Sunday morning talk by Zilla Jones on the ins-and-outs of publishing (literary journals, publishers, agents, rejection, and more: bring questions!)

But if you’d rather write more on Sunday, join Lauren for Pick-a-Prompt: A Silent Write-In. 

Sunday Evening Book Launch!

End the retreat by celebrating the release of Lauren’s brand new book – Places Like These, a short story collection, published by Book*hug Press 

Zilla Jones is our 2023 guest writer

Guest Writer: Zilla Jones  

Zilla Jones is an African-Canadian female writing on Treaty 1 territory. She is the winner of the Malahat Open Season, Jacob Zilber, GritLit Festival and Freefall short fiction awards, and her fiction appears in Prairie Fire, the Malahat Review, Prism International, Freefall, the Puritan, the Fiddlehead, Room and is forthcoming in the Bayou Review, Federation of BC writers anthology and George Floyd anthology. She has been long-and shortlisted for a variety of awards, such as the CBC short story contest. She has received grants from the Manitoba Arts council including the Deep Bay Artists residency which enabled her to complete drafts of two novels. 

The Retreat Facilitators

Donna Besel loves writing of all kinds, and does workshops and presentations for schools, libraries, universities, conferences, and retreats. She grew up at West Hawk Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park and her “boreal stories” have appeared in various publications and earned national recognition. Her work has won the Prairie Fire Creative Nonfiction prize, the Great Canadian Literary Hunt, and has been longlisted multiple times for the CBC Literary Awards.The forests of Eastern Manitoba, where she has always lived, provide endless ideas and settings. Her first book, a collection of short stories called Lessons from a Nude Man, earned several award nominations. In 2021, the University of Regina Press published her memoir, The Unravelling: Incest and the Destruction of a Family.

Lauren Carter‘s last novel This Has Nothing To Do With You won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction from the Manitoba Books Awards, and she also received the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Her first novel Swarm appeared on the CBC Canada Read’s longlist. She has also published two poetry collections: Lichen Bright and Following Sea. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and has taught creative writing across North America and online to students from around the world, including Syria, Qatar, and California. Her fifth book — short story collection Places Like These — will be published by Book*hug Press in Spring 2023. Visit her at www.laurencarter.ca

Ready to Join Us?

Contact Deborah at Falcon Trails by emailing groupsATfalcontrailsresort.com

Countdown the Sleeps Until Our Next Retreat!